Harrogate College's investment programme in doubt after housing plan rejected again

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Harrogate College's principal has admitted she is 'extremely disappointed' after a Planning Referral Committee unanimously rejected an appeal for 89 new homes on Hookstone Road.

In September, the college unveiled the results of its extensive refurbishment project including the opening of a new £6m Technology Centre.

However, in order to unlock funds to carry out the second stage of their investment programme, the college submitted plans for a new housing development on their surplus land next to Hookstone Road as well as a new 3G pitch.

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Despite the plans being recommended for approval by planning officers, Harrogate Borough Council’s planning committee voted unanimously to reject the plans at a meeting on Tuesday, October 25.

The application was then referred to the Committee for consideration on Thursday, November 17, and was recommended to be deferred and then approved subject to conditions and amendments.

However, the application was once again refused with the Committee explaining that the traffic generated would increase levels of air pollution in the area.

The Wetherby Road and Hookstone Road junction is to be designated as an Air Quality Management Area and the Committee warned this would harm the residents in the area.

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Debra Forsythe-Conroy, principal of Harrogate College, said: “We are naturally extremely disappointed that members of the Planning Referral Committee did not follow the advice of their professional officers and refused the application.

“We are carefully considering the reasons for refusal and will decide whether to appeal the decision in due course.”

The college now have a right to appeal to the Government’s Planning Inspectorate or submit another planning application to the council.

In a briefing sent to the Planning Committee, the college stated that the homes would cater to first-time buyers, growing families and older residents in a “truly sustainable location”.

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The unlocked funding unlocked would also have allowed them to deliver new IT infrastructure, an expanded curriculum and investment in student transport provision.

However, the Committee ruled that the proposed artificial grass pitch would have an “adverse visual impact” upon the Crimple Valley Special Landscape Area and Hookstone Beck Green Wedge.

The application had received more than 100 objections from a mix of local residents and businesses on Hornbeam Park with only 29 in support. County Ward Member, Coun John Ennis, also objected to the proposal during the meeting.

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