'It's a fit up': Villagers fight plans to build homes near St Stephen's Church in East Hardwick near Pontefract

The government will have the final say on whether or not controversial plans to build new homes on a rural village road.

Friday, 17th January 2020, 9:57 am

Their biggest concern is the view of the local church, St Stephen's, being obscured.

The developers say they will split the newbuilds into two sets of two at either end of the land, so that the view of the church will be retained.

Residents are concerned that the view of their beloved parish church will be obscured if the homes are built.

Councillors say they would reject the proposals if the final call rested with them. This will help inform a government commissioner's decision when that's made later this year.

Objecting to the plans at a meeting last night (Thursday Jan 16) resident Tony Hames said: "We are not typical objectors, but we have a duty to preserve our church for future organisations.

"This is a fit up and not a very good one.

"Development is not suitable for this area."

Developers insist the plans will be sympathetic to the area.

Mr Hames also said that the buildings' designs were "not sympathetic" to the the rest of the local area.

Planning permission for a small development on the site was previously granted four years ago, but has now expired.

Villagers claim the land has not been properly maintained since.

Pontefract South councillor David Jones also objected to the plans, branding them "too simplistic and lacking in imagination", though he said it was "probably not realistic" to believe that no houses would ever built on the site.

The government's Planning Inspectorate will have the final say on the proposal.

Speaking on behalf of the applicants, Chris Calvert said: "The development doesn't cause any overlooking.

"The proposal maintains views of St Stephen's Church.

"We've worked hard with planning officers to develop the scheme. We're confident is an application of high quality and it's appropriate for the area."

There is no timescale yet for when a final decision may be reached.

Local Democracy Reporting Service