A proposed major residential development across hectares of top quality arable farmland should be rejected, planners have said.
The recommendation to North Yorkshire councillors considering Caddick Land’s proposal for 190 homes off Station Road, at Carlton, near Selby, comes amid an escalating debate about developing over the county’s most fertile soil.
The developer says the proposals, which include 40 per cent affordable housing, “represent sustainable development in terms of the three pillars – economic, environmental and social” on a site some 200m north of the Carlton development limit.
In planning documents submitted to the council, agents for the firm said the proposed estate would address identified housing needs and provide significant levels of affordable housing and open space.
However, last month leading North Yorkshire chartered surveyor Rod Cordingley warned in the face of the conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza “we should not be dependent on others for our daily bread”.
The call came as councillors rejected a plan for an extensive solar farm which could supply a third of the energy needed to run every home in Ryedale after concluding the need for food production must not be ignored in the pursuit of other demands.
Meanwhile, in October Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was reported to be considering restricting some development proposals due to food security.
No going back
Residents objecting to the housing estate have urged the council not to overlook the need to conserve good quality farmland “due to the potential monetary gain involved”.
One resident wrote: “Once the fields are covered in bricks and mortar there will be no going back. The nearer we get to food self-sufficiency the more secure this country will be.”
An officer’s report to a meeting of North Yorkshire Council’s Selby constituency planning committee states the major residential development said there were “no material considerations that indicate the proposal should be supported” and that it would harm the area’s character.
The report states: “The loss of best and most versatile agricultural land which covers 73 per cent of the site would result in some harm to the agricultural economy in the area as well as food self-sufficiency.”
Councillors will consider the plans at a meeting tomorrow (Wednesday, 8 November). You can read the report here.