Tadcaster: Row erupts at meeting over controversial plans to build over 400 homes on greenbelt land near Leeds

Arguments broke out between residents and councillors during a heated meeting regarding controversial plans to build over 400 homes on greenbelt land near Leeds.

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Residents of Tadcaster turned up en masse to a meeting of the town council on Tuesday evening (January 16) where they discussed the outline planning application from Gladman Developments Ltd to build up to 410 homes and a riverside public park.

The developers say that Eleven Arches, which would be situated on land off of Wetherby Road, will help address a “chronic local housing shortage which has stunted the town’s growth”. They say that 27 homes (including only two affordable homes) have been built in Tadcaster since 2011, meaning people have had to leave to find a place to live.

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Gladman says that 40 per cent of the houses will be affordable, which will address a “chronic local shortage”, and that it will boost the town’s local economy.

However, residents and members of the Tadcaster Greenbelt Protection Group (TGPG) are against the notion of building on the "beautiful countryside" by the River Wharfe and say that derelict buildings and brownfield sites that were originally identified in the Selby District Local Plan should be considered to cater for the local housing shortage.

Over 50 residents turned up to a meeting of Tadcaster Town Council at The Barn, a community space in the town, to discuss what comments the council would put forward about the outline application to North Yorkshire Council.

During the discussion on the application - which lasted over an hour - residents shouted "support the Selby plan" and argued that the town would "lose its identity" if building on the greenbelt were to be approved.

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The council proposed to offer 13 points of contention about the plans; principally that if the possibility of building houses on brownfield land as part of the local plan remain then "the special circumstances required for developing on Green Belt land would not appear to apply". It adds: "However, we strongly emphasise the need for the proposals within the Local Plan to be workable, deliverable, and to meet the needs of the town."

The other points also raised concerns about flooding, traffic and ecological matters that the development would face.

A number of councillors said that they supported "the principal of development" to help generate the town but residents were keen to raise their alarm at the idea of building on the open field.

Speaking in favour of the need for development, Coun Patrick Tunney asked: “How are you going to make it happen? Here we have a developer who has come forward – yes it’s on greenbelt – but where else in Tadcaster is there to build on?”

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The comment was met with shouts of: "Support the Selby plan.”

Another resident who'd lived in the town for 30 years said "there's no doubt that it needs some development to regenerate it" but objected to the plans, saying: "If you were to Google 'Tadcaster' you would get two USPs - its breweries and its open green land. That's the town's identity and the nature of these proposals and what that green land could become do not have the same resonance, do not have the same attractiveness, and do not have the same benefits to the biodiversity and appearance of the area.

"It's vital that Tadcaster keeps its identity as it is and we support the local plan."

The comment was met with applause from those at the meeting.

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The council emphasised that their comments were only an initial step on the discussion of the plans and that their would more chance to discuss it before a decision was made by North Yorkshire Council on the matter. It approved an amended version of the comments, which will be available on the North Yorkshire Council planning portal.

Katherine Putnam, Planning Director at Gladman, previously told the YEP: “The figures speak for themselves in Tadcaster. Only 27 homes, including two affordable properties, have been built there since 2011, leading to major issues when it comes to both families finding somewhere to live and the town’s economic prosperity.

“Eleven Arches is a chance to do something about it, with a well-considered and high-quality extension to the community that delivers affordable, family homes and properties for older people to downsize.

“Up and down the country people object to new homes, but Tadcaster is an example of what happens if nothing is built, with the town’s young people simply forced to move elsewhere to put down roots. We’ve had many positive conversations with local residents who recognise the need for change and have provided repeated assurances to those living closest to the site that it will be delivered considerately.”

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