Can town cope with new homes?

Pocklington town centre roundabout where traffic is often congested
Pocklington town centre roundabout where traffic is often congested

Concerned residents are worried that Pocklington’s infrastructure will struggle to cope with the extra 1,250 houses that are expected to be built in the town.

At a Pocklington town meeting, James Durham from East Riding Council’s forward planning department gave a talk to residents about the research the authority has carried out on infrastructure, which is included in the East Riding Local Plan.

The Plan proposes 1,250 new homes for Pocklington over the period to 2029.

At the meeting, a number of local residents expressed their concern about the inevitable increase in traffic in the town when the new houses are built, especially on the northern side of Pocklington. One resident said: “What we are asking is for planning to be as proactive as possible. We should improve the roads before houses are built.”

Mr Durham says a link road is being built from The Balk to Hodsow Lane to allow traffic on that side of the town to reach the A1079 without having to go near the town centre. The road is being constructed as part of a new housing development, which is well underway. He also commented that site POC-G in the East Riding Local Plan, which is land west of Woodside, Burnby Lane, requires the developer to provide a link road through the site between Burnby Lane and The Balk.

To give residents a flavour of the number of vehicles expected to enter the road network from the new developments, Mr Durham said 0.7 vehicles per household is a “rough and ready figure”, which surprised some residents.

Speaking about the impact the developments will have on traffic in the town, Mr Durham said: “We haven’t done a detailed technical assessment at this stage. The developers will do that when they apply to build on the land. What we have done is carry out consultations with highways engineers in the council to make sure there are solutions available if we need to accommodate the increase in traffic. Whether these solutions are needed in the end will depend on the detailed assessments by the developers.”

Also at the meeting, residents spoke out about the need to create additional capacity at local schools with the number of families in the town likely to increase significantly because of the 1,250 new homes.

Mr Durham explained: “There are no plans to increase the capacity of the schools. We have carried out a study multiplying the number of pupils expected per year group, per household and based on this study we don’t feel there is a need to.

“It is something that gets monitored on a yearly basis. If there is evidence that we need to increase the capacity of the schools we can look at that.”

In response, one resident told Mr Durham: “The schools here have my deepest sympathy. I think your methods are flawed.”

As part of East Riding Council’s research on infrastructure, the authority also reviewed leisure and amenity and health services in the area.

Mr Durham says East Riding Council is working with the NHS to meet the additional needs for health services across the East Riding. He also revealed that there are plans, which are in the early stages, to invest in East Riding Leisure Francis Scaife and increase the size of its swimming pool.