Harrogate planning committee rejects hundreds of homes amid "over-development" concerns

The proposed site of the rejected development on Water Lane.
The proposed site of the rejected development on Water Lane.

Poor planning and concerns of over-development have been cited as the reasons behind the rejection of a 218-home development in Knaresborough.

Despite being contained in Harrogate's draft local plan, which has been increasingly used to decide planning applications over the last several months, council officers recommended against approving the project proposed by Geoffrey Holland at Water Lane.

Coun Samantha Mearns spoke for the third time in two meetings, following a raft of development being proposed for her ward of Knaresborough Scriven Park in recent months.

"We have yet another application in my ward on a greenfield site...The developer should be pushing on an open door," she told councillors.

"(However) I only have three minutes before you and the reasons for refusal are so extensive that I cannot seek to do them justice here...There is poor open space planning, poor dwelling design, it is over dense – it is a draft allocation for 148 homes and yet the application is trying to pack in 50 per cent more."

She also said the planned development had "ridden roughshod over existing trees and hedgerows" by proposing to relocate them instead of working around them.

The local plan, which is scheduled to be adopted by the council later this year, has stated the land for which the development was proposed should hold a maximum of 148 homes - not 218.

In a report submitted by council officers, the design was found not to comply with both national and local planning stipulations.

Knaresborough Town Council opposed the development too, stating in their feedback that there was not enough affordable housing on site and the location was poor.

They added that it was "over-development" and meant "cramming houses" on the land "to an unacceptable degree".

The council also received 40 letters of objection to the proposal, with additional concerns raised over the impact on the local wildlife and pollution of

the water, as well as a new entrance being close to an existing playground.

It saw a quick decision made by planning committee members, who voted unanimously to reject the proposal on Tuesday.

The decision is the latest in a series regarding large-scale developments around Knaresborough in recent months.

In August a 402-home development at Highfield Farm was given the tick of approval, despite councillors' concerns that it was "a step too far".

The Highfield site is directly next to the Manse Farm development currently being built, meaning 1000 homes will be built on that stretch of York Road.

In September building giants Gladstone Developments also indicated they would challenge a Harrogate Borough Council decision to reject their plans for 175 homes at Bar Lane.

Councillors had initially approved the proposal when it came before them earlier this year, but they recalled the decision in September and rejected it based on developments in the local plan.

Lachlan Leeming, Local Democracy Reporter