Rejected plans for 91 homes in Starbeck have been overwhelmingly approved by Harrogate Borough Councillors despite concerns of ‘unduly harming’ the character of the area.
A Planning Referral Committee approved plans for Kingsley Road from developer Barrett Homes with an eight to three voting result on Thursday, March 9.
Plans were rejected in May last year by a planning committee on the grounds it ‘would unduly harm the rural pastoral character of the locality.’ However a solicitor to the council referred it to committee as this reason was not considered ‘strong enough.’
A spokesperson for Harrogate Borough Council said: “The solicitor referred it up because in his opinion the grounds for refusal were not strong enough and it would be difficult to defend at appeal, the officers recommendation was for approval, and had been every time this application had been considered.”
Coun Philip Broadbank expressed his disappointment at the decision and the future impact it could have with planning appeals.
He said: “I think there were too many four bedroomed homes in the proposed development - we don’t need those types of homes to meet local needs.
“It didn’t help when residents concerns about highways and potential flooding issues were not supported by the County highways department or Yorkshire Water.
“At present Harrogate Council is in a vulnerable position when dealing with large planning applications because it does not have a Local Plan in place and currently does not have a five year housing supply in place either. This weakens the Council’s position when Planning Inspectors consider refusals at planning appeal inquiries.”
Chair of the referral committee, Coun Robert Windass, suggested the impact of the site would be limited and the decision could be a benefit.
Coun Windass said: “There is a demand for housing and there is a lot of affordable housing as part of these plans. Along with this there will be no urban sprawl with this site, it butts up to other houses on the road and with the railway it won’t go any further.”
Conditions have been attached to approval of the plans including development taking place within two years.
A spokesperson from Barratt Homes said: “This development will go some way in addressing the acute need for new residential accommodation in Harrogate, the site was included as a draft housing allocation in the emerging local plan.
“We are making a total construction investment of £11.2m and the site will support 66 direct construction jobs.”