Planners recommend refusal for Barton housing scheme

Concerns about the overdevelopment of Barton are set to return to the spotlight as council planners have recommended the expansion of a proposed housing estate should be rejected.

Richmondshire District Council’s planning committee will on Tuesday consider a scheme to build 50 homes on Rose Villa dairy farm in Barton, a site where the authority gave planning consent for 35 homes in 2018.

The permission was given at a meeting where a second plan for a housing estate in the village, at Ashes Farm, was refused on the grounds that adding more than 35 homes to the village could overwhelm the area’s infrastructure.

Since then the Ashes Farm developers have appealed to the Planning Inspectorate over the decision and after the latest Rose Villa Farm scheme took more than a year to be presented to the planning committee the developers behind that scheme have also appealed to the Planning Inspectorate.

The appeal means the final decision over Rose Villa Farm’s future will be made by government inspectors, with Richmondshire council’s elected members being told they can only make a recommendation.

In documents submitted to the council, agents for Rose Villa Farm said in 2018 planners had left both farm schemes with no option but to present schemes for 35 homes, irrespective of the site’s capability of providing additional homes, to comply with the authority’s policies.

Rose Villa Farm’s agents claim the council’s approach moved the consideration away from the actual site merits and ability to make the most efficient use of land.

However, Barton Parish Council has stated it strongly objects to the expansion of the Rose Villa Farm scheme, saying the greenfield development would not benefit the village.

A parish spokesman wrote: “If there is scope for additional housing the council felt that it should be built on the brownfield site, pig fattening and HGV depot known as the Ashes Farm which is a blight on the village centre.

“The village needs new housing to maintain and support facilities, businesses and community assets, however, the proposed development at Rose Villa does not offer the best option.”

Planning officers have recommended the proposal for 50 homes be rejected, despite the scheme featuring much-needed affordable housing.

In a report to the planning committee officers state it is essential to ensure that housing is delivered in the right place and in the right quantities to provide sustainable housing growth.

The report states if the proposed development was granted it would “significantly exceed the amount of housing growth appropriate to the village and undermine the balanced approach to housing delivery” across other nearby villages.