New version of Harrogate Spring Water's controversial expansion plan submitted with 'community woodland at its heart'
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The renowned bottled water brand located on Harlow Hill says the centrepiece of its proposal is the creation of an area of new publicly accessible woodland, which would see approximately 1,200 trees planted on two acres of land immediately next to Rotary Wood and to the rear of the existing Harrogate Spring Water operations.
Richard Hall, managing director at Harrogate Spring Water, said: “As a business whose success is rooted in the town of Harrogate and its people, it is really important for us to work in partnership with the local community.
“The local community has been very clear in expressing their concern about the potential loss of trees from part of Rotary Wood which an expanded production facility could bring.
“This is why at the heart of our Reserved Matters application is a new community woodland which will be fully accessible to the public and we hope will become a valued resource for the local community for many years to come.
The company has also committed to planting an additional 260 trees on the current Rotary Wood site where it aims to expand its production facilities.
Taken together with the new community woodland, Harrogate Spring Water says this means that any trees in Rotary Wood which are removed as a result of the proposed expansion will be replaced by a ratio of 3:1.
Harrogate Spring Water is also working alongside local forestry experts to identify other locations in Harrogate where an additional 1,500 trees will be planted, further improving the replacement rate.
Owned by French multi-national food-products corporation Danone, the Harrogate company says the expansion will help to create over 50 new jobs for local people at Harrogate Spring Water, in addition to at least 20 jobs in the local construction sector during the build phase.
It will also, it says, boost the level of economic output generated – known as Gross Valued Added (GVA) - by Harrogate Spring Water by around £2.3m a year to £6.2m a year.
The new revised version of the expansion plans takes into account feedback the company received to its initial revised proposals in summer 2022, and the most recent feedback from a consultation event held in November 2023.
The latter event saw local green campaigners mount a small protest outside the Crown Hotel as Harrogate Spring Water bosses chatted openly at the public event.
Members of Save Rotary Wood - Again campaign said at that point they would continue their fight to save the stretch of Harrogate woodland at the Pinewoods despite the changes put forward by Harrogate Spring Water.
Harrogate Spring Water originally secured outline planning permission for its expansion in 2017 with a plan that was passed unanimously by Harrogate Borough Council following an extensive public consultation exercise involving various stakeholder groups.
The Reserved Matters application which the company has put forward to North Yorkshire Council contains details on the size and design of the expanded production facility as well as information on matters including landscaping.
The Reserved Matters application will be available in the coming week on the North Yorkshire Council website at https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/planning-and-conservation/view-and-comment-planning-applications where users can leave views and comments.
Once the application has been received by North Yorkshire Council, it will subject to a local consultation process led by the council alongside a technical consultation with consultees such as ecology and tree officers who will provide further comments.
It will then be reported to Planning Committee where councillors will consider the application.