DEVELOPERS behind a scheme to convert a former railway station site which played a role in arming British soldiers ahead of D-Day have made the unusual move of asking for consent to build smaller houses than ones they have consent to build.

More than three years after being given permission to build 42 homes, including 17 four-bedroom homes in West Tanfield, near Ripon, Wetherby-based developers Berkeley DeVeer has re-applied to Hambleton District Council after finding the market for executive-style homes in the rural area has become saturated.

The move follows concerns being raised by councillors over the scale of properties and amount of affordable properties which developers are seeking to build to meet the housing needs of younger residents and families.

To emphasise this, the authority published Hambleton Strategic Housing Market Assessment in October 2016, three months before planning consent was given for the estate, highlighting that the majority of dwellings needed in the district were two and three-bedroom homes and the demand for larger four-bedroom homes was falling.

Despite the scale of the properties and the relative size of the Regency Place development to the small village, the original plans attracted little controversy, particularly as the brownfield site was not being used.

Councillors approved the scheme, welcoming a £149,000 off-site recreation contribution from Berkeley DeVeer.

In May 2018, the developer announced prices for properties on the £13m collection of eco homes would range from £275,000 for a three-bedroom semi-detached house to £460,000 for a superior four-bedroom home.

To attract more buyers, the developers marketed the properties alongside the Government’s Help to Buy scheme, meaning buyers only needed a five per cent deposit to get an interest-free for five years 20 per cent equity loan from the Government.

In documents lodged with the council, the developer has applied to 11 more three-bedroom homes and six fewer four-bedroom properties at the site of the former Ripon to Masham branch line station, which closed to passengers in 1931 as it was mainly being used for transporting water to cottages and coal for the station master to sell.

Under the revised plans the agreed 19 per cent of affordable housing on the estate, which was less than half the council’s 40 per cent target due to the costs of clearing contaminated land at the station which saw 76,000 tones of munitions loaded onto wagons from local stores in 1944, would fall to 17 per cent.

A spokesman for the firm said: “Following feedback from Berkeley DeVeer’s sales team, it is proposed that the market demand for the four-bedroom dwellings approved on the site is lower than had been anticipated since the development was released to the market.

“Whilst the proposed application would increase the total number of dwellings on the site by five dwellings, the level of affordable housing that can be supported on the site cannot be increased due to the up to date abnormal costs. We are keen to discuss with the council the evidence required to demonstrate this conclusion.”