A SCHEME to build much-needed smaller family homes in a market town has been called into question amid concerns it may prevent housebuilding on an adjacent area of land.

Hambleton District Council heard while Arncliffe Homes’ plan for 14 homes off Masham Road, Bedale, had received backing from local members, it would create “a ransom strip” on the former allotments site. A ransom strip is a parcel of land needed to access an adjacent property from a road.

A planning committee meeting saw members defer a decision until after a site visit.

The meeting was told case law had confirmed that the extension of the access on the adjacent site would be “a private commercial matter rather than material to the planning decision”.

However, Bedale member Councillor Mike Barningham said the rest of the site had been allocated for housing in the council’s Local Plan and the ransom strip could hit the authority’s housebuilding target.

Ward member Councillor John Noone said while he supported the proposal, it was vital the planning committee visited the site to appreciate the setting of the proposal against a plan for an extra care home alongside it.

He said: “It’s massive thing in Bedale at the moment. It’s alright passing this one as it is but people need to see what they are dealing with here.”