Harrogate district villagers express 'deep disappointment' after major homes plan approved
Residents in a Harrogate district village fear its character and heritage are at risk after councillors approved plans for another major housing development.
People living in Tockwith reacted with "deep disappointment" when proposals for 64 homes at Church Farm were last week given the go-ahead by Harrogate Borough Council.
The application from York-based house-builders Mulgrave Developments was approved despite pleas that the village is already facing the construction of hundreds of new homes.
It was also argued by residents that if the application must be passed, fewer homes should be built because the site was earmarked for 11 less properties in the council's Local Plan.
Peter Pozman, chairman of Tockwith Residents Association, was the one who made this stand and has now spoken out about his fears that the village’s historic conservation area will become overwhelmed by new builds.
"The Local Plan described the site as a valued landscape. It is obliteration and replacement by an urban-style estate jutting out into surrounding fields is deeply disappointing for Tockwith residents", he said.
"They are butchering our heritage; trampling over Harrogate’s policies and even the meagre site requirements of the Local Plan.
"The plan is worthless. Speculators will take it as a go-ahead to carry on quarrying our precious landscape for cash."
Ward councillor Norman Waller also objected to the plan at last week's meeting, saying opposition from residents was so strong that approval of the plan would show "local democracy at its worst”.
He added: "The design is totally bog-standard, unimaginative and doesn’t represent housing styles in Tockwith conservation area.”
The development was brought before council planners in January but was deferred after concerns were raised around the density of housing.
Mark Blaine, an agent for the developers, last week told councillors the plans had been scaled back from 68 homes to 64, adding they will be built with the “highest standard of materials and design”.
Mr Pozman, chairman of Tockwith Residents Association, argued the homes will restrict residents' views of a nearby historic battlefield which was fought on in 1644.
He said: "For 356 years the view of Tockwith from Marston Moor Battlefield has been much the same. From now on the view will be a memory.
"In total almost 300 houses are being built in the area and then they go for another application, and another.
"But this one is a step too far and will be the final nail in the coffin for us."
The homes will be a mix of two, three and four-bed properties.
Councillors approved the application by seven votes to four at a meeting on 14 July.
By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter