Anger as time ebbs away in Knaresborough homes battle

The land at Boroughbridge Road
The land at Boroughbridge Road

Residents fear time is running out to oppose plans for 170 houses at Scriven.

Outline plans for homes on the 6.8-acre site were thrown out by Harrogate Borough Council in September but developers Gladman Ltd have appealed against the decision.

The deadline for residents to oppose the appeal is fast approaching and some Scriven residents have voiced their serious concerns.

Dr Wilfred Mulrayne said: “We feel strongly about this. We feel really quite anooyed that, despite Harrogate Borough Council unanimously rejecting the plans, they have just gone straight to appeal.”

He said a large group of residents had been meeting to discuss their worries and to encourage others to write to the planning inspector and object to the appeal.

Dr Mulrayne said: “We are of the opinion that people need to be informed on this.

“The concerns and issues raised are largely to do with traffic: we all know that the pollution at Bond End is already the worst in North Yorkshire.

“As far as we understand, there is no requirement for more housing in Knaresborough.”

He added: “The site is part of the green corridor north of the town. The situation of Knaresborough is important to all people who live in Knaresborough, not just people who live close to the site.

“We were pleased with Harrogate Borough Council’s decision to reject the plans, they could see the site wasn’t suitable, and we feel agrieved that it has gone to appeal.

“I think Harrogate Borough Council’s decision should be upheld; it can’t be right that commercial and financial investors would take priority over the local community.”

Coun Ivor Fox (Con, Knaresborough Scriven Park) has recently distributed 
hundreds of letters to residents in his ward about Gladmans Ltd’s appeal.

He told the Knaresborough Post: “This site is just not suitable, it is prime agricultural land and should not be used for housing.

“The council rejected the site from the Local Plan three times, it is just common sense that it is not suitable.”

He added: “I am very hopeful that the inspector upholds the appeal, the decision by Harrogate planning committee was a unanimous non-political decision. Gladmans didn’t even speak at that meeting.

“By the time it gets to the appeal, the district should have reached its five-year housing supply.”

Gladmans Ltd is a speculative developer and states on its website that it has been granted planning permission in 22 out of 24 recent cases.

The website adds: “We obtain residential planning consents on edge-of-town greenfield sites and use our expertise and financial resources to proactively promote the sites and secure planning permission.”

The site goes on to talk of case studies, including a case in Cuddington, Cheshire, when the firm won an appeal after it had been rejected by councillors.

The Sunday Times accused Gladman Ltd of ‘using planning loopholes to flood villages with houses’ in a recent article, which critised the group for using those tactics in Prime Minister David Cameron’s own constiuency.

The deadline for letters of objection to the planning inspector is January 21.

All letters must be sent to the Planning Inspector, Room 3/18, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Temple Quay, Bristol, BS1 6PN, quoting the Appeal Reference APP/E2734/A/13/2207338.