RESIDENTS of a small village on the edge of the North York Moors could be about to have a referendum on plans for social housing on the site of a former school and its playing field.

The plans for a mixture of small starter homes and bungalows on the old school site in Ingleby Arncliffe, between Northallerton and Stokesley, have been drawn up by Ingleby Arncliffe Parish Council.

The proposals form part of the parish’s neighbourhood plan.

The village primary school closed in December 2017 due to falling numbers, and the parish council is now working with housing association Beyond Housing to build homes for local people on the two sites. Forty per cent of the houses would be classed as affordable, while the rest would be for sale.

George Hunter, until recently the chairman of the neighbourhood plan steering group, said: “Ingleby Parish currently has no social, or affordable housing, no small properties suitable for starter homes and very few bungalows.

“Consequently, young people have had to leave the village, elderly residents are unable to downsize within the village and people who work locally cannot afford local properties.”

The Diocese of York owns the school site, while North Yorkshire County Council owns the playing field. Beyond Housing are in negotiations with both to buy the land needed for the proposal.

The Diocese has submitted its own plans, which would see four, four-bedroom detached properties built on the site.

The parish council has formally objected to Hambleton District Council about those proposals, saying they do not meet local housing needs, and that there is already an oversupply of large houses in the parish.

At least 20 individual objections have also been submitted to the district council by people living locally.

In its application, the Diocese says its proposal would protect the opportunity for future development to the north and to the east of the school, “should that be brought forward as part of the emerging neighbourhood plan”.

The next draft of the neighbourhood plan will shortly be delivered to every voter in Ingleby Arncliffe Parish for them to comment, before it is given to Hambleton District Council and North York Moors National Park Authority for review and completion of the process.

A parish referendum on the housing policies would then take place.

If voters are in favour, the plan’s housing policies would become part of Hambleton’s Local Plan, the council’s framework for addressing housing, economic, social and environmental priorities over the coming years.

David Hugill, who represents the area on Hambleton District and North Yorkshire County councils, said he is supportive of the parish council and its neighbourhood plan steering group in the way they are working with residents and stakeholders to “achieve the right mix of housing in the villages”.

He said he is concerned at the lack of affordable homes for local people at both ends of the housing ladder, especially those wishing to downsize while remaining in the village.

“We have had a few false starts with affordable housing but have yet to find a suitable site,” he added.

“While the loss of the school was hard to take, we now need to move on and (I) would be supportive of some development there if it was able to fulfil the needs of the village.”