Harrogate residents fear 'long road' despite victory over 217 Kingsley housing development

After more than two years of fighting against wave after wave of new housing developments in their part of Harrogate,  members of Kingsley Ward Action Group are savouring a rare victory.

Friday, 6th August 2021, 12:03 pm
Updated Friday, 6th August 2021, 12:08 pm
Flashback to June this year and a gathering of Kingsley protesters led by Catherine Maguire make their point against the housing planning application

Despite their success in seeing councillors vote to reject plans for a 217-home development in the Kingsley area on Tuesday, after months of dirt, disruption and heavy lorries, Kingsley Ward Action Group say there is still a "long road ahead".

John Hansard, from the Kingsley Ward Action Group said: “It’s a brilliant result but I believe that vigilance should be our watchword as we all know what happened with the Richborough Estates plan when it was rejected 10 to 1 and then it was appealed and approved by the Government Inspector on the quiet.

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"We need to approach the council to make sure they are alert to this possibility and that they are, on this occasion, willing to fight it if the worst happens.

"Our fight continues and there will be a long road ahead but, thankfully, we are continuing to gain support and have our voice heard."

The residents concerns over the latest swathe of new housing relate to traffic. infrastructure, wildlife, drainage and lack of public services in the plan.

Their complaints were echoed by the ward's Conservative councillor Nigel Middlemass who condemned the proposals as "the worst thought out" of all new applications for the area.

Also speaking at the meeting was Harrogate Borough Council's planning officer Mike Parkes who said: "The scheme has gone through a number of versions but is still not considered to be acceptable.

Paul Butler, an agent for the developers, asked the committee to vote for a deferral but councillors rejected this saying they wanted to take a "robust" stance against the Kingsley Drive development until it was made right.

Mr Butler said: "The site is allocated for housing and those further proposals and applications will always be forthcoming. The key from here is ensuring those details are right."

Harrogate Borough Council's planning committee's vote was unanimous against the proposals from Persimmon Homes which said it had "got the message loud and clear" that improvements to the scheme needed to be made.

There were 388 objections from residents and not a single letter of support.

The Kingsley ward is one of the busiest areas for new builds in Harrogate with around 700 new homes already built or currently under construction, and with hundreds more in the pipeline.

The Kingsley Drive site rejected yesterday is allocated for more than 173 homes in the Local Plan and an application from Persimmon was first submitted in 2019.

The developers have since made several revisions - including scaling back house numbers from 244.