Battle against 300 homes on Lido site

Fears are growing for dozens of Knaresborough park homes as a controversial plan to build 300 new houses in the town was initially approved by Harrogate Borough Councillors.

Proposals to put 300 homes on the site of the Lido leisure park in the south east of Knaresborough were considered with a draft local development plan voted through at an extraordinary meeting of Harrogate Borough Council on Wednesday, October 17.

But the plan met opposition from Knaresborough residents and councillors, and warnings have come that the scheme could see dozens of park residents lose their homes.

Andy Wright, a Knaresborough town councillor, presented a petition to save the Lido park from development at the council meeting.

He told the meeting that building on the Lido site would not meet the need for housing in the area as any homes there would simply replace the existing park homes.

“For many caravan owners [the Lido] is all they have,” Mr Wright said.

“People buy what they can afford, and with the price of houses as high as it is, all they can afford is a caravan.”

Regulations mean park homes like those at the Lido can only be occupied for 11 months of the year, Mr Wright added, but most of them are not holiday homes.

“It is hard to be accurate, but I can guarantee 75 percent of the Lido is occupied 11 months of the year,” he added.

Councillors voted to pass the proposals despite his appeals, meaning they will now be subject to a public consultation, beginning on November 16, and an impact assessment before being fully included on the Harrogate district’s plan to build enough new homes over the next 13 years.

Land at Manse Farm is already part of draft local plan.

Councillors agreed the land off the A59 east of Knaresborough could be earmarked for 400 homes, but some Knaresborough councillors objected to the plan.

The town’s Mayor Coun John Batt spoke up against the Manse Farm proposals.

However, former council leader Don Mackenzie spoke at the meeting to claim that Knaresborough’s proposals had been afforded much more attention and scrutiny than plans in Harrogate.

“I do not believe the latter stages of this process have been conducted and handled with even handedness. There has been a disproportionate, even obsessive regard given to Knaresborough while Harrogate has been waved through.

“There are three large brownfield sites in Harlow Moor. How do I show the people in my ward that those sites have been examined as well as Manse Farm?”

The Harrogate district local development plan, or local plan, outlines how the council plans to provide enough new housing in the area by earmarking sites for development.

Plans for the Lido were included at a later stage than other sites, meaning a public consultation on the Lido scheme will launch on November 16 and run until January 11.

After that councillors will consider whether to include the scheme on the draft local plan before putting the whole plan out to a further consultation, likely to launch in spring 2013.