North Yorkshire Council warned of ‘aggressive’ property development schemes

A move to progress a single development masterplan for North Yorkshire and drop a move to protect a vast rural area from speculative developments has been approved, despite fears it could pave the way for aggressive property firms to push for schemes that are not in communities’ best interests.

After a short debate an overwhelming majority of North Yorkshire Council members agreed to abandon a review of Ryedale’s Local Plan after hearing the authority was committed to having the first county-wide development blueprint in place by April 2028.

The pledge follows the Government charging the unitary authority with bringing into line a complex patchwork of Local Plans from the county’s former seven district councils.

Officers have advised councillors the risks of preparing two development plans at the same time, covering the same geography, and potential consequences for the new North Yorkshire Local Plan, outweigh the
housing land supply issue.

They have concluded issues associated with having a lack of allocated land for developments was “likely to be experienced” whether or not it continued with the Ryedale review.

Independent councillor Caroline Goodrick told a full meeting of the new unitary authority she understood and reluctantly supported the decision to stop work on the Ryedale plan’s review, especially given the “extremely tight timescales” for delivering a North Yorkshire-wide Local Plan.

However, she added she was deeply disappointed the former Ryedale District area would be left with a seven and a half-year land supply, which would reduce as land was built out to under five years.

Coun Goodrick added: “This will undoubtedly result in the area becoming open to speculative development by aggressive development companies.”

She told the meeting the review had not been sufficiently prioritised by successive leaders of Ryedale council and urged North Yorkshire to treat developing its Local Plan “with the urgency it deserves” or face serious consequences.

Other members appealed to the council to avoid duplicating work undertaken, at a cost to the public purse, by Ryedale council.

Malton councillor Lindsay Burr said while she disagreed with the proposal, the authority had already listened to the views of others as it set out to prepare the blueprint for North Yorkshire.

Open to Business executive member Councillor Derek Bastiman said he agreed with Coun Goodrick and told the meeting the authority would “weave in” what it could from the Ryedale plan’s review to the county-wide blueprint.

He added elected community representatives would have chances to shape the blueprint, which would be North Yorkshire’s Local Plan rather than that of the council’s ruling Conservative group.