REVISED plans to build 127 homes in Leyburn have been greeted with angry objections from residents who say the new development would increase the risk of flooding and make a busy route into the town even more dangerous.

Yorvik Homes presented the new plans for Hill Top Farm at Leyburn Town Council on Monday, November 18, which was attended by about 50 members of the public.

Town councillors and residents argued the application should not be made until North Yorkshire County Council’s report into flooding that hit Leyburn in July is published – and any recommendations implemented.

Heavy flood water cascaded down Moor Road and through the proposed development site, causing flooding in the town centre.

Matthew Gath, managing director of Yorvik Homes, said the flooding was a “once in a thousand years” event.

John Amsden, chairman of Richmondshire District Council’s planning committee, told the meeting that as soon as a full application was submitted he would ask for a “foresight” meeting to examine problems with drainage and highways issues.

Yorvik said they had started to submit a planning application to Richmondshire District Council. The original plans, presented at a public consultation in August 2018, envisaged 160 homes, but Yorvik said its new proposals represented “substantial changes” after public feedback.

There were “significantly” more units in the original plan, and they had done work on the “tree belt” around the site, a crescent running from Moor Road, across the rear of Hilltop Farm, to Thornborough Crescent. They had also done further work on dealing with surface water and a series of play areas.

The plans show a mix of two, three and four-bed houses and bungalows. The developers said 28 per cent were designated as affordable housing.

Yorvik said the consultation had raised lots of comments about access to health provision, schools and significant concern about the highway infrastructure. They said they had “no answers” and these issues would have to be resolved through the council’s local plan which had identified the site as a growth area for Leyburn.

As Yorvik ran into stiff criticism, Mr Gath agreed they would hold a further public consultation. Richard Sanderson, chairman of Leyburn Town Council, said: "The town would appreciate another public meeting. People need an opportunity to voice an opinion. This is a big thing for the town.”

The town council had earlier been criticised for the short notice and lack of advance publicity surrounding Monday night’s meeting, but Mr Sanderson insisted Hill Top Farm had been put on the agenda as soon as Yorvik made an imminent planning application.

The main issues highlighted were:

Flooding risks

Cllr Sanderson said there was an ongoing investigation by North Yorkshire County Council into July’s floods and it would be better if the application was deferred until recommendations had been put in place.

Mr Pace, a former town councillor, said the flood management infrastructure was inadequate. “All the sewers on Moor Road are old. The homes of nearly all the residents of Leyburn will be built over culverts. If you overload the system, the culverts will be heaving with water.”

Town councillor Trixie Walker, said: “the land at Moor Road is unsuitable. . . It is prone to flooding. Recently the amount of water coming down Moor Road was unprecedented.”

Mr Gath said storage tanks on the estate would hold the water back. “They would reduce flooding and would contain water that comes down.” Cllr Walker said climate change meant the tanks would never hold.

Asked by another resident where the water that came off the Hill Top Farm site was going, Mr Gath said “Down to Bellerby”. Bellerby was badly hit in the summer’s flooding and in 2012.

Safety on Moor Road

Residents and councillors who met county highways chiefs earlier this month to discuss safety concerns on Moor Road, said the highways officials had been unaware of the Hill Top plans. They had agreed to carry out a detailed traffic survey over fears of speeding and heavy use of Moor Road by HGVs and farm vehicles.

Derek Riley, a former town councillor, who attended the meeting said: “Highways do not have a clue . . . they were unaware of the previous plans and the senior traffic officer said, ‘my God that would make a serious difference’.”

Town councillor, Andrew Waites, said: “Highways knew nothing [about the application] when we were discussing Moor Road safety . . .someone needs to join up the dots. If this goes ahead, it will make a much greater impact on the safety of the road.”

Mr Gath said Yorvik had been in discussions with Highways and waiting for a response. He said it appeared to have got lost in the “big black hole of County Hall”.

The plan envisages a footpath through Thornborough Woods, in the hope that pedestrians would use the route into town, rather than walking down Moor Road, which has no pavements. Residents said the idea was unsuitable and would run into conservation issues. Residents of Woodburn Drive, a private road, fear this will become the preferred short cut route.

Housing mix

Mr Gath said 28% of the houses would be affordable, with the majority three-bedroom homes. Cllr Walker said the majority of local people wanted two-bedroom homes to downsize, while town councillor Mandy Spenceley urged Mr Gath to read the local housing needs report.