New buyers put Flaxby village plans back on course following legal battle

An aerial shot of Flaxby
An aerial shot of Flaxby

The long-running plans to transform the former Flaxby Golf Course site into a new village are back on course following Skelwith Leisure's liquidation last July.

Flaxby Park Limited (FPL) announced today, April 27, that they have bought the site after it was put on the market by the official liquidator.

The company has now launched a consultation on a new settlement providing homes, a new school and community facilities named Flaxby Park.

FPL said they were delighted to confirm that the agreement had been reached with the liquidator and that the company was well placed to deliver their plans.

A spokesperson for FPL said: "In the past Flaxby has suffered from numerous false dawns – what the new owners can offer is a bright future.

“A key factor is that this team do not need to raise external funding, they have the money in place to deliver on their plans.”

In November 2014, the land owners of Flaxby, Skelwith Group, drew up similar plans to build a new town after previously proposing a £100m Flaxby Hotel.

However, these plans were in jeopardy by January when a legal battle broke out over the ownership of the site with Knaresborough farming family Alan and Margaret Armstrong.

The couple, the original land owners, planned to sell off the site to the Ward family after waiting seven years for Skelwith to pay their £7m investment.

Skelwith were granted an injunction to block the sale in February with a High Court date to hear the case planned for June.

However, just one month later, Skelwith Leisure, one of several Skelwith Group companies, went into provisional liquidation over an unpaid £19m tax bill.

Despite originally claiming the planning application would go ahead regardless of the court case, the site was put on the market by liquidators RSM.

Since then, the future of the site has been unclear until the liquidator revealed an agreement for the sale to FPL had been reached.

Ann Gloag OBE, co-founder of the transport giant Stagecoach, and regeneration experts Chris Musgrave and Trevor Cartner are behind the new plans.

The trio are also behind plans to create a similar sustainable settlement, Stone Hill Park, on the site of the former Manston airport in Kent which they own.

The company said that they were unable to provide an accurate amount of homes planned for the site until the public consultation and further discussions with Harrogate Borough Council have taken place.

However, they added that the new community would be able to meet the housing needs in Harrogate, as well as provide the equivalent of 400 full-time jobs over a decade and a £60m boost to local councils.

An FPL spokesperson added: "Consultation is key and a major exercise will now commence to ensure the people of Harrogate, their representatives and any other parties interested in securing the future of the local area have their say.

“As well as addressing need identified in the emerging Harrogate local plan, this development also meets the Government’s ambition, outlined in the recent budget, for a new wave of sustainable settlements across Britain."

FPL are aiming for the park to be adopted by HBC as a designated new settlement within the local plan it is currently drawing up.

The company is proposing a range of high-quality homes be built, including affordable and starter homes, family homes and high-value executive homes.