Letter: Housing - Say no to Granby Farm development

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On Friday, June 30, we had a leaflet posted through our doors. The leaflet was unexpectedly outlining a proposal for a residential development on the land north of Granby farm (leisure facility) and inviting us to a community exhibition at Harrogate High School. Local residents and the wider community have discussed the latest proposal in more detail and consequently we have begun the process of researching the feasibility of it.

You will not be surprised to know that bats roost, hunt and forage here (photographic and video evidence of this and the Bat Conservation Trust are aware), other protected species such as Peregrines use the field, schools in the area are oversubscribed, there is not the most basic children’s play park close to the location, the land is part of the green wedge and is of significant ecological value, the field is used as a leisure facility and the surrounding area is recognised as having significant historical importance, the sewers are insufficient, the local infrastructure is exhausted, we have photographs of the field seriously flooded - I could go on....

One of our biggest concerns is the unsustainable increase in traffic on the local roads that this proposal would unquestionably generate.

Increasing traffic flow directly onto the heart of Skipton Road and surrounding roads is madness.

17,000 cars per day use the Skipton Road – it has recently been independently assessed as the second slowest road in Britain outside of London.

Is Harrogate Council seriously proposing to further exacerbate this? This road is acknowledged as over capacitated, the development plan contradicts the North Yorkshire County Council’s strategic transport prospective.

Kids walk to local schools on residential roads where drivers are utilising ‘distributer roads’ due to unreliable journey times to get to their destination. The consequence: speeding, not looking at the junctions, mounting the pavements because the roads are too narrow (where the kids are walking!) just to avoid the shear amount of stationary traffic at the Empress roundabout (Skipton Road, Knaresborough Road and Wetherby Road).

Many schools are situated next to Skipton road, school play grounds are on the fringes of the road, people walk to work... dire, deadly air pollution levels will rise and continue to have devastating effects on people’s health (Draft UK Air Quality Plan for tackling nitrogen dioxide).

The proposal will also exacerbate the bottle neck at the Woodlands junction where NO2 emission levels are technically excessive and it is known to have more severe health effects on vulnerable groups, for example the elderly and children – Willow Tree School and multiple retirement homes are within meters of this pollution.

A new relief road would not be implemented to ease the traffic pollution levels on the north east corridor of the A59 until 2024 at the very earliest (six years) - most likely this will take significantly longer.

Sean Stephenson and

Gary Walker

On behalf of notogranbyfarmdevelopment