HOUSING developers have been given permission to ignore a council’s policy and “build into open countryside” amid hopes it will ease major parking issues outside a primary school.

Members of Hambleton District Council’s planning committee went against the advice of their officers to approve the scheme to build five homes and create a car park for South Kilvington Primary School.

The meeting was told the developers planned to build on a playing field used by the school, but would replace it with another field next to the school.

Planning officer Tim Wood emphasised that the village stopped at the school and while there was a caravan park outside the village, the proposed housing site would represent an extension to South Kilvington, near Thirsk.

He said as the site fell outside the development limits of South Kilvington, the the authority’s policy dictated the plan should be rejected.

He said: “We can see some benefit in providing the school with some parking off-site for teaching staff, but it won’t overcome on-street parking at drop-off and pick-up time. It’s an issue throughout the county, at peak times parking will always take place on the street. Officers find this is not a development that respects the form of the settlement. It does cause intrusion into the openness of the countryside and cannot be supported on this basis.”

However, Ken Wood, an agent for the developers, said the proposal represented a linear extension to a linear village, and therefore respected the village’s historic form.

But the majority of councillors dismissed claims that the proposed development site was outside the village and agreed that action was needed to tackle parking issues on the A61 outside the 93-pupil school. 

They said the absence of parking spaces on the school site meant several rows of cars, parked on the grass verge, a layby and on the side of the A-road, created a daily hazard. 

Ward member Councillor Bob Baker said: “Isn’t this a very First World problem. It’s a very popular school with children coming from all over, who can’t walk to the school.”

Councillor Kevin Hardisty said: “We have all driven past that school during the day and there is an incredible number of vehicles parked there. Getting those cars off the road can only be an advantage.”

Councillor John Noone added: “Providing a solution to the parking is a major improvement to the village. A new sports field can only be a positive. We have got to weigh that up against the policy saying we are building into open countryside.”