Lib Dems call for bolder thinking on housing plans

Harrogate Lib Dems are calling on the the Conservatives to ‘think outside the box’ when it comes to planning proposals in the district.

Speaking in response to last week’s Harrogate Advertiser article on plans for 600 homes at Penny Pot Lane, Coun Helen Flynn argues the current Conservative controlled council need to be bolder.

Coun Flynn said: “We think that now is the time for the council to be bold and consider plans for building a completely new settlement, akin to an ‘ecovillage’, close to the A1 and rail facilities, to stem any future impact on Harrogate’s creaking infrastructure.”

Catherine Wright, chairman of the Queen Ethelburgas Residents Action Group said: “Harrogate used to be a forward thinking place but the plans for 600 houses at Penny Pot Lance are just ludicrous. Why aren’t people looking at the idea on an eco village? This is just such a narrow minded way of trying to fill a requirement.”

Harrogate District’s long awaited local development framework (LDF) has now been submitted to the government planning inspector for approval.

The draft plan includes almost 4,000 houses allocated at different sites across the disctrict, including 600 houses at Penny Pot Lane and 680 houses at Cardale Park West.

However local Lib Dem councillors are now calling on the Conservatives to think again, saying that the traffic studies accompanying the plans are do not reveal the true impact the developments will have on the roads.

Coun David Siddans, (Lib Dem, Rossett Ward), a civil engineer with an MSc in Transport Planning said he is concerned the traffic impact may be significantly under-reported.

He said: “A small level of underestimation of traffic flows will have a significant impact on the likelihood of delays at most of the strategic junctions considered.”

In December 2013 the Harrogate Advertiser reported that it will cost an estimated £1million to improve the eight key junctions across the district Jacobs Engineering found would operate over capacity if all the houses in the LDP are built.