Harrogate Local plan: Inspector poses questions on district's historic site protection

The inspector overlooking Harrogate’s draft local plan has admitted he is “quite considerably concerned” about the policy meant to protect the region’s heritage assets.

Thursday, 24th January 2019, 3:15 pm
Updated Thursday, 24th January 2019, 3:23 pm
The Local Plan inspector has raised issues over Harrogate's plan to protect its heritage.

Switch set to be flicked on as Harrogate launches country-leading smart parking trialGovernment-appointed inspector Richard Schofield asked for both Historic England representative Ian Smith and Harrogate Borough Council to expand on the wording surrounding the policy that states how local plan development should minimise harm to significant heritage assets.

Mr Smith said Historic England had “accepted” that the proposed sites would cause a “small amount of harm”, but that the goal of the plan was to “reduce the level of harm to the smallest possible”.

“Given the sites will cause some harm, even though it is very, very small, it would be perhaps onerous to require them to conserve heritage assets because there is an understanding that they will cause an element of harm (to the asset),” he said.

MP Andrew Jones ‘very concerned’ over plan to cut Harrogate school’s funding“What the policy is seeking to do, is to bring forward the development of those sites in the manner which brings causes the least harm to the heritage asset.”

Paul Brown QC, representing the council, said that “in an ideal world, you wouldn’t ever cause harm to a heritage asset”.

“But we don’t live in an ideal world,” he said.

“The view is taken that there is a level of harm, but if it’s at the lower end of the spectrum, and outweighed by benefits that would happen, then it must be possible to have a plan policy that brings that project forward.

New lease of life for favourite Harrogate pub as Muckles makes way“It would also be absurd then if that policy insisted you preserve the asset because you’ve already accepted in allocating it that it’s not going to be possible.

“The most you can strive to do is minimise the level of harm that can be caused.”

Mr Schofield finished the discussion saying the wording was “something I have to reflect on”.

Lachlan Leeming , Local Democracy Reporting Service