North Yorkshire Council has been strongly criticised for its approach to the 4,000-home Maltkiln scheme with a Cattal resident claiming it has left locals feeling “bullied, threatened and let down”.
The council’s Conservative-run executive met on Tuesday in Northallerton to discuss Maltkiln’s development plan document which is set to be submitted to the secretary of state for housing later this month.
The meeting was attended by several parish councillors living in villages affected by the development including Green Hammerton, Cattal, Whixley and Kirk Hammerton.
They took turns to tell the executive how they felt the council has handled consultation around the development plan document.
As the site is the largest allocation for housing in the Harrogate district local plan, the council has a major say on how the scheme is developed. Wetherby-based developer Caddick Group has been chosen to build and sell the homes.
Martin Simpson, chair of Green Hammerton Parish Council, said aspirations to include 40% affordable housing as part of the development were “pie in the sky” and claimed council officers had been led by the commercial interests of developer Caddick. He said:
“This has been pushed by profit margins rather than where houses are needed.”
Harrogate Borough Council worked on the development plan document for several years before handing it over to the unitary authority due to local government reorganisation.
Whixley parish councillor Cokie Van Der Velde said the council had ignored a transport assessment that suggested the busy A59 between Maltkiln and the A1 (M) will need to become a dual carriageway to cope with an increase in traffic.
“We cannot be left with a constant traffic jam on the most important road serving our communities.”
Kevin Bramley from Hunsingore, Walshford with Great Ribston and Cattal Parish Council, said the council had “disadvantaged” local communities through a perceived lack of public engagement regarding the development plan document.
“Locals feel let down, threatened and bullied by lack of consultation and now the threat of the compulsory purchase order. Consultation should help minimise costs to the public and private purse, serving purpose rather than process.”
Cllr Derek Bastiman, the council’s executive member for business, was put forward to respond to the complaints and he issued a strong rebuttal to the claim that Maltkiln was a developer-led scheme, adding this was “entirely without foundation”.
“The consultation has been carried out in line with requirements. It’s unclear how this can be perceived as a threat or bullying and it’s disappointing such emotive language has been used in this context.
“It’s not normal practice to undertake further consultation unless significant changes are required and we don’t believe this to be the case with Maltkiln development plan document.”
Regarding the potential dualling of the A59, Cllr Bastiman said:
”Strategic traffic modelling did not indicate an immediate need to dual the A59. It does not require this as part of highway mitigation but land should be safeguarded as neccessary.”
Cllr Bastiman also rejected a request from Cllr Arnold Warneken (Green Party, Ouseburn) to delay the submission of the development plan document by two months to allow for further consultation with communities. He added:
“Extensive consultation has taken place throughout the development of the development plan document.”
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