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Parish poll on new home restrictions for Ampleforth
10:37am Wednesday 5th September 2012 in News
RESIDENTS of Ampleforth are to vote on whether they want to see developments in the village restricted to a certain number of houses.
In August, residents voted at a public meeting to hold a parish poll to decide whether there should be a strict limit on the number of new homes allowed on the parish’s green field sites.
The meeting was prompted by an application by David Wilson Homes to build 30 houses on land off Station Road. That plan is due to go before Ryedale planners September 18.
Ten residents, eight of whom live near the proposed development, called the parish meeting and proposed the poll, using a recent amendment to The Local Government Act (1972).
They fear the new National Planning Policy Framework is little more than a developers’ charter while the Government insists it will protect local communities by “empowering local people to shape their surroundings, with succinct local and neighbourhood plans”.
On September 13, Ampleforth will put that to the test when each elector will be able to vote on the question: “Do the electors of Ampleforth wish to see a maximum development limit of four dwellings imposed on all established green field sites throughout Ampleforth village and parish?”
The organisers believe most residents support very small-scale development to meet genuine local housing need subject to strict conditions about siting and design, traffic, absence of noise and excessive light pollution and flood risk, as long as a development respects the provisions of the North York Moors National Park and the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The cost of holding the poll is expected to be at least £1,700, which must be found by the parish council, according to Anthony Winship, Rydedale District Council solicitor.
He added: “The outcome of a poll is not binding (certainly not in respect of planning matters) and in any event is unlikely to have a significant impact or influence.
“In short, the determination of a planning application is not a popularity contest because by law, decisions on planning applications are made on the basis of planning reasons.”
Campaigners say that if there is a Yes vote, it will test whether the Coalition and the Framework have either the power or the will to prevent Ryedale District Council from imposing large-scale growth on unwilling communities.
A public inquiry into the proposed Ryedale Local Development Framework will start on September 11 in Malton to see if it is “sound” and “consistent with national policy”.
Critics argue that the local plan imposes “service village” status on some communities without any effective consultation or obligation to meet adequate standards of feasibility or need and that such a label would be a green flag to developers keen to use green field sites for housing estates.