Letter: This is how planning system works

Planners must ensure that the impact on existing homeowners is minimised.
Planners must ensure that the impact on existing homeowners is minimised.

On social media, Pocklington’s Independent ward councillor Andy Strangeway has commented on the proposed new housing scheme for Yapham Road, Pocklington, and at the same time had a dig at the planners and in particular East Riding Conservative councillors. However, he has chosen to ignore some of the most important aspects of the scheme, matters that will affect existing and future home owners.

The proposal to build 323 dwellings came before East Riding’s Strategic Planning Committee, of which I am vice-chairman. Cllr Strangeway should know that the land in question is shown in the East Riding’s plan as allocated for future housing development.

Cllr Strangeway is right on one point - that I proposed the committee accepted the planning officer’s recommendation to defer and then approve the application but with two very important additional conditions.

The developer had proposed to add a sports pitch onto the western edge of the development site, on land that is not allocated for development.

I felt this was unwise on several counts: 1 – it would have further eroded the countryside gap between Pocklington and Barmby Moor; 2 – the sports pitch would have been close to the flight path of the gliding club, and 3 – it would have a detrimental impact on both existing and future homeowners.

I felt it was important to press this point as both Pocklington Town Council and Barmby Moor Parish Council had strongly objected to the idea.

As the housing scheme also includes a separate and perfectly adequate area for play space, I felt an additional and much larger sports pitch was not needed.

Instead, I asked that an enhanced financial contribution be made by the developer towards new and improved open space and recreational facilities in the Pocklington area, in more appropriate locations, so that everyone can benefit.In addition, and taking on board some of the concerns of residents of Sherbuttgate, I asked the officers to consider imposing a greater gap between existing and future dwellings.

This is how the planning system works. If we must have new houses – and clearly we must – we have to make sure the impact on existing homeowners is minimised and, where possible, extract the greatest benefit possible for the town by means of the developer’s contribution.Recently, sports organisations and other clubs in Pocklington and Market Weighton have been awarded large sums of money by East Riding of Yorkshire Council through this commuted sums system, money that is helping to fund bigger and better facilities for local people of all ages for many years to come.

Any additional and enhanced contribution from the Yapham Road development will not simply support existing facilities, as Cllr Strangeway claims. It will be available for allocation to other local sports and leisure groups in the town and nearby parishes, subject to successful bids.

In proposing approval of the Yapham Road scheme I urged my fellow councillors and our officers to look very closely at any future housing schemes that might be proposed for Pocklington to make sure we do not completely overload the town’s infrastructure and services, all of which are already under pressure, and to pay special attention to the potential impact additional traffic might have on Barmby Moor to the west and the villages of Bolton, Fangfoss and Full Sutton to the north.

Cllr Mike Stathers

Wolds Weighton Ward, vice-chairman, ERYC Strategic Planning Committee