‘PR exercise’ fails to allay housing fears

The Ridings Driffield
The Ridings Driffield

Angry residents fighting plans to build up to 315 new homes on a greenfield site in Driffield say a public consultation exercise has done nothing to allay their fears.

About 80 residents went to a public exhibition of the plans at Driffield School last Friday, where they had an opportunity to voice concerns to representatives of developer Gladman.

The company says it is now expecting to submit a planning application for the site some time in October.

But the residents, who have collected over 100 names opposing plans for the development planned for land off Bridlington Road, say they remain fiercely opposed to the scheme.

Gladman, which is one of the UK’s largest speculative developers, has sent leaflets to 800 homes and businesses in the area asking what people want to see as part of the development.

But objectors claim the scheme would destroy a swathe of agricultural land between Driffield and Nafferton, while brownfield sites close to the town centre lie empty and derelict.

One of the main objectors, Dennis Cox, of The Ridings, Meadowcroft and Beechcroft Neighbourhood Watch group, said the public exhibition had done little to allay residents’ fears.

Although he said the company had given assurances that some details including a proposal to include a pedestrian way around the boundary wall which runs alongside the estate, would be looked at again, Mr Cox said the objectors remain as fiercely opposed as ever to the overall scheme.

“This was an attempted PR exercise and I don’t think it has worked. This is a lovely open space of beautiful fields which have been used for agricultural purposes for centuries, on which they want to build houses. We don’t need them there – there are viable alternatives,” he said.

Mr Cox said there is a fear among some of the protestors that the proposals are ‘cut and dried’.

Phill Bamford, Gladman’s planning manager, said that hundreds of new homes will need to be built in Driffield over the next few years.

“Through the National Planning Policy Framework, the Government is seeking to boost significantly the supply of housing to ensure that an area’s full need for both market and affordable housing is delivered,” he said.

“The latest consultation on the East Riding Core Strategy stated that for Driffield there is a need for an additional 2,423 new homes up to 2028.

“In order to meet this need, the council will have to promote both the redevelopment of brownfield regeneration opportunities available in the town, which are somewhat limited, and sustainably located greenfield sites around the town which the council’s Preferred Approach Core Strategy acknowledges.

“We consider our site to be sustainably located and it will deliver a high quality scheme which will integrate well with the existing settlement.”