Council to scrutinise Harrogate Spring Water's controversial expansion plans in Pinewoods

Harrogate Borough Council's decision to pull Harrogate Spring Water's expansion plans back to a full planning committee for further scrutiny has been welcomed by the volunteers who work to protect the Pinewoods.

Tuesday, 7th January 2020, 9:40 am
Updated Tuesday, 7th January 2020, 10:39 am
Controversy - Will Harrogate Spring Water's expansion plans ruin Rotary Wood at the Pinewoods in Harrogate.

Pinewoods Conservation Group says it had written to the council after Christmas to request that the revised application by the leading brand, which is often praised for its support for the environment, was referred to the full planning committee over its concerns on its impact on the trees at Rotary Wood.

PCG chair, Neil Hind, said the new plans to expand Harrogate Spring Water's plant on Harlow Moor Road showed an increase in size of the building of over 40%, from 4,800 sq m to 6,800 sq.

In effect, he said, this would see most of the Rotary Wood area "destroyed."

Neil Hind said: "We are very pleased that the council has agreed to refer the application back to the full planning committee.

"We are concerned at the increase in size of the planned development and that no evidence has been supplied that the various conditions the committee insisted on are to be met.

"It is important that both the public and councillors have the opportunity to fully scrutinise these amended plans.”

Harrogate Spring Water has always prided itself on, not only flying the flag for Harrogate in a tough market place with its world famous bottled water, but also in maintaining its high environmental standards.

In November the firm held a public consultation to discuss the latest version of its plans at its state-of-the-art plant situated on Harlow Moor Road.

Its managing director James Cain OBE told the Harrogate Advertiser the response of people at the open event had been “overwhelmingly positive.”

Mr Cain said: “We’re local people and we give back to the local community

“Whatever we take out will be put back and the end result for the Pinewoods area will be better than at the moment.

“We pride ourselves on being good neighbours and we support the Pinewoods. But we are operating in a competitive era.”

But, such is Pinewoods Conservation Group's worries, it recently launched a fundraising campaign via Crowd Justice to raise £5,000 for legal support during the planning phase and any subsequent land disposal processes by Harrogate Borough Council.

Earlier this week, the group said that the appeal had had "an amazing initial response" with donations from more than 60 people.

In its first week the campaign reached more than 25% of it target.

PCG also said it was concerned at what it described as a "lack of information" to address the various conditions applied at the outline planning application stage and felt unable to fully respond to the planning application as matters stood.