Packed meeting on Knaresborough housing plans

Furious residents attended a packed meeting in Knaresborough to voice their worries over plans that could see 700 new homes along with a new school and railway station in the town.

Knaresborough House’s hall was full on Thursday, November 22 for a public meeting on the town’s Neighbourhood Development Plan.

Residents were sitting in the aisles and standing in corridors and outside at the meeting as plans, which could see a new train station and primary school built in Knaresborough, were discussed.

Harrogate Borough Council has approved a draft local plan for the district, including Knaresborough, but the town council is considering making its own development plan for the town.

A total of 750 new homes have been allocated to be built in Knaresborough, Coun Phil Ireland of Knaresborough Town Council and Harrogate Borough Council told the meeting.

One scheme would see 700 homes built at Manse Farm near Eastfields, and could include a new primary school and railway station to serve the new community, as well as facilities like local shops and doctors surgeries, the meeting heard.

Other options included a smaller development of only 400 homes at Manse Farm, or proposals to build permanent homes on the Lido caravan park site.

The Lido plans attracted widespread criticism. Building on the site would “kill a community that already exists” one person at the meeting said.

Others called for the site to be given full “residential” status to give park residents, who are currently only allowed to live there for 11 months of the year, more security.

But Nick Moody of Newby Management, the company promoting the Lido plans, said: “The Lido is 21 hectares and the owners are only putting forward 12 hectares for development at 30 houses per hectare.

“The current certificate is for 60 caravans per hectare, so the remaining site could potentially hold a lot of caravans.

“The family that own the Lido are caravan park owners and intend to be. This is part of their succession planning for the family.”

Coun Andrew Willoughby, who is an Eastfield resident, spoke up about the Manse Farm proposals.

He said: “If the traffic comes through Eastfield from the new development we will suffer. If the traffic can be taken straight on to the A59 and we can get a new primary school and a new doctors surgery I think we will benefit.

“The scheme for 700 houses at Manse Farm would have the advantage of creating better opportunities for facilities.”

But Knaresborough Town Councillor Andy Wright criticised the number of new homes that Knaresborough faces.

He told the meeting: “The core strategy made by Harrogate Borough Council is causing the problem. It says Knaresborough should have 750 houses, but looking at it proportionally it would be 500.”
The 750 new homes represents around 15 percent of the homes that need to be built across the Harrogate district in coming years, which he said proportionally Knaresborough should only take 10 percent, or around 500 homes.

Other residents at the meeting spoke in favour of bringing new homes to Knaresborough.

One woman said in the meeting: “700 houses is the equivalent to two or three villages. We should all be embracing it. It will bring in new spending power and could have its own identity.”