Broomfield Farm

Application 20/00249/FL Broomfield Farm

Our response to Scarborough Borough Council concerning this major proposed development is produced in full below:
Whitby Civic Society urges the Authority to work with the developer to ensure that the Broomfield estate become an outstanding example of best practice in urban design. This is an important development for the town, and it gives the Authority a one-off opportunity to secure a housing estate that is accessible and inclusive for all residents; provides high standard homes with access to services and shared spaces; and which is carbon-neutral, serving as an exemplary ‘eco-village’.

As we understand it, a local planning authority may accept a 'hybrid' application that seeks outline planning permission for specified aspects (in this case access and full planning permission for vehicle access, spine road, community hub, drainage infrastructure and public open space) and defers consideration of full planning permission for ’reserved matters’ (including in this case the adoption and use of a design control document, or design code, for the 320 proposed houses). 

Full application

In respect of the application for full planning permission, Whitby Civic Society welcomes: the general commitment to sustainability, the principle of a community facilities building, commitments to energy and water usage reduction, plans for construction waste recycling, the retention and enhancement of the public right of way ensuring direct pedestrian and cycle access to the Cinder Track, and pavement improvement along Stainsacre Lane as well as the other S.106 commitments.

We are concerned about the current proposals to ‘mitigate’ odour from the waste treatment plant. Mitigation may itself involve less than sustainable chemically based processes. In keeping with the principle of sustainability, we would prefer to see a modernised treatment plant capable of producing biogas and usable biosolids from human sewage.

Second, we are also concerned at the apparent loss of part of the neighbourhood park; this runs entirely counter to the aim in the Local Plan of ensuring that new developments do not only provide open spaces but actively help to ‘address previous deficiencies’.

Third, we would like to see further detail on the approach being taken in respect of pedestrian / cyclist / vehicle traffic management on the estate and the A171.

Fourth, we note the objections raised by Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary. Their suggestion of a broader ‘buffer’ seems entirely reasonable.

Finally, we fully agree with the proposal for further archaeological work. Evidence of Roman occupation as well as for the location of a Danish Thing, for example, have considerable potential to enhance Whitby’s known heritage. Development of the site will provide a one-off opportunity to enrich our knowledge and understanding of the past.

Reserved matters

In respect of the reserved issues, we are broadly heartened by the developers’ ‘six capitals’ approach, including the commitment to affordable housing (of which 70% rented, 30% co-ownership); we would like to be assured that this will involve ‘pepper-potting’ rather than separation.

However, we think the proportion of affordable homes, set at the minimum rate of 30%, is too low. Our preference would be for a high proportion of new homes to be earmarked for local residents, and controls on second home and holiday let uses. Failing that, we recommend a level of 40% affordable homes combined with a partnership with a reputable local social housing provider.

We also welcome the possibility of Community Land Trust involvement, and the proposals for later life housing. There are also promising indications relating to: district heating, sustainable transport, and the estimated 880 jobs (including 9 apprenticeships).

At this stage, there is relatively little detail on many of these issues. For example, we expect to see proposals in a full application for such issues as EV plug-in points, the use of air source heat pumps, an agreed density per hectare, and specific plans for public transport.

We also expect to see detailed proposals for accessibility and inclusion, covering the whole development and not solely the later life arrangements. If the estate is to be exemplary, it should go beyond the minimum standards of ‘Homes for Life’; planning today should be ‘future-proofed, bearing in mind the expected life of the housing and the changing age profile of the UK’s population. There is a severe shortage of accommodation for families with one or more disabled members, and the Authority should ensure that the detailed full application will address this.

We look forward to seeing the highest standards in the developers’ design code, which we hope will reflect the principles outlined in the principles adopted by, and recommendations of, the Government’s Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission. We expect that the developers will engage in public consultation in Whitby over the design code.

Finally, we would like to see the Authority and Keyland setting out ambitious proposals for the Broomfield development to serve as a model “Green Village” – for it to become Whitby’s, and thus the UK’s, answer to the well-established Swedish development Hammarby Sjostadt (Hammarby Lake City).