Harrogate police have raised concerns about the impact proposed housing developments off Otley Road will have on their emergency response times.
This comes as developers have put forward proposals for 100 to 150 houses on land next to the Pinewoods, which would be accessed from the junction of Otley Road and Beckwith Head Road, in addition to 450 houses developers Broadway Malyan have already applied to build on land opposite Cardale Park.
Traffic management Sergeant for North Yorkshire Police, Jon Hunter raised police concerns in a letter to Harrogate’s planning department.
“I have been approached by colleagues at Harrogate Police Station who have serious concerns about the impact the extra traffic from the proposed new developments would have on our ability to respond to emergencies at peak times and throughout the day from our Beckwith Head Road Police station.”
He added: “Emergency vehicles inevitably have to deal with traffic congestion, especially at peak times, however drivers normally have a degree of choice over the least congested route they take to an incident. However this option would not be available in these circumstances as the driver will face severe congestion before any choices are available and precious minutes will be lost.”
Planning consultants, Johnson Brook, has told the council that the latest proposal for 100 to 150 homes at land next to Harrogate’s Pinewoods will be submitted in the near future. Part of the site is currently used as additional car parking for RHS Harlow Carr gardens. However Harlow Carr was granted permission for a new car park north of the Pinewoods earlier this year, despite local opposition.
The site, off Crag Lane was excluded from Harrogate council’s local development framework.
Rossett ward councillor, Jim Clark, said: “Local residents and users of the Pinewoods were pleased when the housing proposals were not included in the Local Plan. It is disappointing that the plan appears to have been hijacked by developers.”
Fellow ward councillor David Siddans said: “I am not happy about all of the developments proposed for the west side of Harrogate.
“I understand we need housing but it is impractical to build there. We need houses but we need the infrastructure to support them.”
The plans for 450 houses on land opposite Cardale Park has attracted opposition from the Harlow and Pannal Ash residents association.
See Letters, page 28.