Church Fenton airbase homes set for approval

York Press: . .

MORE new homes could be approved on part of a North Yorkshire airbase today despite planners admitting the site is not ideal for housing.

Proposals by Southern Construction Ltd for a 28-home development on a disused section of RAF Church Fenton – where its officers’ mess used to stand – are due to be debated by Selby District Council’s planning committee.

Planning officers have recommended the application should be approved.

The committee approved a separate application from Tej Properties Ltd for 65 houses at the airbase last month.

It said then rejecting the scheme – which had originally been refused in 2012 – could leave the site derelict for many years.

Southern Construction’s plans for the Busk Lane site have drawn objections from Ulleskelf Parish Council and 13 local residents. Their concerns include the potential harm to wildlife and trees, increasing traffic and demand for local services, flood risk, the size of the development and claims its design would be more appropriate for a town rather than a countryside location.

The application must be discussed at today’s meeting following a request from Saxton and Ulleskelf councillor Eileen Metcalfe, who said it was “a very emotive issue” and needed to be debated publicly.

In a report which will go before the committee, planning officer Claire Richards said the scheme was “locally controversial” and did not tie in with Selby’s Local Plan development blueprint.

She said: “The council’s firm position is that the site is in an unsustainable location for the form of development proposed.

“However, although sustainable development is often referred to in black-and-white terms, this is seldom the case in practise.”

The report said the availability of public transport and the chance of redeveloping an unused site were both in the housing scheme’s favour, and the land was likely to remain derelict “for the foreseeable future” if Southern Construction’s proposals were blocked.

It said: “This is a matter which is considered to be of significant weight.”

If approved, the new homes would be a mixture of three, four and five-bedroom detached and semi-detached houses.

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