What could a potential change to assessing housing need mean for Harrogate?

The changes include the introduction of new three stage process
The changes include the introduction of new three stage process

A national consultation is underway, potentially changing how authorities like Harrogate Borough Council calculate the number of homes needed to meet future demand.

Running until Thursday, November 9 the proposal, which is part of a central government housing white paper, suggests this should be done with a new three stage process.

Putting Harrogate through this it examined annual household growth over 10 years, flagged this against the market and capped it at 40 per cent of the growth. This found 395 homes were needed every year between 2016-2026, compared to 669 proposed by HBC in the developing Local Plan.

However consultation documents suggest this could be due to councils expecting job growth, a point which Coun Rebecca Burnett, HBC Cabinet Member for Planning highlighted.

Ms Burnett said: “Bearing in mind that this is a consultation, we won’t know for certain what that impact will be until we know the outcome, but there is some information we can draw from the proposals.

She added: “Not taking into account economic growth, our current figure is 419 and when an uplift for economic growth based on locally gathered evidence is applied we reach 669.

“Because our baseline figure, 419, is so close to the proposed figure and our approach to economic factors is supported by the proposals, we are proceeding as scheduled with our Local Plan.”

For residents concerned over the Local Plan in Harrogate the response is worrying, with some calling for more evidence to be put forward for the council’s economic case.

A spokesperson from Harlow and Pannal Ash Residents Association said “As the figures have fluctuated so much over recent years we fully support the proposal for a standard methodology in calculating housing numbers that will prevent this uncertainty in the future.

"We have raised concerns previously that the proposed numbers seem high and our members have sought justification on the housing need for the area. The base numbers seem much more realistic but we are concerned at the high numbers still being proposed due to potential economic growth that the council are including and have requested the detailed evidence to support this.

Those campaigning against against a potential 3,000 homes in Green Hammerton have voiced their own disappointment at the council’s stance on the figures.

Christopher Chelton of Keep Green Hammerton Green said: “They are choosing to disregard the consultation and that is bitterly disappointing to us, we are asking Harrogate Borough Council to reassess the numbers and demonstrate where these economic growth sites are located.”

He added: "We see former industrial sites across the district being given over to more and more housing. Planners need to show a clear correlation between job creation and the mass house buildings that is taking place, not only in the proposal for a large new town, but in many parts of the district.