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'The village is in danger of losing its identity' - Blow for Hampsthwaite villagers fighting wave of housing developments

Hampsthwaite Action Group members.
Hampsthwaite Action Group members.

Campaigners battling a wave of housing developments in Hampsthwaite fear their village is “in danger of losing its identity,” with plans for up to 39 homes being given outline planning permission on Tuesday.

A speaker from Hampsthwaite Parish Council said the village is “completely under siege” from the number of planning applications submitted for housing developments, and joined other residents in objecting to the latest plans for Brookfield Garth.

But despite their sea of placards and intensive campaigning strategy, the application from Stonebridge Homes to build up to 39 homes was backed by Harrogate Borough Council’s (HBC) planning committee - 11 votes for, 2 votes against, and one abstention.

The parish council spokesperson said: “Hampsthwaite appears to be targeted by developers. It is important that councillors consider the cumulative effect of what is happening here, and how the village is in danger of losing its identity.

“Residents have become disenfranchised because they don’t feel that their voice is being heard. We do not need further houses in Hampsthwaite, the market is already saturated.”

Hampsthwaite Action Group member Katie Taylor said: “The village already has a real major issue with flooding and sewage, and the drainage strategy is not accurate or robust enough to ensure the village is not impacted further.”

But a report from HBC planning officers maintained that the development is sustainable and has “significant social benefits in contributing to the council’s housing land supply.”

Coun Nigel Simms said: “I think it’s a suitable site for dwellings, it’s one of our preferred options. It’s not excessive for the village, 39 dwellings.”

But Coun Jim Clark branded the application “opportunistic”, asking why developers submitted it before the Local Plan has been finalised.

He said: “I think it’s rather cynical to bring forward an application during the final period of time when people can put their views forward - people have got to have confidence that we will take into account their views.”

Action Group member Margaret Willis said: “We are disappointed that the planned development has been approved in spite of presenting the planning committee with a wealth of evidence to reject the proposal, but with up to four more contentious development sites in the village, we are determined to continue the fight.”