Community split over new Bainbridge housing development

Nick Temple-Heald, right, with Sue and Phil Baldwin, are all members of Homebrae 2016 who are protesting at the development.

By Betsy Everett

Bainbridge parish council has approved of plans to build five more houses near the Rose and Crown Inn, even though the site lies outside the village boundary.

At a special meeting of the council on Monday, residents living near the proposed development, behind Homebrae Crescent, said building the houses would increase the risk of flooding, rob them of their privacy and cause parking problems.

But members agreed unanimously to support the application which will go before the national park authority’s planning committee, with the proviso that a full flood-risk assessment would be carried out.
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Nick Temple-Heald of the residents’ group, Homebrae 2016, said the houses would be outside boundaries set by the national park authority’s local plan only last December, and although sold below market value they would would not, technically, be affordable homes.

“They are local occupancy but that is not the same as affordable. If they were truly affordable I would be supporting it but they are not,” he said.

But councillors agreed with other residents who claimed there was a need for lower cost housing in a village where the number of holiday homes had more than doubled in the past 40 years, from 17 to 37, and market values had priced local people out of the market.

“There is no property here for us to buy at a reasonable price. Everywhere in the dales is so expensive. This development would help us to stay here. Of course we want the flooding issue to be resolved, but we need to be able to afford to live and work here and we need houses to be occupied for more than just two months of the year,” said one younger resident who was currently living in rented accommodation.

The disputed land which residents say will be prone to flooding.

Councillor Darren Percival said he had been approached by three couples who would be interested in buying the houses. He himself had been able to buy his own council house at a discounted price some years ago.

“Having been in the position myself of not being able to afford a house at full market value, I can fully understand their need. I would be doing myself and my constituents a disservice if I did not support this application,” he said.

Councillor Derek Kettlewell said that it was not just young people but all those on low and middle incomes who could not afford to buy a house in the dales.

“If a local family wants a property now they cannot compete with people who are selling expensive properties in the south and buying up here. The only way we can get houses for local people is to build more,” he said.

In a letter to the council Graeme Newton, of Hornblower Developments, said the company had been through the pre-consultation process with the national park authority and had adhered to their advice.  He said two of the five houses had already been reserved.

Mr Temple-Heald said the council had been given wrong information: exceptions to building outside the boundaries applied only to affordable houses, not local occupancy dwellings.

“I have every sympathy with people in the village who say they want to buy affordable houses to enable them to live and work here, but that’s not what these are. If they were, I would be asking for a rethink of the design, but I would support the application,” he said.

Councillor Brian Brown, chairman, said the only question was whether the development would help or hinder the sustainability of the village. There was no detriment to the view of the village, as protestors had alleged, as the development would not be seen from the approach to Bainbridge in any direction.

“The site will not stick out like a sore thumb, it will merge well with the properties that are already there and we have to build a sustainable community,” he said.

The local plan can be viewed at YDNPA Local Plan

The map showing the village boundary can be view at Bainbridge Map

New homes already built behind the Rose and Crown Inn, Bainbridge