Parish council launch scathing 17-page objection to proposed Pannal development

Aerial view of Pannal
Aerial view of Pannal

Pannal and Burn Bridge Parish Council has launched a scathing attack to proposed development in the Crimple Valley in a 17-page letter to the council.

In its Draft Local Plan, Harrogate Borough Council (HBC) has proposed residential development as well as a Gypsy and Traveller site in Pannal.

Harrogate Borough Council

Harrogate Borough Council

A petition, backed by hundreds of residents, has already been launched to the council by Pannal Conservatives with many other registering their outrage on the consultation.

After sending out a survey on the proposed development to its residents, the parish council have now officially registered their concerns with the council.

In a 17-page letter, chairman Howard West slammed the proposals to build 214 houses and a Gypsy and Traveller site on a Special Landscape Area (SLA) as "preposterous".

He said: "The vast majority of those that responded to the survey were against the proposals.

"More than 90 per cent were opposed to any form of development on the two areas in Pannal with more than 98 per cent against a Traveller and Gypsy site.

"The proposed development area appears to fly in the face of SLA criteria. Any development here will no doubt have a negative affect on the natural environment of the Crimple Valley.

"With all the sufficient evidence that we have presented to the council then, if it is taken into consideration, the plans should not go ahead."

The Draft Local Plan sets out the council's aims and objectives for housing and employment growth across the district up to the year 2035.

More than 11,000 new homes have been proposed in that time, at a rate of 557 built a year, including an entire new village at either Flaxby or near Kirk Hammerton.

As part of national planning policy, the council must also provide a site for Gypsy,Traveller and Travelling Showpeople’s housing needs.

The council explained that the land in Pannal was proposed for the site, as no suitable suggestions came forward during their Call for Sites and it was the only area they owned.

However, Mr West has criticised this justification and told the council they must acquire new land in order to protect the Crimple Valley.

He said: "HBC has already turned down a planning application for 22 houses on Rossett Green Lane last month, claiming it would adversely affect the SLA. Here, they are proposing more than 200 houses - ten times the reason not to destroy an SLA.

"If they are only looking for seven pitches then it would make more sense to expand the camp they have already got in Knaresborough. Why they would want travellers to divert from the A1 to Pannal seems ridiculous.

"It's nonsense to say this is the only land they have. When developers build they have to pay money to the council and that money could be used to purchase more land.

"If they were to build thousands of houses at Flaxby then, with all the money that developers have to pay, they could buy another quarter of an acre to buy 2/3 more sites."

Despite being opposed to development in the Crimple Valley, Mr West stressed that the parish council was not opposed to another Gypsy and Traveller site being created in Harrogate.

However, he stated that there were "far more suitable sites" available to HBC.

"Our position is that we are opposed to development in the Crimple Valley. We are not against travellers per say but the whole idea of development in that stretch of land is ridiculous," Mr West explained.

"We fully understand that sites have to be made available to all sorts of people but there are better sites in the borough than this one.

"The council have only proposed it for Pannal because it's the only site they own, not because they think its the most suitable.

"Whether that means acquiring more land is neither here nor there but I don't even want to think about what may happen if it's approved."