Community urged to support Hurgill housing plans

The location of the proposed development in Richmond,.

The estate of a senior aristocrat has appealed to a community to support its proposal to build a housing estate on the edge of Richmond.

The 4th Marquess of Zetland’s firm Zetland Estates has made the unusual request after lodging a planning application to build “a development of distinction” across 4.6 acres of his farmland west of Richmond.

The proposals seek to create 30 three, four and five-bedroom homes, six of which would be affordable and three for the self-build market.

The  site’s historic 70-box Hurgill yard, menage and training ground was previously home to Classics and Arlington Million winners and trainers Bill Watt and Ann Duffield.

In the planning papers, agents for Zetland Estates said: “We understand there are tensions and divides regarding the site; it’s easy to understand that disrupting the status quo is not always viewed favourably.

“After all, we are all creatures of habit and familiarity.”

The agents state that by raising the standard of design, the scheme has the ability to transform the lives of many people, contributing positively to the local community and providing a transition to energy efficient building practices on a larger scale.

The application states: “We do hope the community can get behind this, rather than fight it, after all, we are continuing a pattern of development that our collective ancestors started at the bottom or Hurgill and Westfields 100 years ago.

“None of us would have the privilege living in these areas had they not.”

Although the scheme has attracted some support from residents and traders who say it would bring much-needed affordable and self-build housing in the area, the majority of responses to the council’s consultation on the scheme are opposed to the development.

Some objectors have claimed developing the site would destroy features which link the site to Richmond’s horse racing history, while others have questioned the quality of the development, describing it as “a dense development of identikit housing”.

Richmond and District Civic Society said it was strongly objecting to the plan as it is beyond the town’s natural development limits, adding: “The very high density of the housing is also a huge over development of the site. The visual impact from Westfields will be detrimental to the enormously attractive surrounding area.”

Resident Rebecca Simpson added said developing the site would “be regretted for generations to come” as it would damage nature and wildlife and create light, traffic and noise pollution in the area which is part of the Coast to Coast route and “the magnificent Westfields open area which is cherished by everyone”.

In a letter of objection to the council she stated: “I believe planning decision makers have a duty of care to protect the mental health and wellbeing of their towns residents and this application would not only break many residents hearts, it would also cause a great deal of stress, anxiety, frustration and depression.

“Westfields has been a sanctuary to many during the recent lockdowns, some might even say a life saver, please protect it.”


  1. As a local resident it would be a travesty if the proposed development was agreed. The 30 property estate would ruin the peaceful environment of Westfields, which many local people and visitors to the area enjoy, as well as creating an urban eyesore in the unspoilt rural landscape. I would urge everyone to protect this area for future generations and encourage folk to register an objection on the Council plnning site:

  2. I add my voice to the many who care and find this unwelcome and distasteful modern housing development proposal – expanding upon delightful greenfield meadowland – to be wholly inappropriate and out-of-character, set within this beautiful and prominent landscape.

    Developing unnecessary and bland housing upon greenfield land of this scenic quality and tranquillity – on the verge of the National Park – will create a scar which will make future generations blush with embarrassment.

    Add to this the huge and unwanted additional traffic burden thrust upon the surrounding residential roads and community, creating bottle necks, rat-runs and danger, and you have a formula for chaos.

    There are some places which should be preserved, nurtured and valued, and this is one of them. Add your voice of opposition to the many by writing to the Richmondshire District Council case officer dealing with this matter to express your dissatisfaction and demand this landscape be preserved. Speak up now or lose this special place forever.

  3. Whatever the quality of the architecture this is not an appropriate place for development. Apart from the damage to the landscape this level of development will substantially increase traffic along narrow and already overcrowded residential roads with all the danger that brings. I’m not sure that the transformation of lives referred to would be positive in any way.

  4. The notion of building this huge, dense development in Richmond’s most scenic landscape is beyond comprehension. Westfields is a rare example of a timeless English lane of stonewalls, hawthorns, honeysuckle and elderberries, barely changed in a hundred years. People come from across the town, residents and visitors, to stroll here taking in the views across to Round Howe, to the castle and over to the Cleveland Hills or to watch the sun setting over Swaledale with bats swooping overhead and owls hooting . It is a heavenly place. Why would you destroy the character of one of your greatest assets. Surely this isn’t a serious proposition.

  5. The main issue with development of the site centers around transportation with vehicle access from Hurgill Road. The road adjacent to the site is narrow with large vehicles frequently having to mount the grass verge to pass each other. There is no pedestrian footpath. Children residing in these family homes will have to walk along a busy road on their way to school / town etc.
    The road is currently in poor condition particularly at the point adjacent to the site with a sizeable trench being created by heavy vehicles. Additional traffic will only make this worse.

  6. Just get on and build them since we need more houses in the area. Oddly none of the houses have a garage.

  7. This insensitive proposal from Lord Zetland’s estate demonstrates a lack of situational awareness of the increased traffic congestion 30 x 3-5 bedroom houses would cause on an already congested Hurgill Road. With only one access and egress increased road traffic collisions will be seen in an area proposed fit for young families.
    Building on greensites before our brown field and existing buildings have been exploited goes against our local planning strategy and must be challenged to preserve our fabulous countryside.

  8. Too long has our countryside been ruined by greed and ignorance, is there nowhere to be spared the sprawling ever increasing tentacles of greed.

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