Harrogate residents unite to make voices heard over affordable housing plans for BT site

Coun John Ennis, Coun Pat Jones, Olivia Graham and Jane Hill with residents of St Georges Walk.
Coun John Ennis, Coun Pat Jones, Olivia Graham and Jane Hill with residents of St Georges Walk.

After submitting over 130 objections, residents of St Georges Walk in Harrogate are “delighted” that they have made their voices heard about plans to build 88 new homes on the site of the old British Telecom Training Centre.

Plans for the development include proposals for a single point of access to the new homes through St Georges Walk onto St Georges Road and West End Avenue, which has been one of the main concerns identified by residents who fear a “dangerous” increase in traffic.

The Harrogate Borough Council Planning Committee has voted for the planning application to be deferred to appear before them at a later date to allow time for the consideration of a second access point to serve the development.

Coun John Ennis, who backed residents alongside Coun Pat Jones, said: “This is a victory for the local area, and I am pleased to have been a part of it supporting residents.”

Resident Jane Hill said: “I am delighted the council has taken our concerns on board. As residents we want to be involved in conversations after this. I wouldn’t say that this is a victory yet because we haven’t confirmed another access point, but this is a step in the right direction.

“I’m not against the development, I do understand that they need to build new afforable housing, but I am unhappy about the one access point. We have school children going to Harrogate Grammar and Western Primary school, so there are a lot of children getting around. We already have traffic coming through at peak times and an increase would make it even more dangerous. There is already an existing road within the BT site which exits directly onto Rossett Drive that could be used.”

Maureen Gray added: “It’s good that the council is open to exploring a second access point, but I do think that the site could be used to better effect for the community. It’s felt like a foregone conclusion that it would be used for housing.”

Coun Rebecca Burnett, Harrogate Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning and Sustainable Transport said: “The planning committee has listened to local residents and their concerns regarding the local highway network and the potential increase in traffic as a result of the development.”