A housing estate plan has been overwhelmingly rejected after claims it would have wrecked the identity of two Richmondshire villages.
Wharfedale Homes’ scheme to build 40 homes between Bolton-on-Swale and Scorton was unanimously turned down by Richmondshire planning councillors amid concerns the development would fuse the settlements.
The meeting heard the issue was also a matter of concern elsewhere in the district, in places such as Colburn and both Scorton Parish Council and Bolton-on-Swale Parish Meeting had objected to the planned estate as it would encroach upon the parishes separation.
Councillor Angie Dale said: “Once we start filling these gaps which separate and give us our individuality it is definitely a step too far.”
The meeting was told the proposed 1.4-hectare site was part of an area of agricultural land and there was potential for prehistoric remains.
Previous archaeological excavations west of Scorton unearthed the Scorton Cursus, a 2km long Neolithic rectangular enclosure formed by two large banks and ditches 32 metres apart. In addition, the application area also features a crop mark interpreted by Historic England as a possible “Grubenhaus”, which is a Roman or early medieval sunken floored building.
A Wharfedale Homes spokesman said the authority appeared to be resisting the scheme on the basis of an outdated Development Plan regarding the distribution of housing.
He said: “This proposal presents the opportunity to create a gateway scheme that mirrors organic extensions to the village in other parts and creates a strong entrance to the village from the south when read in conjunction with the existing village facilities, such as the cemetery on the opposite side of Bolton Road and the national speed limit signage which lies approximately in line with the southern extent of the proposed site.”
He said the development would bring a variety of social and economic benefits to the village including a car park which would be used by parents collecting their children from the primary school.
But Brompton-on-Swale member Ian Threlfall described the proposed car park as a “red herring” as sufficient housing had been approved for Scorton.
He said: “Scorton has never ever shirked from its responsibility from providing homes in Richmondshire and the additional homes required in the country.
“Over the period that I have been a councillor, Scorton, despite it having a conservation area, has doubled in size. No matter how big the shoe horn was you cannot shoe horn this development into our Local Plan.”
Officers concluded the scheme was in “substantial conflict” with the authority’s housing delivery, locational, heritage conservation and drainage policies.