Harrogate Spring Water says it will talk to green campaigners about revised expansion plans
Harrogate Spring Water says it remains committed to talking to green campaigners about its expansion plans and insists recent claims that it had already submitted revised landscaping details were wide of the mark.
After Harlow Greens criticised the water brand based at Harlow Hill for what it said was an attempt to "fob the community off with landscaped trees around a factory as a replacement for the rich and diverse two-acre habitat," the company itself said it had neither submitted landscaping details nor omitted the consultation phase of the planning process.
So strong are the feelings of the environmental campaigners, they are planning to meet on West Park by Beech Grove/ Otley Road this Friday, August 21 at 6pm to walk up Otley Road to the Pinewoods handing out leaflets to give people information on what is going on.
But Harrogate Spring Water's brand manager Nicky Cain said the the planning process had been slowed down by the Covid crisis and they were still keen to begin proper consultations with the Green Party and other local groups next month.
Nicky Cain said: "We have not submitted revised landscaping details nor omitted the consultation phase.
"There has been no short-cutting of the process or withdrawal of our offer of involvement; quite the opposite – it has been a consequence of delays in the planning process due to the impact of COVID."
The UK's oldest and most successful bottled water company, Harrogate Spring Water first obtained outline planning permission for the expansion of its bottling facility on Harlow Moor Road in 2017.
Its revised plans seek to increase the size of the developable area by 42% in principle, while maintaining nearly half the total space for public access with respectful landscaping.
Harrogate Spring Water has pledged from the beginning to replace any trees removed in the expansion.
But Harlow Greens say they are opposed to the expansion of the factory in principle for environmental reasons.
Harlow Greens campaigner, Rebecca Maunder said: "This Planning Proposal should not have got this far – Harrogate Borough Council need to join up their climate actions with their planning actions.
"Outline planning was granted based on conditions which detailed the need for mitigating the loss of this valuable woodland.
"There are so many reasons why this proposal should not have been granted outline planning permission."
But Nicky Cain said the firm was determined to keep good relations with environmental groups as it had always done in the past.
The brand manager said: "The results of the ecological study are still being worked upon, which shall in turn determine our obligations to be addressed as part of the landscaping detail. We hope this shall be ready by the end of September.
"At this stage – and as promised at our meetings with the Green Party, we continue to look forward to inviting the Green Party to consult and advise on the landscaping, to help ensure we best meet our responsibilities."
French food and water giant Danone announced it was buying a majority stake in family-owned Harrogate Spring Water in February.
The Government's Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) confirmed in June it would not be referring the multi-national corporations' planned acquisition to a phase two investigation.
The deal - made for an undisclosed sum - will see Harrogate Spring Water join brands Evian and Volvic under Danone’s portfolio.
Under the deal's conditions, the current shareholders, the Cain family, will continue to hold a minority stake under the deal.
Managing director James Cain will join the management team of Danone Waters UK and continue to lead the Harrogate Spring Water business.
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