Housing plans opponents outraged

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The battle was won but war rages on against a housing development of over 210 homes on the outskirts of Wetherby.

Wetherby ward councillor Alan Lamb said he was outraged that officials at Harrogate Borough Council have said a decision should be made behind closed doors evening though members of the planning committee refused the application from Hallam Land Management for a site off Harrogate Road.

Coun Lamb said: “On the day the battle was won, however, the war rages on.”

At a planning committee meeting on Tuesday, 11 out of 13 councillors voted to refuse the application near Spofforth.

But following the decision Harrogate Council’s legal officer said that the report would have to be placed in ‘special measures’ and that the meeting would have to be deferred and held in ‘exempt session’.

Coun Lamb, who spoke at the meeting on behalf of campaigners who have rallied against the application, added: “I am surprised and outraged that unelected officials have said to the Committee members ‘have another go’ at this unsustainable planning application.

“The panel members did the right thing this time and we hope that when this next comes up, they will do the right thing again.”

Free transport was laid on and over 100 opponents from Wetherby attended the meeting at Harrogate.

“We were delighted with the support from the Wetherby community and residents who came in great numbers to show their opposition to this application,” added Coun Lamb.

Peter Swales, Co-Chairman of Wetherby & Kirk Deighton Countryside Partnership, which has been fighting the plans, said campaigners’ elation turned to confusion at the turn of events.

“We now have a situation where Councillors have voted strongly against the development, Wetherby area have opposed the development yet it is going to be reconsidered with another vote in the future.

“It smacks of making people continuously vote on something until the vote that is wanted is received.“

Mr Swales added: “We were only allowed some 10 minutes for our speakers to make the case of opposition.

“It is unbelievable that a development of this magnitude, which is comparable to 20 Wembley Stadium football pitches in size and would fundamentally and adversely affect the characteristics of Wetherby as a market town forever was only given this amount of time before being discussed by Harrogate Borough Council members.”

Mr Swales said the group would consider its options.