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RAF Church Fenton airfield homes scheme ‘must go ahead’
NEW homes should be built on a disused part of a North Yorkshire air-base because blocking the development could leave the site derelict for years, planners have said.
Proposals for up to 65 houses at RAF Church Fenton will be debated by Selby District Council’s planning committee next week for the second time in less than a year, after a previous application was turned down last December.
The scheme, by Tej Properties Ltd, has now been recommended for approval by planning officials who, despite stating the site was “unsustainable” for a residential development, have also said it is not a “black and white” scenario and building new homes would have benefits for the area.
The 5.25-hectare site includes former accommodation blocks, catering stores and a recreational club for the airbase, which will close by the end of the year due to defence cuts. The previous housing plans were blocked after the council ruled not enough information had been provided over various planning matters, including conservation, as bats had been seen at the site.
Church Fenton Parish Council has renewed its objection to the development and said that, if approved, the applicants should contribute towards improving local services. It said the scheme would nearly double the current Busk Lane community without adding extra facilities and “further urbanise the village.” Ulleskelf Parish Council is also concerned about its impact.
In a report, planning officer Claire Richards said the scheme did not tie in with the Selby District Local Plan’s policy for the site, which said it should be used for businesses, education or tourism and leisure, but there was “no realistic prospect” of the land being developed in this way and the housing scheme would improve the character of the area.
The council wants 40 per cent of the homes to be affordable and contributions to be made towards waste and recycling, roads and education.
“Should the proposed development be refused, the site is likely to remain in a derelict and degraded state for the foreseeable future,” said the report.
“Dereliction and degraded land can have severe consequences on how an area is perceived and can put off inward investment, and this is a matter which is considered to be of significant weight.”
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