Call for public inquiry over plans to turn Scotch Corner caravan park into industrial park

The location of the proposed development.

Villagers are calling for a public inquiry to assess the cumulative impact of numerous large-scale developments beside one of the North’s busiest road junctions.

Residents near Scotch Corner are pushing for an overview of potential and approved developments at junction 53 of the A1(M) with the A66 ahead of North Yorkshire Council’s Richmond constituency committee meeting for the first time next Thursday to consider transforming a long-standing caravan park into an industrial estate.

Marshall Leisure Scotch Corner Caravan Park is seeking to create 37 storage and distribution units measuring a combined 107,640sq ft and some 149 parking spaces across a 3.1-hectare site 300m from the roundabout south of the A66.

In documents submitted with the application, agents for the developers state: “The aim of this scheme is to create a high-quality scheme that relates, respects and responds to the character of the surrounding area as well as contributing to the requirement for ensuring the storage and distribution activities of Richmond.”

Planning papers state the site is not included in the development masterplan for the area, in open countryside and outside the development limit for Middleton Tyas by about 320m.

In addition, applications to transform the site into a business park in 1990 and into an industrial or employment development in 2010 were refused.

The proposal comes amid concerns Scotch Corner is becoming over-developed due to an expansive Designer Outlet Village under construction beside the caravan park, plans for the UK’s largest garden centre and a manufacturing plant, as well as developments at nearby Dalesway Lodge and the Moto services area.

In February, Scotch Corner Richmond LLP’s ambition to build a  27,870sq m TV and film production studio campus across top quality farmland at Scotch Corner was branded “illogical” by objectors who said it represented the industrialisation of the countryside.

Objecting to the latest Scotch Corner plan to be considered, Middleton Tyas Parish Council said the land use of the site should not be changed from developments of a hotel-type to storage and distribution and it was “deeply concerned that this will set a precedent for other areas of land within the vicinity”.

Residents of the village have written to the authority claiming the increase in traffic from the development would result in more pollution, congestion and noise for those living nearby and said a government planning inspector was needed to examine the cumulative impact of all the proposed and approved developments.

One resident wrote: “I cannot see how the roads will cope with the increased traffic in the area which is already gridlocked at certain times making it very difficult for everyone.

“All of these developments rely on people driving in to the area by car which in addition to causing problems locally is damaging to wider environment particularly in terms of global warming. I believe there should be a public enquiry into the continuing developments at Scotch Corner.”

In a report for the committee, planning officers recommended the proposal be approved, concluding the industrial estate’s economic benefits, including the creation of local employment opportunities, would help to develop the economy of Richmondshire.