Harrogate's final draft local plan completion date revealed

The local plan will dictate where many of the district's homes will be built over the next 20 years.
The local plan will dictate where many of the district's homes will be built over the next 20 years.

The final draft of Harrogate's crucial local plan is expected to be completed in July or August.

In an update from the Planning Inspectorate office, a spokesperson said that the examination by Government-appointed inspector Richard Schofield is running to schedule.

The update comes as the council work to implement changes to the plan recommended by the inspector last month, when Mr Schofield advised that 11 sites - containing more than 1000 proposed homes - be deleted from the blueprint, in his first round of feedback on the crucial document.

Following modifications, the draft will go out for public consultation again, before a final report is submitted.

"Hearings ended on 13 February and the council are now in the process of drawing up the main modifications which will be consulted upon during May or June," the spokesperson said.

"We would anticipate the final report to be sent to the council in July or August."

Following the inspector's feedback in March, cabinet member for planning Coun Rebecca Burnett said the inspector had outlined a clear path for the plan to be designated as sound.

Given the excess of housing dictated in the original draft plan, the council will not have to find any alternative housing despite the removal of the 11 sites and accompanying 1000 homes.

Among the inspector's other requests was for more information surrounding various sites which could potentially be the location of a new village.
He called the new village location a "finely balanced" issue which he required more information on before coming to a decision.

The council will also be required to present to him the work surrounding their assessments of Sites of Interest for Nature Conservation (SINC).

"I will be grateful if the council can please supply evidence in relation to each of the proposed SINC sites, detailing how and when each site has been assessed and why it is considered appropriate for designation in the plan," he wrote.

Lachlan Leeming, Local Democracy Reporter