A BIZARRE situation unfolded at a council planning meeting as councillors voted against every possible decision on a proposed housing development site.

Hambleton District Council’s planning committee rejected proposals to approve, reconsider at a later date and refuse a scheme to build nine bungalows off Stillington Road, Easingwold.

The meeting heard the proposal had been opposed by Easingwold Town Council and recommended for refusal by planning officers as it was outside the town’s stated development limits.

However, it emerged that the proposed site was surrounded by housing on four sides following developers of an adjacent plot winning an appeal to create an estate in the no-build zone as the council had been unable to demonstrate it had sufficient housing land supply at the time.

Developer Dan Warrington told members opposition to the scheme was based on an out of date local plan. He said: “How can our scheme be located outside development limits when it is surrounded by developments on all four sides? If the application is wrongly refused today I will have no choice but to submit a new application of nine two-storey houses immediately.”

Councillor John Noone said even though planning officers had emphasised the site was outside development limits, “you couldn’t call it anything else than an infill site”. Proposing the scheme be granted, he said: “We do need bungalows in Hambleton. In a market town like Easingwold, which is the same as where I come from in Bedale, there’s always a shortage of bungalows.”

Councillor Kevin Hardisty said the proposed homes would enable older people to downsize and free up family properties. He said: “We are getting bungalows, which are a little bit like gold dust in Hambleton.”

Officers then told members it would be wrong to overlook council policy that housing outside development limits should all be affordable and yet the proposal contained none.

Councillor Bryn Griffiths said while he welcomed the provision of bungalows, it was wrong to ignore council policy on affordable housing. Calling for the proposal to be deferred, he added: “I think there is room for some negotiation, but I didn’t like being held to ransom by the developer saying if you refuse it I’m going to slap in another application for big houses.”

Then Councillor Andrew Robinson proposed the scheme be refused so the committee was “proceeding in the correct manner” and following officers’ recommendation.

After members voted five for and seven against all three recommendations, they were told they would have to continue the debate over the application until they reached a decision.

Members agreed to defer the decision until its December meeting to allow officers to talk to the developer about affordable housing.