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Action group challenge developer's appeal to Government inspectors

Credit: Sophie Jacobs
Credit: Sophie Jacobs

A housing action group is to continue challenging plans for a development in Hampsthwaite as it prepares to go before Government inspectors.

Vernon Land Partnership (Hampsthwaite) Limited has lodged an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate after two applications were rejected by Harrogate Borough Council last year. The first for 130 homes and a second for 80.

The land promoter say they have addressed issues following this, including drainage and highways concerns, but the Hampsthwaite Action Group maintain that the plans are not sustainable.

Vice-Chairman, Grant Blakemoore said: “Our expectation is that when the inspector sees the site it will be clear to them how devastating this could be with the loss of the landscape, which has a clear view of the nearby Area of Natural Beauty. We hope they will realise how unsympathetic a development could be on that field, an elevated area that is visible from the surrounding area, including the AONB itself - so the impact of this will be apparent.

He added: “If all the current housing proposals are allowed, the village of Hampsthwaite will almost double in size in a generation, with no corresponding planned infrastructure or consideration of the cumulative impact on the character of the village. This level of disproportionate growth cannot represent sustainable development.”

The site was previously considered as an additional housing site in the district’s Local Plan. However the group point out it has not been put forward.

Vernon Land Partnership says it has listened to residents and will also raise the need for housing within the district to the Inspectorate.
Director Peter Vernon said: “I think we have always been able to show we are keen to work with local stakeholders, we had a public consultation event at the Village Hall, we have taken on board comments, some of which are positive and negative, particularly with the 80 unit scheme which was smaller and would have had less impact because of its size.”

He added: “We respect their ability to support or object to the scheme, that is their right. We have responded to objections and a substantial number of these have been recognised by us, such as with drainage and Highways. They have been addressed satisfactorily.”

“The application was objected to because of the impact on the value of the landscape, but Harrogate has a substantial shortage of housing and the normal planning position is a presumption of favour. So we are asking them (the Planning Inspectorate) to consider that.

If you would like to comment on the applications search Rowden Lane at Planninginspectorate.gov.uk/