Multi-million pound "eco-friendly" business park near Harrogate to be voted on

Concept drawings of Flaxby Green Park, Courtesy of Smalley, Marsey and Rispin Architects.
Concept drawings of Flaxby Green Park, Courtesy of Smalley, Marsey and Rispin Architects.

The first steps in the development of a mammoth "eco-friendly" business park near Harrogate - including 20 lodges, a doggy daycare and a central office complex - are set to receive council approval.

An outline application for the wider Flaxby Green Park project was approved in 2017, with applicants Forward Investment LLP putting forward a vision to create a cutting-edge business complex nestled within woodland space.

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.

The developers have signalled their intention to build the park in stages, with the first phase of that to be discussed by Harrogate's planning committee on April 25.

The application councillors will consider 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 proposal as envisaged by the applicant is to create ‘start up’ office accommodation for small to medium sized enterprises that will complement the wider business park," a report on the application states about the 20 lodges.

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

The scheme differs from the masterplan submitted under the outline application, which did not include development within a portion of woodland area at the site.

"It is acknowledged that the scheme will have a greater impact upon the woodland than had been envisaged at the outline stage but the development where possible seeks to avoid the more sensitive areas of woodland by utilising previously despoiled areas of the site," the council's report states.

Portions of the site slated for development were previously used for a paintball shooting range, meaning vegetation in the area has already been damaged, according to the report.

In recommending the first phase for approval, the report acknowledges the development was likely to impact the woodland and a nearby bridleway.

"The scheme will have a negative impact upon the character of the nearby public bridleway, but overall such impact is not considered significant when assessed against the impact of former uses at the site and the remaining opportunity for enhancement," it states.

"The significant economic benefits that the development of this key employment business park will bring to the District outweighs the harm to the bridleway and to the central section of woodland as a whole."

Lachlan Leeming, Local Democracy Reporter