Harrogate residents step up anti-housing battle

A Harrogate residents group is stepping up fundraising to challenge the town's Local Plan as one building firm announced its latest wave of new housing in their area would be ready before Christmas.

Friday, 12th October 2018, 9:44 am
Updated Friday, 12th October 2018, 9:48 am
Members of Harlow & Pannal Ash Residents Association.

Buyers are expected to start moving into the development of 125 new houses off Otley Road by December, said the sales director at Charles Church Yorkshire.

Kevin Thubron said: “Harrogate is a highly sought-after place to live. The Harlow Hill Grange development development will feature a range of one, two, three, four and five-bedroom stylish homes in a variety of different house designs.“All our homes are built to high levels of energy efficiency and stringent safety standards,“We are giving people the chance to register their interest online, so they can get ahead of the queue and secure their preferred plot as soon as soon as it becomes available.“Buyers are expected to start moving in by December.”

But Harlow & Pannal Ash Residents Association is questioning the number of new houses on the west side of Harrogate identifed in the council’s draft Local Plan sent recently to the Government’s planning inspector for scrutiny.

An example of one of the Harlow Grange new homes coming to Harrogate.

HAPARA committee member, David Siddans said the total effecs of various different plans for new housing in this area added up to a major headache in terms of transport and infrastructure.

He said: “The current system of planning rules make it very difficult to refuse individual developments because the impact is considered fairly modest.“We accept that new homes are required in the Harrogate District, particularly affordable homes. But cumulatively the effect is massive. The accumulation of all these bite-sized chunks will be more than 3,000 houses in the Otley Road corridor in total. “We need more houses, but where is the infrastructure – and the planning – to support them?”

So concerned are members of HAPARA that they have launched a fundraising campaign to produce a professional, independent report for evidence to submit to the planning inspectorate as they review the Local Plan.

In only a few weeks, the appeal has raised more than a £1,000, though the residents association says more support is needed.Harrogate Borough Council’s case is that the proposed housing numbers in its current draft Local Plan are essential not only to meet people’s needs for homes, but also support new jobs as the local economy grows.

The council says its decision to allocate land to the west of Harrogate has been based on a range of evidence base work that includes a sustainability appraisalNext Tuesday will see the council’s planning committee consider an application by another housing developer Banks for 130 houses on Whinney Lane, again on the west side of Harrogate.

HAPARA say the only effective way to challenge new housing is to persuade the government inspectator to make changes to Harrogate’s Local Plan.

David Siddans said: “Under the The National Planning Policy Framework, which sets out the Government’s planning policies for England, developments can be refused on the grounds of prematurity, but only if the proposal is “substantial”. “But the applications are coming in small doses – 124 on Crag Lane, 125 near Horticap, 130 on Whinney Lane. “As a result, these piecemeal developments are succeeding in getting in under the wire.”

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