105 New Houses For Helredale And St Peters Road Area.

Yorkshire Coast Homes (YCH) and Scarborough Borough Council are pleased to announce that a long awaited scheme to build 105 new homes in Whitby can now get under way.

The Helredale and St Peter’s Road development proposals have been subject to legal opposition from a small group of local residents but the Supreme Court has announced today that YCH can go ahead with a building and regeneration programme that will bring much needed affordable homes to local people in Whitby.

YCH is hoping to begin work on phase 1 of the new development as soon as possible, with a view to completion prior to March 2018.

The council originally agreed to release the land to enable the development in 2008 and YCH subsequently obtained planning permission, but progress was stalled due to a series of legal challenges. Local residents sought to have the development site protected as a “village green”, but the decision rested upon whether it had been used “as of right” or “by right”. This was left to the Law Lords who judged that the land should not be awarded village green status, which now leaves YCH free to progress the development.

YCH Chief Executive Shaun Tymon explained the importance of this decision, “High house purchase prices and soaring private rental costs are combining with the affordable housing shortfall to create a situation where the prospect of finding a decent home for an acceptable price is becoming an impossible dream for a growing number of local people. Upwards of 26 people were bidding for each of the 145 Yorkshire Coast Homes properties that became available over the last twelve months. I think that goes a long way to underlining the desperate need for more affordable homes across our Borough and I’m happy that the Law Lords’ decision will allow us to start building some of them.”

Alongside the obvious housing benefits that this much needed development will bring to Whitby comes the addition of a significant regeneration programme for the area. It will enable the demolition and replacement of the outdated flats at St Peter’s Road and will also allow the council to use receipts from the sale of its land to help undertake wider environmental improvements. The council will also work alongside YCH in the coming months to develop a lettings agreement to ensure that local families from Whitby are prioritised when the new homes are let.

Forty nine year old local resident Les Ventress, who has lived in his St Peter’s Road flat for around twenty years, said, “This is great news. These are old flats and they’re dropping to pieces now. We’ve always made the most of what we’ve had over the years, but there’s not really anything here for us these days, not even a chip shop. I often think of having a nice home with a little garden, my own little space. Things like that would help to build our community up again”. When asked how he’d feel about losing the piece of land that some residents had described as a village green, Les replied, “It’s never been a village green. They used to play Sunday football on it once, but not for years. Nobody goes there but dog walkers. Ask anyone in Whitby and they’ll tell you the same thing, it’s a waste of space so build houses on it. We need the homes!”

Thirty five year old Kate Trueman who lives on St Peter’s Road with her partner and two children agreed, “We need affordable housing for local people in Whitby. Private rents are very expensive, a modest three bedroom house would cost around £600-£650 per month to rent privately. Not many local people can afford that. If young people and families can’t afford to rent homes in Whitby, they’ll just leave the town. We desperately need more houses.”

Cllr Bill Chatt, Scarborough Borough Council Cabinet Member for Public Health and Housing said, “I’m very pleased with this outcome. There is a huge need for more social housing in Whitby, where large numbers of people are on waiting lists, just hoping for the chance of a home. I’m particularly pleased that together with YCH we will be establishing a local letting policy for the first property lets, ensuring that Whitby people will have the first choice. We’re extremely grateful to North Yorkshire County Council for its persistence in helping us to fight the challenge and for supporting Whitby’s need for affordable homes.”

YCH Director of Operations Bill Miller also expressed his view on the decision, “I’m very pleased with this outcome because YCH is now able to get on with the job of providing 105 much needed new homes at the heart of this Whitby community. We fully intend to work alongside our tenants and local residents to ensure that this ambitious development is carried out in a way that will have the smallest possible impact on their day to day lives. I would also like to thank our friends at SBC and NYCC, without whose help and support the planning and execution of thisessential project could not have been undertaken.”