Key decision on Harrogate Local Plan and new housing is hailed

Six long years after it was first submitted, Harrogate’s Local Plan, which plays a key role in housing developments, has finally been approved by the Government.

Thursday, 6th February 2020, 11:50 am
Updated Thursday, 6th February 2020, 3:06 pm
The Government planning inspector has finally said 'yes' to the Harrogate Local Plan's targets for new housing across the district.

Planning inspector Richard Schofield concluded the plan wass “sound” subject to modifications, (published and consulted on in the summer of 2019), being made.

The inspector’s report says: “The Harrogate Local Plan’s strategy for growth and the delivery of new homes is positively-prepared, justified, effective and consistent with national planning policy.”

Harrogate Borough Council hailed the decision as “great news for the district” after the national planning inspector said the council’s revised plans would provide for the “delivery of the 2014-2035 housing requirement and for a rolling five-year supply of deliverable sites for housing.”

Coun Rebecca Burnett, cabinet member for planning, said: “The inspector’s conclusion that our Local Plan is ‘sound’ means we can finally adopt it.

“This ensures there will be certainty to development in the district, providing homes, jobs and infrastructure, guided by an agreed framework.

“The local plan will also reduce unplanned speculative development and ensure that the district’s green spaces, built heritage and community facilities are protected.”

But the report by the Planning Inspectorate also confirms conclusions it drew last year during a series of public hearings in Harrogate that the council had been planning for too many new houses.

The report given to Harrogate Borough Council January 31 highlights a list of modifications it wants Harrogate council to make to the Local Plan.

The modifications include:

Reducing the housing need in the district from 669 to 637 dwellings per year (32 fewer) and, in the overall period of the Local Plan (2014 to 2035), from 14,049 to 13,377 (672 fewer).

The success of the new plan means, Harrogate council will from now on be more able to challenge house builders legally, in theory.

Residents groups will be heartened that the government planning inspector Richard Schofield has concluded that housing targets in the Harrogate district are too high with one major housing development in Pannal removed from the final Local Plan.

But residents in Green Hammerton say they are furious that they still face the prospect of a whole new village being built on their doorstep.

Chris Eaton, co-chair of the Keep The Hammertons Green Action Group, said: “We are hugely disappointed that the proposed new settlement has received support from the inspector, especially when he has acknowledged that Harrogate Borough Council are aiming for a generous 25% more houses than they need.

“The report also leaves the future of Flaxby Park uncertain, even though the majority of people across Harrogate, York and Knaresborough, share the view that developing Flaxby’s disused golf course would benefit the local area more and cause far less disruption, as well as being more deliverable.”