Pannal reacts to housing plans

RESIDENTS say they are fighting for Pannal's future, after Harrogate Council announced plans for 100 new houses in the village.

Villagers argue that the proposals, which include erecting 80 homes on a field off Leeds Road, are unsuitable for the area and could set a dangerous precedent.

The land is outside the current development limit, agreed in consultation with local groups.

Joan Newby, a resident in Pannal for 42 years, said: "Do we want 80

houses on the site?

"No. Absolutely N-O.

"The council wants to alter the line of settlement which was supposed to say where development could take place.

"If you alter it once, you can alter it again, and Pannal will be swallowed up in Harrogate.

"We have fought for years to make sure we are a separate settlement."

Pannal Village Society is holding a public meeting about the plans next month.

Anne Smith, from the group, said: "Pannal has too much housing as it is - the roads just can't cope."

"The council seems to look at Pannal and think: 'It's got a bus service, a rail service and the A61 and it's got a school, so let's shove some more houses on there'."

Fellow society member Liz Bowden said it was "a small village", which had seen a disproportionate number of new houses since the 1960s.

The society is also opposed to the building of an access road in the green belt and fears the school would be unable to cope with the influx of new members.

Dave Sykes, planning policy manager at Harrogate Council said: "Having consulted with the county council, the school's capacity is not a major issue, but we clearly need to check all the things that have been raised with us."

The authority's exhibition about the plans drew around 100 residents on Tuesday.

Frank Hird said: "Overall, I'm against the development, like most people. My concern is too much traffic coming back into Pannal.

"I accept that things have to progress, but the last few years Pannal has taken a fair bit of development."

Fran Bergel said the plans were "out of the question" given the existing infrastructure.

Mel Raine, a resident since 1976, sounded a rare positive note. "I think it sounds sensible," he said. "We've got to have development somewhere and it's been reasonably well planned."

Harrogate Council's proposals also include creating a business park on the old Dunlopillo site, incorporating a further 20 houses.

Ingrid McLaughlin said: "We understood that Dunlopillo would be used for a business park and not for housing," a view echoed by Anne Smith, while Joan Newby said small offices on the site would be ideal.

Lucy Tilsley, who owns the post office, which would move into the development, said: "I think it's a good idea and I would be happy having the housing, as it makes my business more viable."

The village society's public meeting takes place at Pannal Memorial Hall on Wednesday, November 17 from 8pm. The closing date for comments to the council is Friday, November 26.

Dunlopillo site owners Forward Investments LLP this week announced plans for around 100 homes on the land, with car parking and retail and community space.