Village divided over housing development plans

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.

1 Comment

  1. The latest rejection by the planning officers seems to be based on previous inspections related to earlier planning applications by Ashes Farms, because the operations on this site have increased a hundredfold due to the changes in farm practises. The current operation fattening over a thousand pigs in old farm buildings has totally changed the dynamic on this site. Complaints to the local authority environmental department have demonstrated excess noise not just during the day but also at nighttime when the larger boars are trying to kill each other, or when animal collections for onward delivery to the abattoirs are made at 5-00 am with shouting and screaming of men and pigs. In addition floodlights have been installed turning night into day at any time during the night. Our property is 30 yards from the associated pig manure heap when at least 50 tons of manure are stored in an open pile!
    The comment about Barton being in a flood area is true, however the previously granted planning application by Rose Villa farms was granted even though that area lies considerably below the Ashes Farm site. Barton needs new properties to allow existing businesses and clubs to be maintained, to my mind it is your responsibility to not only make the correct planning decisions but also to ensure that these planning application that are granted are perused through to completion rather than to simply increase the value of farmers land!

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