Decision-day for Bettys & Taylors' factory expansion plans in Starbeck

PROPOSALS to expand the Bettys & Taylors site in Starbeck to meet its growing Yorkshire Tea Loaf production are being recommended for approval despite opposition from some residents.

The plans, to build a single-storey building to be used as a switch room, will be decided next Tuesday at Harrogate Borough Council’s planning committee. The new building will help provide additional electrical capacity, but residents in a neighbouring road are concerned issues raised weeks ago have not been addressed.

Chris Binnie of First Avenue said: “The plethora of errors and omissions should lead to the application being withdrawn immediately, even without considering the many negative impacts of the work it proposes.”

Two letters of objection and a 15-name petition has been sent to the council, saying the new building would be an eyesore, create heavier traffic and problems and cause health and safety concerns.

Planning officer Jane Lurcuck, in recommending approval, described the proposed building as being quite modest in size and suggested a mixture of trees to help screen the development. Mrs Lurcuck said the switch room is required to help Bettys & Taylors’ expansion and she noted the building would be constructed of dark green cladding to complement the existing sprinkler tank and pump house. She said traffic generation was expected to be low.

But Mr Binnie said his concerns about a loss of amenity and increased health concerns remain, despite reassurance from Bettys & Taylors there were no health risks.

Mr Binnie said: “We will continue to object until properly detailed information is presented and analysed by an independent electrical expert.”

A Harrogate Council spokesman said: "We are confident that a full and detailed report will go to the planning committee from the officer, and that the members will judge the application on its merits, as is always the case and all material information will be included."