Call for common sense over housing

Fulwith Residents Association member John Parker, who is pictured at the field earmarked for development, including affordable housing.
Fulwith Residents Association member John Parker, who is pictured at the field earmarked for development, including affordable housing.

A GROUP of residents is calling for the council to use common sense over plans for affordable housing in Harrogate.

Fulwith Residents’ Association has launched a campaign to force the council to take a more sensible approach in enforcing its affordable housing quotas with new developments.

Fulwith Residents Association member John Parker, who is pictured at the field earmarked for development, including affordable housing.

Fulwith Residents Association member John Parker, who is pictured at the field earmarked for development, including affordable housing.

It follows an outline planning application being submitted for five detached homes in Fulwith Mill Lane - regularly listed among the most expensive streets in Yorkshire - along with three affordable two-bedroom retirement flats.

But the applicants, trustees of the Audrey and Stanley Burton 1960 Charitable Trust, had originally proposed building six affordable homes elsewhere, which they argued would benefit families more than the flats - but the council refused the offer.

Fulwith Residents’ Association spokesman John Parker said: “This is a most generous offer by the trustees and one which forms a massive helping hand in overcoming the borough’s declared shortage of affordable homes for families. The homes would be bigger and there would be more of them.

“There is no objection in principle to the development of this land. More importantly, and unusually, there is no disagreement between residents and the applicants – we are all united in the view that the area is both unsuitable and unsustainable as a location for affordable housing accommodation.”

But the council said national guidelines were clear that development sites had to have a mix of market and affordable homes and, although the affordable housing could sometimes be built at a “suitable alternative site”, such cases were rare.

A council spokesman said: “Council officers remain of the view that the site should be developed in line with both national and local objectives in respect of securing an appropriate mix of housing.

“To make an exception in this particular case, with no robust justification for providing affordable housing off site, would also create an unjustified precedent which developers making other housing proposals could seek to exploit.”

The consultation closes next Friday, April 15. To view the plans, visit www.harrogate.gov.uk/planning, using reference 11/00771/OUTMAJ.

l Are the residents correct to object or is the policy right? Email ackrill.news@ypn.co.uk or write to the address on Page 6.