No one had seen the Village Hall as packed as it was for the Parish Assembly on Monday 23 May 2022. It was standing room only for late-comers.
You had to feel sorry for Parish Council Chair Fiona Farnell, for scarcely anyone was there to hear her annual report or about the four Parish Council vacancies. Everyone wanted to find out what Castle Howard were thinking of for the sports field and Castle area (plus the three proposed sites to the south of the village).
Publication in previous days of the four sites proposed by Castle Howard for adoption in the Ryedale Local Plan had given rise to much concern among residents.
It was good to see that Nick Howard had taken the time to come along to introduce and place in context the situation facing Castle Howard and explain the nature of this early consultation. Estate Chief Executive Jasper Hasell gave a full presentation on the overall vision for a sustainable future and then talked about the development sites, particularly the site which included the sports field. We also learned that the Castle Farm and Heights Farm site might go forward fairly soon to a planning application (the website understands that development here would be considered infill and therefore the site did not need prior adoption into the Ryedale Local Plan).
A lively question and answer session followed. Many concerns were raised. These came from residents young and old, from Ryedale Councillor Simon Thackray (who was there with his fellow Councillor Steve Mason), Slingsby School’s Head Teacher, and the Sports Club Chairman, among others. Castle Howard said protection of the sports field (as an integral part of the development) was their aim and it was suggested from the floor that it might be gifted to the community (as the Village Hall site had been donated, back in 1931).
In concluding, Jasper Hasell admitted that the evening had seemed like a bit of a roasting (it was always civil – Ed) but he was grateful for the expression of residents’ views.
A quick straw poll after the event seemed to suggest that a good deal more would have to be done to allay residents’ concerns.
The Slingsby Village website will bring you more on this story as the process continues.