Plans for major developments across the district face delays after the Highways Agency has requested that permission is not granted for six months.
The delay gives the council the opportunity to take back control of the developments, says Coun Don Mackenzie.
“I have always said that these plans were premature as they came forward before the local plan was completed. I think the developers should wait.
“It gives us the opportunity to do what we should be doing working to the local plan.”
The Highways Agency have asked that planning permission is not granted for six months on a number of urban expansion planning applications including, 600 homes on Penny Pot Lane, 200 houses on Skipton Road, 450 houses at land west of Cardale Park and 600 homes at Manse Farm, Knaresborough.
Harrogate council’s local plan, which was put out to public consultation earlier this year, is expected to be ready by summer 2014.
Coun Mackenzie said: “This delay takes the decision making to a time much closer to the local plan being finalised. Officers may say to the developers they have to wait those few more months for a decision so they ensure they fit in the local plan.
“The response I have had is that people are pleased that there has been this delay.
“This is a good thing, this gives us the chance to take the initiative away from a developer led plan to one that could be led by the local plan. Restoring the lead back to the local planning authority.”
Traffic issues dominate the public comments on all of the large applications.
One resident, Patrick Turner, commenting on plans for 450 houses at land west of Cardale Park said: “The transport infrastructure to support this application is not adequate,” and another, Malcolm Bottomley commenting on plans for 600 houses on Penny Pot Lane said: “The infrastructure is not in place to cater for the vast increase in traffic such a large housing application would bring.”
The delay has been requested so that the Highways Agency can analyse the cumulative effect the developments will have on the road network, in particular on junction 47 of the A1M.
In a letter to Harrogate Borough Council’s planning team, Simon Jones, asset development manager at Highways Yorkshire and North East said: “Cumulatively the impact of the current developments with live planning applications [on junction 47 of the A1m] is 198 vehicles two way in the morning peak and 169 vehicles in the evening peak.
“The agency is working towards establishing the impact of all the sites at junction 47 and understanding whether a junction improvement needs to be delivered.”