Councillors’ attempts to refuse planning permission for 450 houses were thwarted by a Harrogate Borough Council legal advisor who said the decision was ‘unsound’.
The plans to build housing on land opposite Harlow Carr and Cardale Park were blasted as ‘unsustainable’ by councillors who questioned developers on how the new homes would affect traffic.
“You’re going to create another Skipton Road up here before we know it,” said Bishop Monkton Coun Ian Galloway (Con) who lives in Beckwithshaw.
Councillors voted 14 to one to refuse planning permission, however they were told that the application must now go before the planning referral committee for a final decision.
The planning committee was warned that the council will struggle to refuse permission to planning applications as it cannot demonstrate a five-year housing supply under the National Planning Policy Framework
Harrogate Borough Council’s principal planning policy manager Tracey Rathmell said: “What we can’t escape from is we don’t have a five year supply. The government inspector’s estimates leave us falling short with two to two and half year housing supply. We have to look at each application on a case by case basis.”
Coun Pat Marsh (Hookstone, Lib Dem) was unhappy with this suggestion and said: “So we are just going to get ad-hoc development all over the place. It is not a case that if the roads are bad, they are bad, and they won’t get any worse, the number of cars travelling across town will increase.”
Murray Trantor, chairman of the Harlow and Pannal Ash Residents Association spoke out against the plans. He said: “This site is unsustainable and is socially isolated.” Former councillor David Siddans questioned the developers traffic modelling.
Luke Challenger, senior planner from Nexus planning defended the plans by developers HTH Harrogate LLP and said: “We consider this to be a well thought out and sustainable development.”
Only committee chair, Coun Nigel Simms (Con, Mashamshire) voted in favour of the housing plans.
Despite voting against the plans Coun Alan Skidmore (Con, Ripon Spa) said: “We have been told we need 890 houses and they need to go somewhere and they need to go somewhere in this district. I can say this, there will be houses somewhere in that area at some point in the future.”
Fellow Ripon Spa representative Coun Mike Chambers (Con) said: “We need to face facts that housing is needed but I can’t support this at the moment.”