The outpouring of community responses from across the district on the developing Local Plan has delayed key Harrogtate Borough Council meetings.
Although the Plan is still scheduled for formal publication in January next year, the District Development Committee meeting, scheduled for November 2, will now take place on 16 November and a full Council meeting is set for December.
The results of the Plan’s additional consultation period is due to be presented to councillors at these meetings. However the period resulted in a high volume of people contacting HBC and because of that, the meetings have been rescheduled.
The council say however that the Local Plan remains on track.
Cabinet Member for Planning for HBC, Coun Rebecca Burnett said: “We can confirm the dates have been moved. This is mainly because we have had such large amounts of responses, and part of the issue is we are taking more time to work through them.
“It is challenging and we have had to bring in extra resources, but the extra work has meant being delayed.”
She added:”I understand many people may be upset but it proves we knew we would get a lot of responses and that it would be a lot of work.
“If we had extended the additional consultation period we would be looking at even further delays. We have had to delay some matters but aside from that we are on track.”
For residents challenging potential sites for housing, the news is concerning - despite the unchanged formal publication date.
Chris Chelton, Chairman of Keep Green Hammerton Green said: “We are waiting to find out where they will go with the new settlement, as I am sure other groups also wanting to see what sites are being included.
“We are on tenterhooks and looking to the committee and full Council in December to see what is decided for Green Hammerton.”
He added: “They knew this consultation was to end in August and it is a major issue this has happened. That team should have the resources it needs, it was always guaranteed that they were going to get that level of response from around the area with plans like this.”
Once the document has been formally published, the Local Plan will be put before the Secretary of State by next summer.
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