Rejected Killinghall housing likened to "Northern Irish backstop" situation

The rejected site at Killinghall.
The rejected site at Killinghall.

A clash between two developers has been labelled "a bit like the Northern Irish backstop" in a meeting which saw a proposal for 46 homes at Killinghall ditched.

Plans presented to Harrogate's planning committee had recommended the application by Linden Homes for greenfield land off Killinghall's Otley Road for approval.

However, councillors were of a different mind, with the majority instead voting to reject the plan.

It came after a presentation from a representative of rival developer Commercial Estates Groups (CEG), which manages developments north and east of Linden Homes' proposed site.

CEG's representative voiced concerns there would be no footpath and bike lane links between the adjacent developments, and asked councillors to consider imposing a condition that they must be included.

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However, multiple councillors voiced their issues with the planning committee being used to mediate between the two developers.

Councillors also voiced concerns that the conditions could be difficult for the council to control and enforce, and could lead to a situation where the paths issue could drag on "a bit like the North Ireland backstop in another place", according to Coun Jim Clark.

"I'm for anything that tightens this up. It's important that the committee keeps control of this... in some ways it could look like this committee was being used by outside developers which is totally unacceptable," he said.

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However, it was the development's proposed appearance and its location at Harrogate's entrance that led to its ultimate rejection.

"The development needs the connectivity (of bike and footpaths), however, having said that I've never supported any of the development down there... as the gateway to Harrogate, to see a massive housing estate on rising land is something I've never been happy about," Coun Marsh said.

Coun Nigel Simms added the design of the properties had no similarity to surrounding ones in Harrogate, recommending the application be refused to allow for a total redesign.

Asked about the scale of the redesign he wanted, Coun Simms replied: "For me, it's the whole lot."

It was a point the majority of his planning committee colleagues agreed with, resulting in the application being voted down.

Lachlan Leeming, Local Democracy Reporter