Muston Road plans go-ahead

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PLANNERS have approved a move to reduce the energy efficiency standards for a proposed scheme on land to the east of Muston Road in Filey.

When the original application was approved by Scarborough Borough Council’s planning and development committee it was on the condition that all 300 properties would comply with level four of the Code for Sustainable Homes.

But Coast and Country Housing, the developer behind the scheme, asked members of the committee to vary the condition so that the 180 properties not classed as affordable homes need only comply with level three of the code – the statutory minimum required under current legislation.

Paul Cooper, a council planning officer, said the recommendation to approve the revised planning application was made “reluctantly”.

Under the code level three homes are required to be 25 per cent more energy efficient compared with 44 per cent more energy efficient to be classified as level four.

Robert Johnson, a chartered surveyor who spoke for the developer, said that while they remained committed to the level four rating the latest move was as a direct result of the comprehensive spending review and hoped that the committee would support the “significant financial investment” being made.

But David Murton, who represented Filey Town Council at the meeting, said that the town council objected most strongly to any variation and described it as a “cost-cutting exercise”.

He added: “When representatives of the applicants had a meeting with the members of Filey Town Council in September 2010, prior to any planning application being submitted by them, they were asked about the type of housing proposed and they stated that this would be ecological of high standard level four.

“This sustainable level for the homes would be the highest in the borough and result in cheaper bills. They then went on to state that they wanted the Filey development to be a flagship and have people coming from all over to see it. “How therefore can the applicants claim that the sustainable level four for the whole of the site was a drafting error in the planning application submitted when they had been promoting this level four at prior meetings?”

Last week it was revealed that the £45 million, 16-hectare, scheme had been named Mill Meadows after Filey Junior School pupil Ben Welsby won a competition to give the estate a title.

The proposals included 180 properties on the open market and 120 affordable homes for social rent and shared ownership in 39 different bespoke styles.

However, the plans, passed earlier this year, caused great unrest from Filey residents and councillors who revealed major drainage fears on the site.

Cllr David Billings said he had to be pragmatic about the situation. He said: “We can wring our hands but at the end of the day the need for 120 affordable homes in Filey outweighs other considerations.”

And Cllr Nick Brown said: “It seems to me that the developer said twice that we were going to get level four on all houses. Does that make the developer incompetent? Are people trying to pull the wool over our eyes?”

Cllr Colin Haddington added that he had spent a lot of time and effort in considering the original application and the developer had returned to make the changes.

The plan was approved with two councillors voting against the application.