Controversial Kirkbymoorside housing estate to go ahead despite protests

Residents have spoken of their fury that a large housing development will go ahead on the edge of their town, despite widespread opposition.

The scheme for 260 new homes on the Westfields site near the town’s primary school was given the green light at a meeting of Ryedale District Council’s (RDC) planning committee last Wednesday, only two months after an almost identical scheme was refused by the same committee.

The Gladman development will see 210 houses, plus 50 extra-care apartments for older people built on fields around Kirkbymoorside Primary School, north of the A170 on Kirkdale Road.

The town’s mayor, Coun Chris Dowie, said she is furious with the decision, which flies in the face of town council pleas for the plans to be turned down as too big and outside Kirkbymoorside’s development limits, and because of its proximity to the school.

After the meeting she said: “I think it’s absolutely dreadful and I feel very let down by our elected representatives and the people who advise them.”

Council planning officials supported the scheme and told the committee that four matters which led them to reject the earlier application had all been dealt with. They included concerns there was not enough affordable housing or landscaping planned, or enough land set aside for expansion at the primary school; and worries over archaeology on the site.

Gladman had launched an appeal against the earlier refusal, and officers warned the planning committee that a hearing would be very costly to the council if it appeared to act unreasonably by refusing this later scheme.

Coun John Raper, committee chairman, said: “It’s accepted in principle for development on this site and the four items have been addressed. [To refuse] would be perverse and cost us a huge amount of money because we would be perceived to be unreasonable.”

Kirkbymoorside resident Mike Gray was elected by other objectors to speak on their behalf at the meeting. Dozens of residents wrote to the council to fight the plans, which are “totally, totally unpopular”, Mr Gray said.

He fears the new houses will become a commuter estate with no jobs available nearby and few links to the town centre.

“The only way people will be able to afford to buy those houses is by driving a long way to work,” he said.

Like Mr Gray, Kirkbymoorside district councillor Sarah Ward (Lib) is concerned the decision to allow this large development goes against RDC’s own local plan, due to be finalised this week, which says the town should host only small or medium-sized developments.

Cllr David Cussons

Cllr David Cussons

Coun Ward said: “It’s just so disappointing that the planning committee has gone against the local plan. To completely disregard that is dreadful.”

Kirkbymoorside’s other district councillor David Cussons (Cons) sits on the planning committee and originally spoke against the scheme, saying the houses would “stick out like a sore thumb” and should not be built on good farm land. But later he mistakenly voted against his own proposal to refuse the plans.

He said: “I pressed the wrong button, that’s all that went wrong and I would rather it hadn’t happened. I am disappointed really, I am sorry that’s what happened.

“At this meeting it seemed it had to be passed or the appeal would cost a lot of money,” he added.

Planning permission was approved by a narrow margin with six councillors abstaining, two voting to refuse and two to approve, meaning chairman Coun Raper cast his deciding vote to approve the plans.

Gladman confirmed it now plans to market the scheme to builders and developers and said it is unlikely work will start before the middle of 2014, but declined to comment any further. Source




19 Responses to Controversial Kirkbymoorside housing estate to go ahead despite protests

  1. Jim Rivis September 6, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

    I am thoroughly depressed by the RDC decision to go against local Kirkbymoorside residents’ objections to this horrendous project. It has affected me so much that I have not been able to address it until now: To me the decision flies in the face of democracy, where,surely, local thoughts and feelings ought to be the prime reasons for any decision ? People who have either historically (as has my family) been an integral part of the fabric of this town for 100s of years or who chose Kirkbymoorside’s wonderful small market town character for their place of residence now face having all of their security and investment ruined by a large corporate takeover of their lives !! It is absolutely unconscionable.

    Before I continue I need to alert you to the reasoning behind statements by RDC members that it would cost a lot of money (£300,000) to continue to fight this project and compare it to threats that Agent Orange, DDT and GMO farming’s corporate chemical giant, Monsanto, levied at the State of Vermont’s decision to require companies to label all their foodstuffs as to whether or not they contained GMO content. Monsanto stated that they would sue. This in spite of the fact that 90% of Vermont constituents supported the Bill and that tiny Vermont (620,00 population) has always been a pioneer state in consumer legislation, actually being the first state to outlaw slavery !! Vermont has had to shelve it’s rightful legislation despite residents wanting to raise the money to fight.

    “Monsanto has used lawsuits or threats of lawsuits for 20 years to force unlabeled GMOs on the public, and to intimidate farmers into buying their genetically engineered seeds and hormones, says Will Allen.

    Now to Gladman’s own ‘Mission Statement’ reads as follows from their own website:
    ( )

    ‘What we do
    (1) We obtain residential planning consents on edge of town farmland
    (2) We use our expertise and money to proactively promote the sites and secure consents
    (3) Our approach can get consents fast – think 15 months not 10 years’
    (my numerals)

    The second line concerns me. I think it is fair to extrapolate from this statement that they admit that, ‘We use our ………. money to …….. secure …planning…consents ….. on edge of town farmlands’.

    How do they ‘use’ their money to achieve these goals ? Are they throwing their financial resources at the RDC as Monsanto threatened to do in Vermont’s case ? God forbid that cash changed hands as a means of persuasion ! Given this statement would it not be fair to enquire of the RDC board if this occurred, just for clarification’s sake ? Either way it is a clear case of financial bullying, an ignorance of local concerns and a wanton disregard for the intrinsic historic, cultural and rural character of our wonderful town.

    Yorkshire folk, especially those in the North Yorkshire Moors National park (NYMNP), need to rapidly become aware of how this historical parkland is being encircled by industry. I am aware of the following encroachments:

    1. Thornton-le-Dale: Natural gas transmission facility and two accompanying large pipelines just barely concealed by a row of trees and off the A170.
    2. Northeastern NYMNP: massive Sirius potash mining between Whitby & SCarborough
    3. Northern & Central NYMNP: Natural gas extraction at Ebberstone.
    4. Southern NYMNP towns and villages and Ryedale farmland: Slated for fracking operations. (NB: Ohio officials have proven that recent earthquakes were the direct results of fracking.)
    5: Wind turbine emplacements near Guisborough.

    It is my contention that our national Parks are sacrosanct and have to be preserved as is, without encroachment of any kind, so that our children will be able to enjoy the land as it is and has been. Once we allow these operations to quietly whittle away the Park so that it ends up being a series of ‘copses’ surrounded by commercial ventures that have little incentive to take care of the land it is, in my view, a death knell for our future.

    • Helen November 12, 2015 at 9:13 pm #

      Hi Jim – Helen Thurlow here – i am impressed and heartened by your response to the proposed development. How do these organisations get away with taking over a community and get away with doing whatsoever they wish despite public outcry? I’ve been watching this issue from a distance, from Sheffield, as a native of KMS, just knowing that whatever local complaint there may be, will totally be disregarded. Money talks. Whose money is talking here and what arena is available in order to challenge this ‘monied group’ and their unwanted plans is unclear but I believe that the native townspeople should understand that this is just the beginning of developments much larger than the one proposed. You have to get together as a community and endeavour to preserve what you still have because once you give a little, it is too late to challenge further and more dramatic development. Keep Kirby as a market town and don’ let it become a dirme town for York, Leeds and all points south. Cheers Jim, Helen Jacobsen.

      • Jim Rivis November 23, 2015 at 3:34 pm #

        Thanks for your comments, Helen. We are in complete agreement.

        One of the problems was that the Town had fallen behind in it’s required housing assessment work and this potentially useful information which could have shown that the current needs were not reflected in such a massive and destructive project, was thus of no value to our cause.

        Nevertheless I agree that it is ‘outside’ pressure ( from the Conservative Cameron Government) and Gladman which has proven too much for a small town government to repulse. Ryedale Council was also too slow to stand up to these forces and acted more like an adversary than an ally.

        Lastly there was way too much complacency amongst the townsfolk who did not forsee the damage that 250+ new homes would do to the historic cohesiveness, to traffic volume and safety (in 100s of new vehicles accessing the busy A170,to the already stretched parking issue, to the noise levels, to the crowding of the elementary school, to the town’s infrastructure, to the required extra law enforcement, amongst other factors. If you think the drug issues are bad now, just wait until a new extensive subdivision develops . These type of ‘communities’ (or lack thereof) with little or nothing for teens to do usually become hotbeds of trouble.

        I forsee huge losses for my hometown. It saddens me greatly.

        • Chris Dowie December 9, 2015 at 10:56 pm #

          To set the record straight it was Ryedale District Council that did not have an up to date record of the number of houses that had been approved for development. As they could not show there was approval for enough houses for the next 5 years they could not argue against the Gladman application.

          • Jim Rivis December 15, 2015 at 4:46 am #

            Sorry Chris ! I stand corrected and apologise to KMS Council. That makes things even worse given that, as an over riding body, Ryedale Council let us down. It’s my contention that, before any decision was made, that omission ought have been given time to be corrected.

  2. Jim Rivis September 7, 2013 at 1:50 am #

    He ‘pressed the wrong button…and I’d rather it hadn’t happened.. ???!!!” Are you serious ? Surely there is a way during the process that a vote can be stopped and adjusted…or is he having us on ? That is about the dumbest excuse I have ever heard and I hope voters take care of him next time an election is forthcoming.

  3. Geoff Hutchinson September 7, 2013 at 8:15 am #

    I’ve always been a keen supporter of the democratic process – even when it doesn’t agree with my personal view, but I find it hard to swallow when such a large development as the Gladman’s site can be approved with so few members of the committee voting.

    It makes me uncomfortable when only 5 out of 11 people vote on such important issues.

    And It begs the question What are the 6 members who abstained doing on the planning committee?

    • Jim Rivis September 8, 2013 at 1:06 pm #

      I agree with Geoff, totally and, as a follow up, feel that the 6 need to be asked why on such a critical issue, did they abstain and was any ‘pressure’ applied to them to abstain, especially in the case of the Conservative Councillor David Cussins who, according to what I have heard, was against the proposal prior to the vote, mysteriously ‘pressed the wrong button’ and followed this supposed error with a very, very lame excuse. Why did he immediately not stand and correct his ‘error’ ?

      That is 7 members of an important body who were ‘AWOL’. People need to be asking some questions.

      For the record, the RDC notes which anyone who has responded to them on this issue has received, state that the following are the only criteria on which their decision was based. Followed are criteria which are not taken into consideration.

      Decisions based upon planning issues only :
      1. Policies contained in the Ryedale Local Plan.
      2. North Yorkshire County Structure Plan
      3. Government Guidance and Orders
      4. Case law and previous decisions.
      5. Highway safety and traffic considerations.
      6. Design, appearance and layout.
      7. Residential amenity, noise and other forms of disturbance.

      Not taken into consideration:
      1. Matters covered by other legislation.
      2. Effects on property values.
      3. Ownership rights such as boundary or access disputes.
      4. Business competition.
      5. Moral considerations.
      6. Loss of view.

      Now, ask those abstainers which of the first list of criteria they judged was sufficient to render them unable to make a decision or caused them to abstain from voting ?

  4. Martin Watts September 8, 2013 at 11:34 am #

    I find it unbelievable that so many of our elected representatives chose to absolve themselves of responsibility for whatever decision was taken in this matter by abstaining from voting, and equally unbelievable that a councillor can claim after the vote to have “just pushed the wrong button”.

    I hope that this decision can be reversed, and also hope that when elections come around the voters will not abstain from choosing as their representatives councillors who are prepared to listen to the views of their electorate, and then take responsibility for voting accordingly. When choosing to stand for office, candidates should be prepared to make difficult decisions however unpopular, and take whatever consequences may flow from their actions rather than hide behind the protective cloak of abstaining, or saying “I just made a mistake”.

    Equally RDC would do well to look at their procedures to ensure that decisions like this where the majority of eligible councillors abstain from voting cannot occur in the future. This fiasco certainly does not engender any confidence about representation of the views of the people.

  5. abi September 8, 2013 at 4:40 pm #

    I was saddened to receive my letter telling me that planning had been approved despite local objections mainly because it was too expensive to fight. that is such a ridiculous excuse.

    I too want to know why so few members of the committee voted and if someone pressed the wrong button, surely there is a procedure for everyone to vote again, without actually announcing the result of failed vote.

  6. Julie September 11, 2013 at 11:14 am #

    I was appalled that this was passed and in such a manner, although from the very beginning Gladman were sure it would be as they knew exactly who they were taking on and have done it many times before.

    What really angers me is why RYDC has to have such a ridiculous voting system. How much did that cost to have buttons to press? It would be simpler and more cost effective to have a show of hands and the minute taker read out who has voted for or against as a double check. Its not rocket science and is done in planning committees with a much larger number sitting to vote. Funny how money can be spent on things like that but not to fight a developer concreting the countryside.

    The only thing I hope is that Ryedale DC now get inundated with requests from the Town Council and residents to deal with the parking issues, sewage problems, flood water, expansion of school, Drs, traffic and everything else that will come about due to allowing such a huge development. They may think they have saved money by not refusing it but I’m sure it will cost them a lot to deal with it and a lot of angry residents!

  7. Susan W September 11, 2013 at 2:50 pm #

    I know that new housing is inevitable. And I know that behind closed doors “democratic” processes take place that we know nothing about. However I also know that we in Kirkbymoorside need to start thinking about the implications of this housing estate NOW and not leave it until the houses are built and people are living in them.

    For example, concerns have been expressed about the viability of the local infrastructure to support the houses and their inhabitants. Should we plan ahead? Or wait for flooding and a crisis of backed up drainage?

    Also, how are these people going to get in to Kirkby? Driving of course, and most likely up West End. Will we need to impose a one way system? Double yellow lines on both sides?

    • Lesley September 12, 2013 at 12:02 am #

      West End needs to be a one way system with humps to reduce the speed some vehicles travel at. Lorries delivering to the coop or spar need to find another way into the town instead of West End and parking bays need marking out for residents only. people who work in the dentist or dba need to find alternative parking hate to think what it will be like when this build goes ahead.

  8. Matthew September 11, 2013 at 9:10 pm #

    With an average band D property taxed at £1500, these houses could generate nearly half a million pounds in council tax (plus additional funding from central government) each and every year.
    I guess Gladman were right when they said refusal would be costly!

  9. Jim Rivis September 12, 2013 at 2:20 am #

    The RDC need to be charged with holding a disisgenuous meeting on Wednesday interested parties were offered an opportunity to voice their thoughts and feelings on what was, we assumed, an undecided agenda item.Yet, on MONDAY,prior to the meeting the business reporter from the Yorkshire Press wrote in his article online that the application was going to be accepted !!

    Who told him this and how did he know needs to be asked as well as charging the RDC with a fraudulent meeting.

    Then there is the issue of why were there 6 abstentions ? A proper quorum requirement may not have been met.

    I made a point of saving the article as well as my correspondence from the RDC. I can be reached through Gareth as I am in the USA.
    I will also attempt to get in touch by phone with Mark Stead from the YP as well as the KMS Mayor to discuss these elements.

  10. Jim Rivis September 12, 2013 at 2:27 am #

    I am glad that Councillor Cussons is get the ‘recognition’ he so rightly deserves. At the same time I am perplexed by the following explanation he gave:


    ‘ “I pressed the wrong button, that’s all that went wrong and I would rather it hadn’t happened. I am disappointed really, I am sorry that’s what happened.

    “At this meeting it seemed it had to be passed or the appeal would cost a lot of money,” he added.’

    The second part of his statement is either a lame post- event excuse or , feeling that it had to be passed to save a lengthy and expensive appeal he voted it down and then realized how he was going to explain this to his constituents. Either way I’m absolutely appalled and angered.

    RDC might want to consider adding a procedure where board members are asked if they have placed their vote and that it is correct before casting the result in stone.

    • keith simpkins September 12, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

      The recent “buttongate” saga raises an important question. Why was electronic button technology, which has been shown to be susceptible to error with catastrophic consequences, used in favour of the tried and tested traditional counting of raised hands?

  11. Peter Blunt September 12, 2013 at 7:37 pm #

    If Gladman had been defeated by one confused councillor pressing the wrong button, we would sure be hearing about it loud and clear. So let us make our feelings known. If anybody has any ideas for a movement leading to a re-vote, I for one would join in.
    We are fortunate in our Mayor. I agree with all she has said on the matter.

    • Jim Rivis September 13, 2013 at 10:23 am #

      Late as it may be, but I think Peter Blunt is right that a strong response is called for. I have said before that it might be based upon the following.

      RDC invited the public to register to speak on the Gladman issue at the Wednesday meeting. Yet the Yorkshire Press Business section reported on Monday prior to the meeting that the Gladman deal was to be approved at RDC’s meeting.

      This points to a disingenuous invitation to what appears to be, in light of the statement by the Yorkshire Press, an already decided vote.

      I also feel that townsfolk need to consider that financial incentives could be responsible for the ‘buttongate’ event and the 6 abstentions, all of which are, at a minimum, requiring of explanation. Councillor Cussons and the abstaining 6 need to be called to legally explain their actions. It is hard to comprehend why any intelligent human being would not have immediately spoken up to the fact that their vote did not indicate their true decision, and especially a vote by a Conservative, pro-business member.

      Lastly, is the fear of expensive litigation going to be allowed to dominate the RDC’s decisions? This possibility throws open the door to blackmail from companies with deep pockets, especially one such as Gladman which, on its own website and part of its land acquisition mission statement speaks of using its goal and its money to gain access to farmland for building purposes.

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