Beckwith Road development approved despite "Formula One" entrance

The proposed development, with the entrance in the bottom-right corner. Picture: Harrogate Borough Council
The proposed development, with the entrance in the bottom-right corner. Picture: Harrogate Borough Council

A forty home development proposed for Harrogate's south west has been approved, despite concerns that its 90-degree access point could potentially be dangerous for both pedestrians and vehicle traffic.

Councillors on Harrogate's planning committee were also told about fears the development on Beckwith Road would overload Victorian-era sewage systems that service that part of the town.

The greenfield site forms a small portion of the huge site identified as H51 in Harrogate's draft local plan, which is currently being analysed by a government inspector.

The total yield for H51 is 690 residential properties. The 40-home development sits on the eastern side of the site.

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Ahead of the debate, councillors were shown images which displayed that a large vehicle, the size of a council bin-collection truck, and a regular car could both navigate the 90-degree bend at the entrance off Whinney Lane at the same time.

They were also told by an agent of applicants Mulgrave Developments Ltd and North Yorkshire Highways representative that various work had been undertaken to make the entrance safer, including the use of kassel kerbs - although Coun Jim Clarke remarked the entrance still "looks like a Formula One race track (with) those sort of bends".

Coun Pat Marsh said she had "a very similar road in my own ward" which forced drivers to slow down upon entrance.

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Councillors also heard concerns from Kathryn Jukes of Directions Planning, who said development at the site would "increase the risk of flooding in other parts of town" due to the aged sewage system servicing that part of the town.

Ms Jukes had previously raised similar issues at local plan hearings in January, when 3,767 dwellings proposed in Harrogate’s draft local plan primarily for Harlow and Pannal Ash were discussed.

She said that the area's "extensive Victorian system" could cope with "surface water and lots of sewage running through the system...to a point".

But "storm situations or heavy rain" meant the system would be overloaded, with all the additional flows from the system going out into the becks that then run back into Harrogate, with the issue to be magnified by development at the site.

Coun Clarke stated ahead of the vote that he would not support the application, with his preferred option being for the multiple developers at H51 to instead work together for a more suitable entry point.

"I will not be supporting this application...I think I accept in principal, although reluctantly, that many of the green fields I live near are going to be concreted over, that’s the local plan...but I would prefer developers work together for access," he said.

He also said that he found "water and drainage a bigger issue" than previously thought.

Coun Nigel Simms also spoke against it, based on the entrance point: "What I have an issue with is two narrow footpaths that kids will play on, and they'll run out onto the road."

It led to a tight vote - with four against and six in favour of approving the development.

Lachlan Leeming, Local Democracy Reporter