"UK-first" environmentally-friendly business park near Harrogate approved

A former paintball shooting range near Harrogate will be transformed into a multi-million pound environmentally-friendly business park, in a project that has been heralded as a "UK-first".

Friday, 26th April 2019, 2:02 pm
Updated Friday, 26th April 2019, 2:09 pm
An artist's impression of the "UK-first" eco-friendly business park. Picture: SMR Architects

An application to start the first stage of work on Flaxby Green Park at Allerton Park was green-lit by Harrogate planning committee councillors who largely praised the project.

Ahead of their decision, councillors were addressed by Jerry Tate of Tate Harmer architects, representing applicants Foward Investment LLP.

While specialists in sustainable, environmentally-friendly design, Mr Tate said it ws the first time the firm had been asked to design a work space.

"We think this scheme would be completely unique and a UK-first for Harrogate," he said.

"It's design we’re really proud of it."

He said the project focused on maintaining and protecting trees in the area, with a vision of employment offices "threaded" in among woodland.

“(It's) a UK-first for offices which promote well-being and provide a sustainable connection with nature,” he added.

Located at a lightly-wooded site south west of the junction of the A59 and A1 motorway at Flaxby, the park is predicted to be able to accommodate up to 3,000 jobs once completed.

Approval for multi-million pound science park could bolster region on world stageThe work will see the site, a former paintball shooting range, transformed into a bustling park which will include space for smaller, start-up businesses as well as larger established firms.

It was this transformation that councillors had much praise for, with Coun Pat Marsh (Lib Dem, Hookstone) saying it was "mind-bending" to see what had been left at the former paintballing range, such as car tyres and damaged trees.

Coun Tom Watson (Lib Dem, Nidd Valley) agreed he was "appalled"at the state of the site.

However, Coun Marsh praised the applicants for presenting a vision of what "can be achieved within that woodland".

"Enough is really enough": Langthorpe development approved despite councillor's protests"When we learnt today that this (project) is the first in the UK, it has to be welcomed," she said.

"Having these units carefully threaded in the woods is saying we’ll do it in a very careful way and do the least harm to the woodland possible.”

She added that she hoped the project would actually go ahead.

“I hope that we actually see it happen, sometimes we sit here and make decisions (but) don't actually get to see it happen," she said.

Mr Tate was also asked if the applicants had plans to provide a bus service at the site, to which he replied: "It's something we’d like to do, so yes is the answer to that".

Councillors voted unanimously in favour of endorsing the first stage of the project.

The first stage of work includes construction of 20 eco-lodges, as well as a central hub building, which will house a reception, security office, cafe, kitchen and meeting rooms.

The applicants also requested permission to build a doggy daycare centre and a crèche.

An outline application had previously been accepted for the business park in 2017.

Lachlan Leeming, Local Democracy Reporter