I have just tried my best to take part in the consultation on the Local Plan as I feel I should be an active citizen but it really is full of barriers to participation - the language, the sheer size of it, and my feeling that I don’t know enough but wanting to say that I’m extremely worried that the plans aren’t catering for the future in terms of an ageing population whose requirements are going to overwhelm us so soon.
We need a massive increase in care homes and sheltered communities alongside affordable small/medium sized homes for families, rather than the massive executive homes I keep seeing on the new developments.
I feel completely voiceless, even when I’m sitting in front of a ‘consultation’ which is not how it should be. I feel that whatever I, and the few others who have braved the labyrinth of the website say, ultimately this plan will be subsumed into the interests of businesses. Developers will only build what makes them money and they will do anything they can to wriggle out of their obligations in terms of social housing and building thriving communities.
It would be so refreshing if Harrogate Borough Council could stand firm with set limits on the kinds of houses being built and the community resources that developers need to put in - parks, shops and vitally, additional public transport links, otherwise this town is going to grind to a halt. I hope that by writing this, in some small way I have a voice, so councillors, if you are reading please take it on board that an educated, articulate, passionate person who is computer literate feels excluded so I can’t imagine how the vast majority are supposed to feel included in this process.