‘Ugly’ housing plans for Bentham denied as appeal on 47-home site continues

Craven District Council’s planning committee yesterday rejected proposals for Springfield Crescent over proposed house design and density.

However, the Concert Living developers have already filed an appeal against an identical application for the site which has not yet been decided by the government’s town planning inspectorate.

The appeal comes after the council failed to make a decision on the first request within 13 weeks – which it blamed on staff illness.

Plans for a 47-home development described as ‘ugly’ have been turned down by councilors – although a second bid for the Bentham site has yet to be decided by the government.

At a council meeting yesterday, an agent for the developers argued that the reasons for refusing the second application were ‘not justified’ and that the council was only delaying the site earmarked for housing further.

The agent said: ‘The site was earmarked for housing development by this council in their local plan which was adopted just under three years ago.

“The site has a landowner ready to sell and a homebuilder ready to develop it.

“It seems that for reasons of resources, and now a rigid political approach that does not recognize the real realities of the site, this has been delayed.”

Despite Concert Living’s eagerness to develop the site, its proposals have still failed to gain support from councilors and residents.

Skipton South councilor Robert Heseltine told yesterday’s meeting that it would be ‘unreasonable to expect the people of Bentham to live forever with this sustainable development which is so wrong’.

“It’s the look of it that really upsets me,” he said.

“They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but in this case the ugliness of the design goes all the way to the base of the application, so it must be denied today.”

Resident Janet Brook also raised other concerns about flooding in the area where she said several homeowners had to install water pumps in their basements.

She said: ‘Water is flowing off the grounds in several directions causing problems for surrounding residents with regular flooding of gardens.

Ms Brook also argued that the development should be denied because Bentham is poorly served by public transport and has few community amenities.

She said: ‘The nearest playground and pitch are a mile away, the sports club has been boarded up, the community center is closed and will be sold, there is no youth club and the swimming pool and the nearest gym are in Settle 18 km away.

“The proposed development does not provide any additional benefit or facility to Bentham in this regard.”

The second request was unanimously denied by councilors, while a government decision on the appeal is expected later this year.