Controversial Ripon flats to return to planning committee

Harrogate Borough Council's planning committee meeting will take place next week.
Harrogate Borough Council's planning committee meeting will take place next week.

A block of flats proposed for Ripon which were criticised and knocked-back by councillors due to their "appalling" design will return to the planning committee next week.

Permission for a raft of development on Harrogate Borough Council-owned land at Allhallowgate and Finkle Street in Ripon was initially approved in 2015 and 2016, but the matter returned to the planning committee in February with some variations to the order of work originally proposed.

The variations were presented recommended for approval, but councillors instead slammed the design of the proposed new unit block, with Ripon Councillor Stuart Martin comparing its appearance to Northallerton Prison.

“It’s lacking imagination to me, it really is drab," Coun Martin said at the February meeting.

His views were echoed by Coun Zoe Metcalfe, who said the design was "absolutely appalling" and "completely lacking in any flair or any nod to the conservation area”.

Councillors then voted in favour of deferring a decision so that alternate design work could be undertaken.

A report by council for the March 26 meeting outlines work that has taken place in the month since the proposal was deferred.

"Following concern expressed regarding the design of the development at the
planning committee of 19 February the scheme has been amended to
reduce the dominance of the central two and half storey block," the report states.

"This element of the scheme has now been amended through the creation of three differing blocks, both in terms of scale and form and through the use of a differing pallete of materials and fenestration detailing."

The council report recommends the variations for approval, and states that the flats would provide "social benefit through the provision (of) social housing in a very sustainable location".

Lachlan Leeming, Local Democracy Reporter