Residents have been left angry and disappointed after plans for 170 homes north of Knaresborough were given to go ahead at appeal.
Opposition groups say it is now ‘open season’ and the ruling by the government planning inspector has made the town even more vulnerable to vast house building.
Wilfred Mulryne, chairman of the Scriven Area Residents Association (SARA) said: “This is the end of the green areas on the approach to Knaresborough.
“This decision has put Knaresborough in a very weak position. I would not be surprised if other developers have started looking at more land for development. It is effectively open season for Knaresborough now.”
Coun Ivor Fox (Con, Knaresborough Scriven Park) said he thought other developers have already started at looking to the east of Boroughbridge Road following the appeal decision.
He said: “I am disapointed, but following the actions of Harrogate Borough Council (HBC) and the lack of support I am not surprised.”
Lib Dem Coun Anne Jones (Scriven Park) said: “Although I had hoped that the inspector would reject the appeal but perhaps his decision comes as no surprise given the situation with Harrogate Council. I must commend SARA on their valiant efforts and I remain saddened that we could see a free for all situation.”
The 6.8 acre site next to Piccadilly Motors on Boroughbridge road was not included in HBC’s ill-fated sites and policies development plan document and the council’s planning committee voted unanimously to refuse developers Gladman Ltd’s plans for 170 houses at a meeting in September 2013.
However the council did not back up this decision at the appeal. In a letter to residents in April, HBC’s head of planning and development, David Allenby said the council accepted it had no reasonable prospect of successfully defending the appeal.
Knaresborough’s MP Andrew Jones had spoken out against the councils decision not to fight the appeal.
He said: “Residents fought a spirited campaign against this planning application.
“It was one which should never have come forward as it was never part of the Council’s Local Plan for environmental reasons among others.
“We need now to ensure that we mitigate to whatever extent possible the detrimental effects of this application.”
In his decision document, Keith Manning, government planning inspector, cites the lack of five year supply as one of the key reasons behind his decision.
In his report Mr Manning states: “There must be an acceptance that there is an element of need sufficient to engage the presumption in favour of sustainable development.”
Dr Mulryne added: “We are disappointed with the council’s approach, we are not at all sure there is any support for us from the Borough Council.
“The housing requirement in Knaresborough is higher than Ripon and Knaresborough has already taken 600 houses at Manse Farm, we thought that was Knaresborough doing it’s bit for the Harrogate area housing need.”
Chairman of the Harrogate District Campaign to Protect Rural England, Linda Potter, said that all green land across the district is under threat because of this ruling.
She said: “A farmer can’t beat a developer, there is no way they can compete with the prices developers pay.
“The need for a five year supply of housing seems to override everything else, even if the sites are not sustainable.”
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