Harrogate Spring Water unveils plans for new community woodland to address public concerns over bottling plant expansion
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The company has announced plans to create a new area of publicly accessible community woodland as part of revised proposals to expand its operations in the town, to replace the woodland impacted by the development.
Last summer, public consultations were held on the expansion proposals and the feedback was centred around the impact on the Rotary Wood.
Harrogate Spring Water listened to this feedback and in response has agreed, pending a successful application, to acquire two acres of land immediately next to Rotary Wood where it will plant around 1,200 trees and landscape the area to provide an accessible green space open to the public.
Harrogate Spring Water is looking to work with the local community, wildlife and nature groups and other organisations to create a space which provides the maximum benefit for the public as well as enhancing the area’s biodiversity.
The new area of woodland will be at the heart of the company’s revised “Reserved Matters” application to expand its production facilities on its current site on Harlow Moor Road in the town.
The plans aim to deliver a 10% increase in current biodiversity levels in the area.
Richard Hall, Managing Director at Harrogate Spring Water, said: “We promised before the public consultation last summer that we would listen to what people told us and take their feedback on board when deciding what we would do next.
“One of the things which came through clearly was that people were concerned about the potential loss of access to community woodland.
“Since then, we have been working long and hard on ways to address this which still allow us to expand operations on the site to meet the increasing demand for our products and invest further in the town.
“Our proposed new area of community woodland will be home to around 1,200 trees, will be fully accessible to the public and we hope it will become a valued resource for the local community for many years to come.
“It sits at the heart of our vision for the future of our operations in the town, fully part of the local community, and represents a significant part of the overall investment which we are making in expanding our presence in Harrogate.”
The trees planted as part of the new community woodland will result in a replacement rate of 3:1 for any trees removed during the expansion.
Additionally, Harrogate Spring Water is working alongside local forestry experts to identify other locations in Harrogate to plant an extra 1,500 trees, further improving the replacement rate.
Harrogate Spring Water secured outline planning permission for its expansion in 2017 with a plan that was passed unanimously by Harrogate Borough Council following an extensive public consultation exercise involving various stakeholder groups.
The Reserved Matters application which the company is now planning to put forward to North Yorkshire Council will contain details on the size and design of the expanded production facility as well as information on matters including landscaping and biodiversity net gain.
Harrogate Spring Water will show the local community their revised plans in detail at a public consultation event planned to be held in November before it is sent to North Yorkshire Council. Information will also be posted online so that those who cannot make the event can still access details and have their say.
Richard Hall said: “We want everyone to be able to see what we have planned and to be reassured that we have listened to and addressed their concerns.
“The town of Harrogate and its people are the foundation of our success as a business. So it is very important for us that, as we look to grow the company, create new job opportunities and invest further in the local and regional economy, we take time to listen to what the community has to say.
“I believe that our new plans demonstrate this commitment and our determination to act upon it.”
Mr Hall added that the expansion will help to create over 50 new jobs for local people at Harrogate Spring Water with at least 20 jobs in the local construction sector during the build.
It will boost the level of economic output generated - known as Gross Valued Added (GVA) - by the firm by around £2.3m a year to £6.2m a year.
More details about the public consultation event will be announced shortly including details which will be available next week at : https://www.harrogatespring.com/facility-extension/
With a history dating from 1571, Harrogate Spring is Britain’s oldest bottled water and has been revered by Royalty and enjoyed across the world for centuries.
First bottled in 1740, it is ‘The Original British Bottled Water’ from ‘The Original British Spa Town’ and is the official water of Royal Ascot, Ascot Racecourse, and the Royal Albert Hall.
In 2020, it became the first company in North Yorkshire to achieve B Corp accreditation, joining a group of businesses acting in a sustainable and transparent way, achieving the highest environmental and social standards.
All bottle components are 100% recyclable, and the bottle made with 51% recycled content** and materials sourced from within 90 miles of the site.
It has been sending zero waste to landfill since 2010.
Harrogate Spring Water is part of Danone UK & Ireland, a family of market-leading food and drink products.