'Affordable' housing in Bilton: exact plans revealed

Part of the proposed new housing development off Knox Lane in Bilton, Harrogate.
Part of the proposed new housing development off Knox Lane in Bilton, Harrogate.

A second consultation meeting in as many weeks about a new housing development in Bilton is to be held after residents' complaints of a lack of notice.

The proposed new development off Knox Lane adjacent to Oak Beck would involve the building of 70 new homes by developers Wakefield and District Housing, one of the UK’s largest providers of social housing.
Last week’s public meeting at Bilton Community Centre with the proposed develop ment’s planning consultants, Steve Hesmondhalgh & Associates Ltd, took place in the afternoon during working hours while the school holidays meant many families were away.
Residents also say the first thing they heard about it was a small leaflet drop two days before the event.
Planning consultant, Steve Hesmond said the event had been busy with 60 people in attendance but he would now be organising a further event in the next two weeks at the same venue, this time in the evening.

Type of housing: No four beds
He also clarified the type of housing in the plans which he said had already been allocated provisionally in Harrogate council’s new draft Local Plan.
He said there were no four bed properties in the plans and only 12 of the proposed properties would be for open sale; all the remaining 58 would be a mix of different style “affordable” housing.

Although the proposals could act as a flagship scheme for genuinely affordable housing in Harrogate, many residents at the first meeting appeared worried by some of the implications of the new development.
In particular, there was concern over a potential build-up of traffic in the area.
At the moment here are only two ways out of this part of Bilton, Knox Avenue and Bilton lane, via Crab Lane, both of which feed onto Skipton Road.
The project’s planning consultant, Steve Hesmond said the developer was aware of the worries.
He said: “One of the concerns expressed by local residents related to transport measures and the impact of more cars on the network.
“That is something we have previously discussed with our transport consultant and I have asked him to review his report and look at the survey work that was done.”

Date of second public meeting
He also said the homes were designed to offer more in terms of size than was normal in today’s UK property market.
He said: “The open market sales will be the same units that are otherwise available for affordable rent or shared ownership.
“These areas are reasonably generous by modern house standards as they are governed by the requirements under which the Housing Associations operate.”
In terms of the second public consultation meeting in Bilton, Steve said, as soon as a date was agreed, he would be sending out further leaflets and contacting local residents groups to make sure everyone was aware of the plans.

The current list of proposed housing at Knox Lane is:
Affordable Rent

4 x 1bed 2person houses
12 x 2b4p houses
6 x 3b5p houses
Sub-total – 22

Shared Ownership
26 x 2b4p houses
10 x 2b4p houses
Sub-total – 36

Open market sale houses
12 - a mix of 1, 2 and 3 bed homes.
Sub-total – 12
Total houses planned - 70