It appears that when Harrogate Borough Council’s planning department asks for comments on proposed developments, the views of those commenting are ignored and those developing a site can start work, even before their application has even been considered.
Last year Harrogate College decided to close one of their two buildings and centre all of their classes in the one remaining. To do this they sought, and gained, permission to build additional classroom places on the remaining site.
There were plenty of objections, mainly from businesses and residents from nearby streets. The majority of these highlighted the fact that the new classrooms were reducing the amount of parking spaces at the college, thus increasing student (and rail users) using the area around the college as a car park. In spite of these objections, permission was granted.
Now we come to the latest Harrogate College planning application. This is for, among other things, some 89 new houses on the land adjoining the college. I have no objection to new houses being built - as the population expands they need to live somewhere.
However, what I do object to is the fact that no consideration is given to the affect it will have on the surrounding area.
Beachwood Grove, which is a cul-de-sac with a school at its end, already suffers from being used as an all-day car park. With the new classrooms opening this coming term, there will be even more pupils looking for parking spaces on this and adjoining roads.
I am concerned that there is now a real likelihood of a serious accident waiting to happen to a child on their way to and from this school.
This because residents are unable to enter/exit their property safely, as all day parkers, together with parents looking to drop off/pick up their children, make it almost impossible to see the road and pedestrians.
Another problem with Beechwood Grove is that school coaches have to reverse up it, as there is nowhere to turn round.
Now to my point about work starting on site before planning permission is given. I see an electric sub-station has just been built on site, no doubt to service the c89 proposed properties. I have also seen Yorkshire Water undertaking major work around the site.
So planners, how about a bit of thought for the area surrounding the proposed development.
The biggest problem, already being experienced, is the lack of parking for students and rail users. So why not use the strip of land (owned by the college) opposite the Premier Inn as overspill parking for both the college and railway users.
It has the advantage of being off a dual carriageway, thus making it easy to enter/exit without inconveniencing other traffic.
While on the subject of this new housing estate, I notice that the only access is from a point on Hookstone Road which is already at a standstill at peak times.
I suppose we can expect yet another set of traffic lights to add even further delays on this busy road.