Letter: Town Centre plan - We welcome engagement

Harrogate Borough Council's Local Plan
Harrogate Borough Council's Local Plan

I respond jointly to the letters is last week’s edition from Henry Pankhurst and Andy Butterfield regarding the Harrogate Town Centre Strategy and Masterplan (HTCSM) and housing growth respectively.

On the HTCSM - it is important to note that illustrations in the document are indicative only and they are not detailed designs or costings.

The HTSCM identifies opportunities. When any of those opportunities are progressed there will be further consultation on more detailed plans and costings.

The redevelopment of the transport hub, including a relocated tourist information centre if appropriate, is a priority and work is taking place with landowners and key partners to progress a scheme.

Regarding housing growth - the council is preparing a new local plan to identify land for housing, employment opportunities, local green space and infrastructure whilst ensuring the district’s high quality natural and built environment is protected.

In the meantime the council always has to demonstrate that sites are available to meet local housing need for five years’ looking forward. We have to continue to work to meet this requirement and are doing so successfully at present whilst ensuring that good numbers of the homes provided are affordable homes.

Maintaining this five-year supply by approving sustainable developments puts the council in a stronger position to reject unsustainable development.

Brownfield land is being brought forward but the nature of our district means we also have to look to greenfield land (but not necessarily Green Belt) to meet our housing need, both over the next five years and over the local plan period.

Whilst it is difficult to accept that greenfield land in our district will continue to be developed, with the requirement to provide housing in the region of 578 homes per year some development of this type is needed.

Residents and local stakeholders will next have opportunity to comment on a draft plan in October 2016 and we welcome further engagement.

Coun Rebecca Burnett

Cabinet member for planning and sustainable transport, Harrogate Borough Council