Decision to drop developer's Pannal cycle lane deal slammed as 'ludicrous'

Leeds Road, Pannal. Photo: Google.Leeds Road, Pannal. Photo: Google.
Leeds Road, Pannal. Photo: Google.
A decision to scrap a legal agreement for a housing developer to build a cycle lane in Pannal has been slammed as "ludicrous"

.Bellway Homes had agreed to build the cycle lane on Leeds Road when its 128-home development at the former Dunlopillo factory site was approved by Harrogate Borough Council in 2017.

But the Section 106 agreement has now been scrapped by the council in favour of a £189,000 contribution from the developers after the cycle lane costs increased to almost £1m due to new government guidance on design standards.

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Kevin Douglas, chairman of Harrogate District Cycle Action, described the decision as "ludicrous" and said the developers should be made to fulfil their agreement.

He said: "Councils are not always going to have this kind of money themselves so they should be ensuring developers who are building houses and bringing more people into the town provide the appropriate infrastructure we need.

"The cycle lane wasn't a brilliant scheme in the first place, but at least it would have been something."

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Mr Douglas also said cycle links in outskirt areas like Pannal should be seen as a priority to make the most of larger projects including the £10.9m Harrogate Gateway.

He added: "Making improvements in the town centre will be great but we need these links in for people to get there.

"It's very important that all these plans and projects connect together."

The decision to scrap the agreement was made at a meeting of Harrogate Borough Council's planning committee on Tuesday after a recommendation from officers.

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Kate Broadbank, housing officer at the council, told the committee it "would not be reasonable” to make the developers build the cycle lane given the increased costs.

North Yorkshire County Council - which is responsible for highways - had also agreed to the decision prior to the meeting and is now drawing up proposals for wider improvements in Pannal using the £189,000 agreed alongside other contributions.

Paul Thornton, planning manager at Bellway Homes, said the company believed these wider plans would be of more benefit to the area.

He said: "The proposed commuted sum will be used to help fund wider improvements along the A61 which will ultimately benefit residents of Pannal and the wider district.

"We believe the funding provided through the amended Section 106 contribution will be far more beneficial than progressing a stand alone scheme."

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter