TWO historic estates on the North York Moors have been told their plan to build a housing and industrial development on the edge of a village would ride roughshod through policies designed to protect national park’s landscapes, communities, heritage and character.

Members of the North York Moors National Park Authority roundly rejected a plan to build nine homes, relocate a public car park and build industrial units on open countryside east of the High Street in Egton, which has hosted one of the region’s largest rural shows for more than 100 years.

The planning meeting heard an agent for the Marquis of Normanby’s 15,000-acre Mulgrave Estate and the 6,000-acre Egton Estate herald the proposal as “one of the best opportunities for job creation in the national park for some time”, providing an economic boost for the community.

She said: “It is part of the long-term sustainable plan by the estates, who are not smash and grab developers. They are here for the long-term and cover nine villages between them and they are keen to develop a viable future for the communities that rely on them for housing and for employment.”

The agent told members jobs need to be created in sustainable villages where there was access to services and transport, that the proposed site was “very much part of the village”, rather than outside it.

She added building housing that must be used as a principal residence would mean “local homes for local people”.

Long-serving authority member David Jeffels said while the scheme ticked the right boxes in terms of making the village more sustainable, such schemes may have potential if they were on a smaller scale.

He said: “We are seeing an increasing number of our villages being converted into second homes, holiday homes, and the viability of those villages can be under threat.” 

However, villagers told the meeting the annual Egton Horse and Agricultural Show was central to the community’s identity, and it would face great uncertainty if forced to move out of the village.

One resident said: “It is becoming an increasingly relevant link to the past as the number of residents with direct connections to agriculture declines. In the foreseeable future the remaining tenant farmers will serve out their notice and their homes and farm buildings will be redeveloped to maximise returns for the owners, as has been the case in the past.”

The meeting heard over the past two years the estates had lodged seven proposals to develop sites in Egton, five of which had already been approved.

An Egton Parish Council spokesman said while the proposal would ruin the landscape and not meet local housing needs, the estates had failed to produce evidence to demonstrate a need for industrial units in Egton.

The authority’s director of planning Chris France said the “large-scale housing and industrial scheme” represented quite a significant expansion of the village, beyond the village, into prominent open countryside.

He added developers would be pushed to argue the case for the development in a village outside the national park, let alone in a highly protected area.

The meeting heard the estates had been warned by planning officers ahead of submitting the proposal that it would be contrary to the authority’s policies.

Ahead of members rejecting the proposal, Esk Valley councillor Clive Pearson likened the proposal the creation of “a suburban area”. He said: “This is totally against the policies and I can’t see why we should accept this.”