Council homes plan for disused Harrogate car park sent back to drawing board

Plans to build three council houses on a disused car park in Harrogate have been sent back to the drawing board by councillors.

Thursday, 13th May 2021, 4:16 pm
This is the car park near Dene Park. Photo: Google.

The borough council's housing team wants to build the two-bed properties near Dean Park to provide what it described as "much-needed" accommodation for some of the hundreds of people sat on the social housing waiting list.

Planning assistant Arthama Lakhanpall told a meeting on Tuesday that 1,700 households are currently in the queue for council homes, with 316 specifically requesting two-bed properties.

He asked councillors to approve the plans but was told to take another look at the layout and designs.

Councillor Nigel Simms said the proposals were "just not right yet" and "completely at odds" with existing properties in the area.

He said: "I would like to see something that represents the vernacular that surrounds it, not something that looks as if it has just been brought out of a design brief.

"This needs to go away and come back with something that reflects the local distinctiveness."

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There were also questions over why seven car parking spaces - including three disabled bays - were needed in the plans, with councillors suggesting that more or larger homes could be built.

They also said eco-friendly methods of heating, such as air source heat pumps and solar panels, should be installed instead of gas.

Councillor Andrew Paraskos said: "We could make better use of the land that is there. Whether it is more houses or bigger houses I'm not sure, but it should be sent back for reworking for a scheme that we actually need and is more fitting."

A report to councillors said the homes would provide a "modest addition" to the council's housing stock and that the loss of 12 car parking spaces would not have a negative impact on the area.

It said: "The design of the dwellings would respect local distinctiveness and there would be no significant harm to local residential amenity.

"The development would provide off-street parking and additional tree planting. It is considered that the housing development would provide a more efficient use of the site."

Councillors unanimously voted to defer a decision on the plans at Tuesday's meeting.

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter