Revealed: Two potential new schools for Harrogate to cope with expansion of housing on western side of town

Two new schools may be on their way for the western side of Harrogate to mitigate the impact of thousands of new homes in the pipeline.

Friday, 7th January 2022, 4:13 pm
As many as 4,000 new homes are set to be built by 2035, although the parameters plan itself is meant to address the needs of the approximately 2,500 houses still to be built on the western side of Harrogate.

Provisionally, the two new primary schools will be located on Whinney Lane and off Otley Road at the back of RHS Harlow Carr Garden.

The potential sites for two new schools have been identified as part of the draft-only version of the long-awaited West Harrogate Parameters Plan which is being drawn up by Harrogate Borough Council in conjunction with housing developers and North Yorkshire County Council in a process which began in May 2020 and has not yet finished.

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The aim of the West Harrogate Parameters Plan - or WHPP - is bring joined-up thinking to the wave of new housing developments and ensure individual housing developers coordinate their work on schools, buses, shops, green spaces, pedestrian routes and cycle paths - as well as ensuring that the designs of the new houses are appropriate to their surroundings.

As many as 4,000 new homes are set to be built by 2035, although the parameters plan itself is meant to address the needs of the approximately 2,500 houses still to be built in the area of Pannal Ash, Otley Road, Whinney Lane, Burn Bridge and Pannal, a subject of some controversy with local parish councils and residents groups.

After working collaboratively with the developers of sites in West Harrogate to prepare the WHPP, Harrogate council is now set to talk through the draft of the WHPP in a series of stakeholder engagement meetings with relevant councillors, stakeholders and parish councils over the next few days which will afford the opportunity for comment and possible alterations.

This will be of particular interest to groups in the areas most affected by housing - Harlow and Pannal Ash Residents Association and Pannal and Burn Bridge Parish Council, who have expressed concern that without a parameters plan to identify infrastructure needs the whole area's educational and traffic risked being overwhelmed

Matters like roads and junctions will be addressed by the Infrastructure Delivery Plan for West Harrogate currently in the pipeline from transport authority North Yorkshire County Council in liaison with Harrogate Borough Council.

What locations/sites does the West Harrogate Parameters Plan cover?

The geographical extent of the WHPP is wider than sites H49 and H51 and also includes sites H45, H46, H36 (sites with planning permission when the Local Plan was adopted), H70 (part of this site has planning permission and is under construction), H36 (site with planning permission, the site promoters have engaged with the WHPP work to identify linkages), Site H88 (site with outline planning permission, discussions with site promoters ongoing to ensure opportunities for linkages are explored).

The inclusion of this wider area is so that the promoters of H49 and H51 prepare a parameters plan that “will ensure the effective co-ordination of matters such as access, provision of community facilities, school provision, green infrastructure, public transport provision, cycling and pedestrian links” with these sites in mind.

Why the West Harrogate Parameters Plan matters...

The West Harrogate Parameters Plan will offer guidance to facilitate the co-ordinated delivery of infrastructure required by housing developments in the Pannal Ash and Pannal areas.

The WHPP will:

Summarise the infrastructure required and the mechanisms to ensure delivery.

Establish a clear design vision for the WHPP area.

Provide design principles to guide future planning applications.

Contain concept masterplan proposals for the sites.

Although there is no requirement for public consultation, both the borough council and the county council have engaged with local parish councils, residents associations and Harrogate council’s District Development Committee from the early stages in targeted stakeholder engagement.

Coun Tim Myatt, Harrogate Borough Council member for the High Harrogate ward and cabinet member for planning, said: “We will be sending the draft West Harrogate Parameters Plan (WHPP) to councillors on the District Development Committee prior to an informal meeting of that committee on Thursday, January 13.

“The purpose of that committee meeting is for councillors to provide feedback on the draft copy.

“In the next few days the draft WHPP will also be shared with stakeholder groups who have been involved in engagement about the plan, prior to another engagement session on Thursday, January 20.

“We are hopeful that a final decision on the WHPP may be made by the end of February but that will be dependent on the outcome of the engagement sessions.”

It should be noted that the WHPP is a guidance document and is not a Supplementary Planning Document or Development Plan Document (DPD).

It will not introduce new planning policies or seek changes to policies set out in the adopted Local Plan and, therefore, is not concerned with rights and wrongs of sites already agreed for potential housing developments.