‘Full steam ahead’ for Leyburn developments despite Covid, say applicants

The location of the proposed Leyburn housing development.

Developers behind two major building projects planned for Leyburn say the Covid-19 pandemic has not derailed the schemes.

Plans are being drawn up for a new 127-home housing estate off the town’s Moor Road, while another scheme for a 40-room hotel, 158-cover restaurant and a large country store on a field off Harmby Road has also been proposed.

Across the UK, building schemes have been put on hold during the pandemic because of safety fears and uncertainty surrounding the economy.

But the companies behind the Leyburn schemes say they intend to press ahead.

Yorvik Homes submitted plans for 127 new homes at Hill Top Farm, off the Moor Road, in May.

Since then, the health crisis has hit the construction industry hard with major firms such as Persimmon and MJ Gleeson reporting 30 per cent falls in profits and sales.

However, Mathew Gath, managing director at Yorvik Homes, remains optimistic about the future of the Leyburn development and is confident that it will attract people to the area.

He said the coronavirus had not prompted the firm to rethink its plans for the site, even suggesting more people were now considering the benefits of moving away from urban areas.

“There is a real interest in rural properties at the moment, most of the questions we are asked by potential buyers are about the availability of good broadband and the like.”

This view was shared by local estate agent, Brian Carlisle, of JR Hopper.

He said: “Since re-starting viewings we are as busy as ever. If the new houses were ready now, there would be no trouble in selling all 127 of them.”

While Mr Gath would not be drawn on a possible start date for Yorvik’s project, which is still at the planning and consultation stage, he did say that as far as the application for planning permission was concerned it was “full steam ahead”.

Inn Collections, the company behind the scheme to build a 40 room hotel, together with a 250 cover restaurant, on land off Harmby Road, is also pressing ahead despite the problems facing the hospitality industry.

Project and development manager  Graeme Wood said: “We are still very much committed to the project in Leyburn.

“It’s been a tough time lately, but we have the backing of our financiers and we are pressing ahead with our plans”

Northumberland based Inn Collection now have 14 pubs with rooms across the north and have recently completed a similar hotel in Amble.

Asked if one reason the company selected Leyburn for their latest project was that like the coastal tourist hot spot, they were aware of the plans to build more local housing Mr Wood said: “That would be a hard yes.”

Mr Gath said that he too recognised the benefits any increase in hospitality choices would bring to potential new residents.

“While I wouldn’t want to comment on any particular scheme, generally in terms of attracting people to Leyburn any further development, done right and in the right place is welcome.”

Charlie Turner, from Sam Turner and Sons, which wants to build a large country store, including children’s play barn, next to the proposed hotel, said the new housing development plans for Leyburn were not part of their thinking when they made the decision to put in for planning.

“We have had a store in Leyburn, albeit a small one, for over 40 years, so we know the area well and love the people, many of whom are customers or will know of us.

“The reason for the timing of planning application and wanting to expand what we do in Leyburn was really driven by the availability of a suitable site.  We have wanted to expand our Leyburn offering before but were limited by a lack of opportunity.

“We have waited a long time to find the right site in Leyburn to create a Sammie’s that will hopefully please the town and the surrounding area, so we aren’t having second thoughts, we know that in the long run and it will come right and we have already waited a long time.”

Leyburn County councillor Karin Sedgwick said she could see many benefits arising from both schemes.

“The hotel and country store has a lot of wins for jobs and facilities while the extra housing will support businesses and schools, I welcome and support both developments.”

Both schemes have attracted both critics and supports among the local community.

Concerns the housing estate could increase problems of flooding in the town have been put forward, while the impact on traffic levels, noise from the development, loss of a green field and the visual impact of the scheme as you approach Leyburn from the east along the A684 are among the issues raised by those who oppose the Harmby Road proposal.

Councillor Sedgwick has faced some criticism for her stance but says many residents of what she calls the “metropolis” of Leyburn back her,

“A lot of my constituents are so pleased with the developments, some of the objections are short-sighted.

“Whether people like it or not, Leyburn is up and coming.”




  1. I think Karin Sedgewick is out of step particularly with respect to the Hotel application. Has she not seen the 100 plus objections!!

  2. I’m amazed by the content of this article! Leyburn is totally divided over the issue of housing development off Moor Road in Leyburn as it in no way will provide affordable housing for young people or young families. Our youngsters are forced to move away – mainly to Darlington – and the new housing will attract either well heeled ex city pensioners or city commuters. Our schools and other services can not cope even now and nothing will be done in advance of any development. The pedestrian access for the housing estate, as stated by the developer, is on a busy road used by HGV’s, farm traffic and countless tourists and bikers yet it does not even have a footpath because it is so narrow. Speeding is a major problem as evidenced by NYCC traffic police.
    Leyburn desperately needs investment in viable infrastructure and new employment for our youngsters. We have plenty of tourist related tea and coffee shops along with the second home properties, b&bs but many of our youngsters have their sights set higher, much higher. The proposed Sam Turner development would be a real bonus, in my opinion, but there are concerns as to whether this is the right site when we have areas of land visibly ‘derelict’ on the approach road into Leyburn from Harmby.

    • The land referred to as derelict is owned byr Leathley and not available for the proposed development.

  3. Interesting comments from Councillor Sedgwick regarding Leyburn being ”up and coming” and the new “metropolis”. Who is she trying to kid – apart from the developers perhaps? Leyburn is already struggling for infrastructure (lack of public transport, overwhelmed utilities (such as the sewerage system), over-stretched medical facilities, lack of primary school places, ability of locals to use local shops owing to lack short term parking provision).
    I thought it was the case that new developments must (a) be sustainable and (b) fulfil the needs of the local community. I don’t see that 127 houses at Hill Top meet either criteria. It will be interesting to see how RDC Planning, and the developers, respond to the recommendations from NYCC in the guises of its Highways and Flood Authority reports.

  4. When I spoke to the head of Yorvik at the Bolton Arms meeting he was adamant that the 127 houses were for local need. I disagreed with him that that number of people in Leyburn were looking for housing. He then started mentioning buyers from Spennithorne, Harmby and further afield. I do not consider this as local need. Local need in Leyburn is people in Leyburn! A more acceptable idea of building houses would be to build a small amount in Leyburn, a small amount in Spennithorne etc How many of these 127 houses are going to be affordable for local people in this talk of local need?? He now talks of “attracting to the area” I remain convinced that Moor Road is just the wrong site for houses and the number far too great. The problems with this site have been aired all along…access onto the road, the dangers of the narrow Moor Road, overwhelming schools and doctors, sewage, the strange idea of storage tanks etc etc.. With 127 houses and a 40 bedroom hotel, the increase in cars (well over200+) would completely spoil Leyburn. Just over the last weeks, an idea of a large increase in the population of Leyburn gives an idea of how a VERY large permanent increase would look! The writer mentioning “supporting schools” doesn’t seem to know the facts of the Primary School and how many school places are available. The glowing reports, opinions and facts from all contributors in this article DO NOT reflect the views of the majority of people who LIVE in Leyburn. The people whose quality of life would be affected is the population of Leyburn. How many of the contributors in this article, advocating all these marvellous things live in Leyburn? Of course this is only phase 1 the next phase covers the two fields between this proposed development and Manor Drive. Is making huge amounts of money the sole motivation of some people? How very sad.

  5. Im not sure exactly who I said this to?or where the quote came from! But never let the facts spoil a good story!

    The housing market is very buoyant at the moment post lockdown, and there has never been a problem selling new homes in Leyburn. The other major change we have seen is that peopel can now hold down good well paid jobs anywhere in the country, and work from home. This will allow our 30 and 40 somethings to return, or remain in the Dales, along with their children in the schools and sports clubs. This has got to be progress, and so we do need more responsibly built and sited homes.

    This view was shared by local estate agent, Brian Carlisle, of JR Hopper.

    He said: “Since re-starting viewings we are as busy as ever. If the new houses were ready now, there would be no trouble in selling all 127 of them.”

  6. So the truth is out of the bag. Councillor Sedgwick’s vision for Leyburn is a “metropolis”, rather than a thriving market town in the Dales.
    Her patronising dismissal of the articulate and detailed public objections to the two developments as “short-sighted”, shows her determination to ride roughshod over the democratic process and views of the local people who elected her.
    Leyburn will not benefit from huge out-of-scale housing estates and leisure/hospitality complexes because the proper infrastructure does not exist to support them. Development has to be sustainable in terms of availability of employment, public transport, health and education facilities.
    The local highways authority and North Yorkshire’s leading flood experts have already recommended refusal of the Hill Top Farm plans in their current form. Does Councillor Sedgwick believe their views to be short-sighted?
    Councillors should not be cheerleaders for the hype of developers. They should not be enthusing about a fantasy world of living in a “metropolis”, but supporting a sensitive and intelligent approach to development. Only then will Leyburn truly be “up and coming”.

  7. Having lived around here all my life I am appalled and shudder at the very thought of either of these developments. They are out of scale with our unique market town, the very reason we have no shortage of tourists that like it how it is and true locals that support the town and appreciate their surroundings. The medical services hardly cope now. We don’t need any of this, where is the evidence on housing need and how on earth are they going to fill a 250 cover restaurant, its ridiculous, not to mention the effect it would have on many existing businesses! Yes the Town will always need to adapt and change it always has, but in a managed considered way. These developments are not based on any proven need.

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