Yoga centre plans in Harrogate face opposition from Duchy Residents Association

Letters in favor of the application now number over 100
Letters in favor of the application now number over 100

Support is growing for a Harrogate Yoga and Pilates studio's application to extend opening hours and hold garden sessions as it faces opposition from nearby residents, including the Duchy Residents Association.

The Yorkshire Wellbeing Centre, located on Duchy Road, could see changes including an increase in operating hours and holding outdoor sessions in the predominately residential conservation area. The length and number of weekend retreats would also grow if successful.

Letters in favour of the application now number over 100, the majority describing the positive influence the centre's classes have had on their lives.

However the first written response to the plans, which include allowing classes to be held between 9.10 am and 20.45 pm, from the Duchy Resident's Association raises objections over the business's plans.

Chairman Richard Thomas, said: "We see ourselves as people who regard the Duchy state as a rather unique residential area that was carefully arranged.

"Therefore to ensure the tranquility of the area is maintained we do not wish there to be any increase of commercial activity here.

He added: "It's an end of terrace property, so it is fairly close to the others and it is not a detached house.

"There is nothing wrong with the activities themselves but to do them in the garden is not appropriate, residents should not have to be affected by them."

Mr Thomas also highlighted the association's concern over the perceived level of traffic generated by classes and retreats at the centre as part of their reason for objecting to the plans.

The Centre originally received permission to be established in 2002, a basement and storerooms being transformed into a pilates studio, under the condition it operated 6 day time sessions and 2 evening sessions per week. This later extended to eight day time sessions after successfully appealing rejected attempts at increasing these sessions.

Owners Christopher and Anne-Marie Burford claim the centre rarely has more than 14 participants, the annual average standing at seven to eight. On their application they suggest this has enabled them to provide additional support to users.

Anne-Marie Burford said: "...The level of support speaks for itself with around 120 letters of support submitted and only nine against. Supporters include those living on the Duchy, both class members and non class members.

"Many letters of support speak of the positive difference the Yorkshire Centre for Wellbeing makes to their lives and their anxiety over any future limitations on access to the Centre. All letters are available to be viewed on the Harrogate Borough Council website.”

Among the letters of support are claims the application should be approved as the impact on the area so far by the centre has been minimal.

Miss Sarah Davies said: "I would like to fully support this application. I have been attending classes for 15 years and believe the centre and the work that Anne-Marie and James do to be unique in the Harrogate area. In all those years, I have never seen any disturbance to the area.

"As others have pointed out ,any traffic and parking problems are far more likely to be related to the local schools and nursery as evidenced by far less cars on Duchy road during school holidays.

"The classes themselves at the centre are small and quiet in their nature . It provides a haven of tranquility in many peoples busy lives ,including my own."