Meeting to decide on 200 homes called off after ‘administrative error’ at Harrogate council

A meeting to decide on plans for 200 homes in Harrogate has been called off after an "administrative error" at the council meant some residents were not told it was happening.

Monday, 10th May 2021, 6:40 pm
Updated Monday, 10th May 2021, 6:42 pm
Decision delayed: This is the former police training site on Yew Tree Lane.

Harrogate Borough Council's planning committee was due to decide on the proposals for the site of a former police training centre near Pannal Ash tomorrow (11 May) but the meeting was thrown into question when a residents group complained many concerned had not been made aware or invited to speak.

A spokesperson for Harlow and Pannal Ash Residents Association earlier today said there had been a "severe breakdown" in the planning process and made an "urgent" request for the meeting to be called off.

The council has now confirmed in a statement that there had been "administrative error" within the planning department and that the meeting would be moved to 3 June.

"We would like to thank the people who made us aware of the issue," it said.“The opportunity for people to speak at planning committee meetings is an important part of the democratic process.

“The item will now be considered on 3 June which should give everyone interested in the application time to put their views to the committee.”

Speaking after the announcement, Harlow and Pannal Ash Residents Association said while it welcomed the postponement, it didn't believe a parameters plan - which includes details on building heights, landscape and other key planning components - would be ready before the revised date.

The group's spokesperson said: "It has been agreed by all parties that this parameters plan is a key and critical document needed before any major new developments are considered in the area.

"As such this application must be delayed whilst infrastructure and other facilities/amenities in the western arc of Harrogate are finalised. Without this we will continue with further piecemeal planning decisions.”

The government's housing agency Homes England is behind the plans which have been recommended for approval.

The former police training centre on Yew Tree Lane closed in 2011 and plans have been in the works to convert the site into housing since 2014.

Planning permission for 161 homes was previously granted in 2018 before Homes England took over ownership of the site a year later.

The most recent proposals include the conversion of several former training centre buildings into 16 homes and the construction of 184 new properties.

If approved, the development will also see the loss of three football pitches and a cricket pitch, and Homes England has offered the council £595,000 in mitigation through a section 106 agreement.

A total of 29 residents have lodged objections online with concerns over the loss of green space and increase in the size of development.

A council report recommending approval said: "The proposal will make a significant contribution towards meeting the district's housing need and no significant harm has been identified from the principle of 200 units within the designated housing site."

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter