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Ryedale District Council won’t reverse big decision on Kirkbymoorside homes
MOVES to revoke a controversial planning decision on a scheme to build 260 homes in Kirkbymoorside were vetoed by councillors this week.
They were told it could cost Ryedale District Council between £3million and £5million to reverse the original decision.
About 130 people packed the hall at Lady Lumley’s School in Pickering on Monday night for a special meeting of the council. The meeting had been triggered by the authority’s Liberal group which called for action to change the decision to approve the plan and for the council not to contest a judicial review.
The council’s planning committee approved the plan by house builders Gladman in August on the casting vote of the chairman, Coun John Raper (Con), after six members abstained, and four others voted 2-2. However, it was later revealed that Coun David Cussons (Con) had inadvertently pressed the wrong button on the electronic voting system supporting the scheme, after earlier moving its rejection.
Council leader Coun Linda Cowling (Con) said: “I do have sympathy with the way the Gladman application was dealt with and that will be considered by the judicial review process.”
During the three-and-a-half-hour meeting, Coun Cowling said that the mover of the motion to reverse the planning decision, Coun John Clark (Lib), was “asking Ryedale Council to bankrupt itself”.
She added that if the authority had had to find as much as £5 million in compensation to Gladman, it would result in swingeing closures of services including swimming pools, recycling and would also hit housing schemes and cause job losses.
“It will have a catastrophic effect on the council which would have to sell assets and put up tax by 58 per cent,” she said.
Coun Clark, the Liberal group leader, claimed the “proper process” had not be followed in the planning decision because planning issues on the size of the scheme, its impact on the A170, development on agricultural land outside the development limits of Kirkbymoorside, had not been debated.
“A 12-minute debate in the planning committee smashed the council’s development plan,” he said.
Coun Clark believed the council had “buckled” under the threat by Gladman to take the plans to a government appeal if they were not approved, which could have cost the council about £130,000.
It was revealed during the meeting that two Kirkbymoorside area residents, William Shaw and Brian Hewitt, were seeking a judicial review of the planning committee’s decision.
Council solicitor, Anthony Winship, told the council: “It is unlikely that the council will be able to persuade the Secretary of State, Eric Pickles, that it is expedient to revoke the permission, if any revocation is opposed.
“In deciding whether to revoke the council will take into account the compensation that would be due, estimated at between £3m and £5m.”
Earlier in the meeting several Kirkbymoorside councillors and residents raised questions on the way the planning committee had made its decision.
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