Residents of a Richmondshire village are divided over its future shape after developers resurrected plans to transform the settlement’s heart.
More than two years after Richmondshire District Council’s planning committee rejected plans to develop The Ashes Farm in Barton, between Richmond and Darlington, Lawsons Farms has submitted a proposal to demolish the farmstead and haulage depot, and replace them with 32 homes and public open space.
Planners said the previous scheme, also on the north side of Silver Street, had public benefits, but would lead to too many houses being built in the village as another similar scheme was approved.
Nevertheless, in its latest application Lawsons Farms said the development would include many benefits, including a fresh use for a previously developed site, which has been used for both agriculture and a haulage business.
They said the removal of the haulage businesses from the centre of the village would cut heavy traffic movements through the village, while the landscape would be improved with the demolition of towers and other structures.
Lawsons Farms said the scheme would also remove the livestock enterprise and grain milling operations and linked issue, such as environmental health concerns close to residents’ homes.
An officers’ report to the council’s planning committee states Barton residents have lodged an almost equal number of objections and letters of support over the proposals.
A number of supporters, including Barton Playing Field Ltd, said new residents would help sustain organisations and facilities in the village.
The sporting body stated: “The proposed development will help to keep Barton as a vibrant village and bring ‘new blood’ into the settlement, supporting its many voluntary clubs and groups as well as the primary school, village store, local pub, church, chapel and village hall through increased pupils, customers and patron numbers.”
However, other villages said the development was one step too far following other housing schemes and was likely to exacerbate sewage issues.
They said the Environment Agency had recognised the village as a possible flood risk area.
While some residents are arguing the scheme would improve traffic issues in the village, others have described the proposed access to the site as “wholly unacceptable”, claiming it could not be achieved without “serious impact on the safety of pedestrians and local traffic”.
Recommending the latest scheme for the site to be rejected, planning officers said while building housing delivery is a clear priority for the council, it remained essential to ensure it was built in the right place and in the right quantities.
Officers concluded the scheme “would significantly exceed the expected housing targets and amount of housing growth appropriate” to such villages in the area.
They stated whilst there are “clear public benefits associated with the proposed development”, its benefits did not outweigh the harm that would be caused by approving the scheme.