Concerned residents have launched a campaign against the proposed development of 165 new houses on farmland and playing fields on the edge of the Duchy Estate.
Campaigners say the proposed development on Cornwall Road, which would be built on a 14 hectare site on land between the Pinewoods and Birk Crag, are “one step too far”.
There are fears the scheme, which has been put forward by the Duchy of Lancaster, will lead to the town’s surrounding open countryside being swallowed-up as Harrogate Borough Council strives to meet its housing target.
Richard Thomas, chairman of the Duchy Residents’ Association, said: “We have been active in engaging local people with the Duchy’s plans for the site, and the overwhelming response is that this development is one step too far.
“The site is a designated Special Landscape Area for good reasons. It has open views for miles around, provides a natural boundary between town and countryside, and provides local people with open access to country walks.”
While acknowledging that there is a real need for affordable homes for local people in Harrogate, the residents’ association and other groups are concerned at the number of applications that have already been permitted in this part of the town.
These include more than 600 homes to be built on land on Penny Pot lane, over 100 new homes on Cornwall Road and at the top of Harlow Moor Road, and more than 400 homes on land near Cardale Park.
Mr Thomas said: “We are campaigning against this development not because we don’t want more housing in Harrogate, but because we believe that there is already sufficient provision for new housing in this part of town.
“Once these green fields and the historic town boundary have been lost, there is no going back”.
When the plans were submitted at the end of last year, the Duchy of Lancaster said the development would include high-quality properties, including affordable homes, that would complement the neighbouring Duchy Estate. The plans also include recreational green spaces and new school and community sports facilities.
The Duchy of Lancaster was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.
Residents have set up a Facebook page to highlight their campaign at www.facebook.com/keepthefield