'Rural crime' fears over plans for new homes in East Hardwick near Pontefract

A quartet of new homes could be built on a village street, if councillors give the plans the go-ahead next week.

Friday, 10th January 2020, 10:04 am

Developers want to build four houses and create a paddock between them on Darrington Road in East Hardwick, near Pontefract.

The homes would be built directly between house numbers 33 and 43 on the road, which are divided by a large patch of grass.

Council officers have recommended the plans be approved, despite 12 objections from local people.

The homes would be built on this patch of land, on Darrington Road, if the plans are approved.

They have said that the development would be on green belt land, and would obscure the view of the local parish church, St Stephen's, potentially attracting crime.

Objecting to the application online, Tony Hames from the parochial church council, said: "St Stephen's church is a living church, extremely well attended, providing spiritual and social support within an extended community.

"It is an important essential amenity of this otherwise unserviced rural community.

"Enclosing the church and grounds would also give the church council an unwanted security problem. Rural crime is on the increase and there have been break in incidents and some prevented attempts."

East Hardwick Parish Council has also opposed the plans, while another objector criticised the length of time taken to reach a decision.

Others have expressed concerns about potential for flooding on the land, while one claimed the developer had "overstated" the need for affordable housing in the area.

In a report going before Wakefield's planning committee next week, officers acknowledged the concerns, but concluded: "The principle of development is considered acceptable in this green belt location.

"Furthermore, following amendments to the scheme, it is not considered that the proposals would have an adverse impact upon the non-designated heritage asset of St Stephens Church, or the Green Belt."

Elected members will decide the matter next Thursday.

Local Democracy Reporting Service