Homes plan for Ripon Cathedral Choir School site approved

The plans have been approved by the planning committee and will now go to the chief planning officer.
The plans have been approved by the planning committee and will now go to the chief planning officer.

Plans to build 105 new homes on the site of the former Ripon Cathedral Choir School and convert one of its existing buildings into 12 apartments have been approved by Harrogate Borough Council’s planning committee.

The development on Whitcliffe Lane will now be deferred to the chief planner for approval.

Coun Pauline McHardy, and Coun Peter Horton, told the ‘Gazette after the planning decision that something must be done to increase car parking spaces in Ripon, alarmed that the choir school is just one of a number of housing developments that could bring the city to a ‘standstill’ if it is not addressed.

Coun McHardy said: “I am rather concerned at all these developments being passed, when Harrogate Borough Council and North Yorkshire County Council have not addressed our car parking situation.

“This is going to be a lot of houses. Yes, we do need houses in Ripon, there is no denying that, but the choir school is 105 new houses and 12 apartments, Doublegates is 130, and Ash Grove, 44. If the development goes ahead on West Lane, that’s another 390 homes.

“This an awful lot of developing, without looking at the city centre. All the infrastructure needs looking at, not just the car parking. We want to see Ripon grow, but we don’t want to see it come to a standstill.”

Coun Horton said: “The Ripon city plan says that we don’t need to use greenfield sites, that there are adequate brownfield sites to use, particularly if the barracks come up for redevelopment.

“We are concerned about the way these developments are going, creeping into greenfields all the time. This development encroaches on the Hell Wath nature reserve area, and it is over intensive and unnecessary. We are not happy about it sprawling all over the playing fields.”

Raising concerns about car parking, Coun Horton said: “I have had the experience of going down on a Monday and Tuesday and finding it impossible to find a parking space, outside of market day. Every house in this development will have one car, possibly two. When you think of all these developments - the worst case scenario Gladmans getting their way with West Lane, in five to ten year years time we will have 800 extra houses.”