Blow for village as homes bid is rejected

A PARISH council has been left fuming after a planning U-turn put paid to hopes of affordable housing in a village near Thirsk.

A planned development on land behind the Lamb Inn, at Rainton, which would have provided eight affordable homes and five other dwellings, was turned down by Harrogate Council’s development sub-committee last Thursday.

Only a week earlier a council planning committee had overwhelmingly voted in favour of the scheme, despite a recommendation for refusal from planning officers.

The scheme had the unanimous support of Rainton Parish Council, which had argued there was a real need for affordable housing in the village.

Parish council chairman, David Cornmell, said this week: “ I am absolutely appalled at the decision, which goes totally against the number one policy objective of Harrogate Borough Council, to provide affordable homes within the district.

“In 2003 Rainton Parish Council published its parish plan, which was based on work carried out over an18 month period and a survey of all households. The need for affordable homes was high on the agenda and we identified a demand for at least ten such homes by 2013.

“In addition, the Rural Housing Trust was commissioned to carry out a housing needs survey in July last year. That pointed to an immediate requirement for five to six affordable dwellings for local parishioners.

“Despite the overwhelming evidence and a chronic shortage of affordable housing within the village, Wathvale ward and the district as a whole the development committee turned down a golden opportunity to improve the situation. It beggars belief.”

Planning officers had recommended refusal, claiming the application constituted backland development, outside the main confines of the village, and was therefore against policy.

The decision has come as a bitter blow to one village resident, 22-year-old Beckie Readman, who has lived in Rainton all her life and is desperate to get a place of her own.

”With properties in Rainton going for 500,000 or more I don’t stand any chance of getting on the property ladder without affordable housing,” she said.

“I am really upset about the decision to turn down the scheme. Our parish councillors know what’s best for the village, not people from Harrogate who don’t know the first thing about Rainton and those of us who have to live and work here.”