Harrogate residents 'emboldened' to step up battle against housing developments in Kingsley area

Harrogate residents say they think the developer behind controversial plans for new houses was "taken aback by the strength of feeling among local people" at a public meeting.

By Graham Chalmers
Friday, 18th February 2022, 4:32 pm
Updated Friday, 18th February 2022, 4:37 pm
An example of the sort of disruption residents in the Kingsley/Bog Lane area of Harrogate have endured for the last four years because of a series of housing developments.
An example of the sort of disruption residents in the Kingsley/Bog Lane area of Harrogate have endured for the last four years because of a series of housing developments.

Hosted by Kingsley Ward Action Group and the Starbeck Residents Association, a three-man team from Persimmon answered questions from the packed crowd for two hours about the latest version of their plans which would likely see 181 new homes built on Kingsley Drive.

John Hansard from the Kingsley Ward Action Group said they were delighted by the turnout at Wednesday night's event at the Welcome Centre at St Andrew's Church in Starbeck.

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But, although Paul Butler, an agent for Persimmon, had been happy to field all questions from a well-informed but occasionally angry audience about the plans, Mr Hansard said residents still believed the developers had failed to understand the impact of the sheer volume of housing developments in the Kingsley areas was having on the community now and would have on traffic congestion in the future.

Mr Hansard said: "We were pleased with the turnout, particularly during the stormy weather. We expected quite a few people but the fact that the place was packed out was amazing!

"We thought that the meeting went well but we think that Persimmon were a bit taken aback by the strength of feeling among local people about the proposed developments.

"There were some particularly impassioned comments on the road and traffic impact of this development as well as the number of houses on the plan which we still believe to be at least twice as many as there should be on this field.

"It was quite obvious from what we heard, that Persimmon have little feeling regarding the impact on the local community."

As wind and rain lashed the roof of Welcome Centre at St Andrew's Church in Starbeck, alarmed residents were given a detailed run-through of the substantial revisions made by Persimmon to H21 (19/03497/FULMAJ) after the plan was rejected by members of Harrogate Borough Council's planning committee in August 2021 despite the company scaling back house numbers from 244.

The stormy meeting in Harrogate last night heard Persimmon say it had revised the plans to create a lot more space and reduce the density of the development.

But, the added, they expected construction work on proposed new housing in a crowded residential area to go on until 2028 approximately if it wins planning permission.

They also said the had been following all the rules of the planning process and Harrogate's Local Plan and the impact on future traffic was in the jurisdiction of local authorities.

Mr Hansard said Kingsley Ward Action Group intends to carry on its fight and would now be expanding its campaign to include North Yorkshire County Council's highways department.

He said: "We feel emboldened by this event and are confident that we will have some very relevant points to raise at the next planning meeting.

"One thing that a number of people raised was that perhaps we should have another meeting at some point and invite highways officers from North Yorkshire County Council to answer questions on the traffic situation and lack of road infrastructure in the area of these developments and to be accountable for their decisions to rubber stamp the "highways box" on so many planning applications in an area of Harrogate with so few access roads."