"A step too far": Huge housing development approved at Knaresborough

The Highfield Farm site off the A59.
The Highfield Farm site off the A59.

More than 1000 new homes will be "tacked on the side of Knaresborough" after the latest large-scale development was approved for the town.

More than 1000 new homes will be "tacked on the side of Knaresborough" after the latest large-scale development was approved for the town.

The 402-home Highfield Farm, on York Road, was accepted by planning committee members despite concerns that it would result in harmful levels of over-development.

The Highfield site is directly next to the Manse Farm development currently being built, meaning 1000 homes will be built on that stretch of York Road.

Councillors were largely unified in speaking against the proposal.

"For me Manse Farm was bad enough, but now this is making it 1000 new houses tacked on the side of Knaresborough," Coun Pat Marsh said.

“Its like a new village, it’ll have nothing to do with Knaresborough. It's a step too far."

Coun Andy Paraskos added: "We're moving further into open countryside."

“That buffer should be as far as we go...If we allowed Manse Farm, that's it”

The development includes the construction of another roundabout on the A59, making it the third one on that stretch of road.

Councillors initially voted in favour of rejecting the proposal by Taylor Wimpey UK, citing the loss of a layby at the site and traffic concerns, as well as fears that education and infrastructure would struggle to keep pace with the sudden population growth.

However, council's legal officer recommended against wholesale rejection of the proposal, given that it is included in Harrogate's draft local plan - the blueprint for where thousands of homes should be built in the coming 20 years.

Council's legal officer stated that voting against the development "raises significant issues as far as this councils local plan preparation goes" and could undermine the entire plan.

Coun Martin said postponing a decision would "delay the inevitable", with the local plan meaning the proposal had to be accepted eventually.

"It is in our local plan, we haven't got much choice….I wish it was different, but we have to go with it," he said, with the proposal approved when it returned to the vote.

Lachlan Leeming, Local Democracy Reporter