Final approval for 390 homes near Fountains Abbey in Ripon despite concerns over impact on World Heritage Site

Fountains Abbey, Ripon.Fountains Abbey, Ripon.
Fountains Abbey, Ripon.
Plans for 390 homes in Ripon have been granted final approval despite repeated concerns over the impact on a nearby World Heritage Site.

Harrogate Borough Council initially rejected the proposals for land off West Lane in 2017 over the impact on the countryside and Fountains Abbey which is home to the largest monastic ruins in the country.

But the decision was later overturned at appeal by the Planning Inspectorate which said the impacts would be "extremely limited".

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The council's planning committee has now granted final approval at a meeting on Tuesday, although some councillors said their concerns also including highways and parking remained.

Councillor Pat Marsh, leader of the Liberal Democrat group, described the plans as being "forced upon" the area following the appeal.

She said: "The impact on these particular areas which include a World Heritage Site that we must protect are going to be there whether we like it or not.

"I feel strongly that these reasons for refusal still stand."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Councillor Richard Cooper, Conservative leader of the council, said raising objections over areas which have been dismissed by the Planning Inspectorate was "fighting battles that have already been lost".

The proposals were initially brought forward by Britain's largest housebuilder Barratt Homes before the developers pulled out of the scheme.

The government's housing agency Homes England and developers Taylor Wimpey then struck a £89.5m deal to acquire the site in February 2021 and get the plans back on track.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The approved plans include 156 affordable homes, 42 bungalows, cycling and walking links, a new bus route and children's play areas.

There will also be 40 modular homes provided by Flaxby-based company llke Homes.

All homes with parking will also have electric vehicle charging points.

Four objections against the plans were lodged with the council, including one from Littlethorpe Parish Council which flagged concerns over how the area's roads, schools and health services will cope with another population increase.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The plans include a £455,000 contribution from the developers towards local bus services, £91,000 towards upgrades for nearby traffic signals and £50,000 towards cycling improvements.

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter