Businesses object to plan for 95 homes on Colburn Business Park

An artist's impression of the proposed scheme.

Businesses say building homes on Colburn Business Park could hamper their expansion and stop new jobs being created in Richmondshire.

Linden Homes wants to build 95 homes on land at Colburn Business Park.

A planning application for the scheme was submitted to Richmondshire District Council before Christmas.

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Community leaders have already launched a campaign to fight the plans, which they say could hamper business growth in the district.

More than a dozen people have submitted objections to the scheme so far, including several business bosses.

James Hall, from Celerity Systems Europe Ltd, based on nearby Easton Way, in Colburn, is one of several company bosses who have raised concerns.

He tells planners: “Our business, a large global automotive parts distributor has its global head office and main European warehousing in Richmondshire and we are currently seeking land for significant expansion.

“Colburn Business Park is the last remaining commercial development land within Richmondshire that has appropriate transport infrastructure for distribution purposes.”

Mr Hall adds that should the land on the business park be maintained for commercial development, his company would consider relocating from its existing location to a new build facility in order to achieve our expansion plans.

“(This) will in turn require us to significantly increase our resources and employ additional people,” he adds.

Graham Anderson is managing director of tech firm OpenCRM, based at the business park’s Bailey Court.

He said: “We are a growing technology business with plans to double in size over the next four years – this will require more high quality office space and should we not be able to acquire this space on the business park we would have no alternative but to relocate outside of the immediate area, perhaps as far afield as Darlington or Teesside.

“This goes against one of our core principles to bring necessary employment into this area and offer a world class technology career close to the Yorkshire Dales.”

Mr Anderson adds that had the company known the business park would potentially be unable to support their growth, they would not have invested in their current location.

Others on the park who oppose the scheme include TVG, who say they have their own expansion plans which could be jeopardised by the housing development.

Marcia McLuckie is chair of Richmond Business and Tourism Association, which is a statutory planning consultee.

She said that at their December meeting members voted overwhelmingly to oppose the scheme

Marcia said: “RBTA has a planning policy which opposes the loss of commercial sites for housing.

“Business parks are usually slow to fill up but the improved access from the upgraded A1 is going to be a real insentive for any businesses wanting to move here.

“To jeopardise potential employment opportunities in this way is wrong.”

Linden Homes say the proposed housing development is an acceptable use for the land.

In a report submitted with the planning application, consultants hired by the developers point out that the Government requires local authorities not to protect sites allocated for employment use for the long term.

They quote the rules which state: “Planning policies should avoid the long term protection of sites allocated for employment use where there is no reasonable prospect of a site being used for that purpose.

“Land allocations should be regularly reviewed. Where there is no reasonable prospect of a site being used for the allocated employment use, applications for alternative uses of land or buildings should be treated on their merits having regard to market signals and the relative need for different land uses to support sustainable
local communities.”

A range of two, three and four bedroom homes are proposed in townhouse, semi-detached and detached, with a percentage of the properties being designated as affordable.

You can view the plans and make a comment here.