Letter: Housing

The Otley Road area of Harrogate. 091029GS3y.
The Otley Road area of Harrogate. 091029GS3y.

I write on behalf of the Harlow and Pannal Ash Residents Association to raise awareness that there has now been a planning application submitted for 450 new dwellings on Otley Road on the land between Cardale Park Industrial Estate and Beckwithshaw.

Although the present draft Local Plan does include this site as a possible area for housing development, the Plan is not yet ratified and is still subject to a Planning Inspectorate process which will not be completed until the summer of 2014. We therefore regard the planning application as premature and contrary to the existing planning policies of building outside the present town development limits and building on Special Landscape Areas.

The Residents Association has long argued that there is a fundamental problem with the planning process in Harrogate that developed the Core Strategy and Local Development Plan in that proposed housing sites should have been sought next to where we have already good road and rail links in place and where other elements of infrastructure such as schools, doctors, dentists, post office, supermarkets, and petrol stations are also present. Instead we have a plan largely dictated by where developers want to build. Therefore, because residents in the west of Harrogate need to travel some distance to all these facilities, building in the west of Harrogate will further increase traffic congestion for the whole of the town. This is therefore a town-wide problem.

There are now three major sites which have a planning application pending with all three developers trying to take advantage of the fact that Harrogate does not have a five year supply of housing land and are attempting to circumvent the democratic planning process, to say nothing of the cost to the taxpayer of producing all the local plans we have seen over the last 10 years. These sites at Skipton Road, Penny Pot Lane and Otley Road, lie to the west of Harrogate where very little of the infrastructure mentioned above exists. Primary and secondary schools in the area are already heavily oversubscribed. People who want to avail themselves of these services and commuters to Leeds, Bradford and York will have to drive through the town or use the country rat runs to get to their destinations.

Fortunately, local people will have a chance to express their views by commenting on the planning website under the reference 13/02786/EIAMAJ entitled “Land Adjacent to Otley Road, Howhill Road and Beckwith Head Road, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG3 1QL” before the deadline of August 29.

I urge your readers to take an active part in getting this planning application rejected for all the reasons mentioned above.

Murray Trantor

Chairman of Harlow and

Pannal Ash Residents