Villagers challenge Harrogate's new housing targets

Villagers against new housing in Hampsthwaite are complaining that the new Local Plan has been presented with a fait accomplis as they have been advised that there is no alternative other than to accept or reject the draft plan

Tuesday, 14th November 2017, 3:15 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 8:09 am
Campaigners from Hampsthwaite Action Group outside the offices of Harrogate Borough Council.

Members of Hampsthwaite Action Group worried about their village being 'swamped' by new housing firmly reject Harrogate Borough Council's argument that to say 'no' to the new version of the plan “would mean that the council would not be able to demonstrate that it had an up to date development plan; reducing the ability of the council to manage future development in the dfistrict.”And members are intending to lobby councillors and raise their suggestions at council meetings scheduled this week to discuss the Local Plan.The village's campaigners are urging councillors to explore what they say would be a better alternative option. They say councillors could agree to a short delay to the adoption of the Local Plan to ensure that the proposed housing figures align with the newly-emerging Government policy on standardising housing assessment. As the Harrogate Advertiser recently reported government proposals, due to be published in March 2018, indicate a much lower level of housing need in the Harrogate district than that currently being proposed by Harrogate Council.HAG spokesperson, Grant Blakemore said he hoped Harrogate councillors would welcome the opportunity to review the housing need figures.He said: "These figures have been all over the place in recent years and a standardised formula would go someway to restore confidence in the numbers proposed.” "Under the new government figures, the council would be able to prove that it was meeting the targets already and could, therefore, challenge contentious planning applications prior to the adoption of the plan.”Hampsthwaite Action Group says the government's new lower housing assessment for Harrogate now stands at 395 new houses per year