Housing developments for Green Hammerton and Kirby Hill rejected as local plan looms large

The rejected Green Hammerton proposal.
The rejected Green Hammerton proposal.

The shadow of Harrogate's draft local plan is already looming large over planning decisions, with two sites rejected on the basis that they aren't included in the blueprint.

The plan, which will dictate where thousands of homes and businesses are built across the district in the coming 20 years, is currently available for public consultation ahead of being adopted.

Despite not yet being officially approved, planning officers have advised that "significant weight" can now be given to the document, with councillors using it to inform whether to approve or reject developments in recent weeks.

That was the case with planning committee members dismissed two applications this month.

The first - 63-homes at proposed by the Merrington Estate at Green Hammerton - had previously been included in the draft plan.

However, government inspector Richard Schofield recommended in March the site be deleted from the blueprint.

An agent for Merrington Estate criticised the decision to delete the site from the plan, telling the planning committee: "Your council has been instrumental in identifying the site for development".

He said the move was "a complete U-turn" without warning, and meant the applicants suddenly became "objectors rather than supporters" of the draft plan.

Councillors followed the draft plan though, unanimously rejecting the proposal.

They repeated the action when considering 31 dwellings at Church Lane, Kirby Hill, in a site not allocated in the draft plan.

In a sign of the weight given to the draft plan, the same meeting saw councillors approve a 402-home development east of Knaresborough, despite multiple concerns over traffic, access, education provision and over-development, due to the site being allocated in blueprint.

Councillors largely welcomed the draft plan giving them a more solid basis to approve or reject applications.

"Despite what happened (with the Knaresborough application), we're at last able to give protection where we can give protection to people in our district," Coun Pat Marsh told the committee.

Lachlan Leeming, Local Democracy Reporter