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Protest over plans for 3,000 homes near North Yorkshire villages

Protest over plans for 3,000 homes near North Yorkshire villages

Published at 6:02am 20th July 2017. (Updated at 5:39pm 20th July 2017)

Villagers from Green Hammerton and Kirk Hammerton have held a protest over plans to build 3,000 homes on their doorstep.

Dozens of them gathered outside Harrogate Borough Council's offices ahead of a meeting on Wednesday evening.

They're arguing that the former golf course at Flaxby Park would be more suitable for new houses and say that it has a roundabout which could potentially help with increased traffic.

The campaigners have also highlighted "genuine reasons" why the development shouldn't go ahead near Green Hammerton and Kirk Hammerton.

They include the destruction of prime agricultural land, no supporting infrastructure, no local jobs and the potential problems that 6,000 more cars accessing the A59 could bring.

Chris Chelton, Chair of the Keep Green Hammerton Green action group, said: "Harrogate council planners have recommended in principle that a new business park is built opposite where Flaxby Park 'new town' would be, and if they're serious about reducing the carbon footprint, allowing people to walk and cycle to work, what better reason is there to put the houses there, close to where prospective new jobs will be.

"We accept that everywhere in the district has to have an allocation of houses, and we are certainly doing that, but of course 3,000 houses will stop Green Hammerton being a village, it will stop Kirk Hammerton being a village, we'll become a town and our identity which has existed for decades will disappear."

Green Hammerton housing protest

Villagers from Green Hammerton and Kirk Hammerton staging a protest over housing plans

Other communities are also coming together to fight housing plans across the Harrogate District.

In Hampsthwaite, residents fear that four separate developments could ruin their village.

David Collett, Chairman of Hampsthwaite Parish Council, said: "Some of these sites are just impacting upon lovely views, next to a conservation area, and there's great concern that it will destroy the character, the rural aspect of the village.

"We're talking about, if all these developments proceed, doubling the size of our current village, which really is quite horrific."

In response to the concerns raised, Harrogate Borough Council has pointed out that the new houses have to go somewhere.

Councillor Rebecca Burnett, Cabinet Member for Planning, said: "We have a significant challenge, a need to provide 669 homes per year, from now until 2035. That is down to local need for new housing to support people growing up here, wanting to live here, but also our local employers needing to employ more local people.

"There will be sites all across the district and we know that various communities are very, very strong at standing up for what they believe to be right or wrong, and that is very welcome.

"We don't expect the existing infrastructure to cope with new houses. Developers do have to provide additional infrastructure or improvements to support their development.

"Our consultation on these additional sites that we need runs until 25 August, and that includes the new settlement option, so I'm encouraging everybody to get involved with that, tell us what they think and what they believe the impact might be.

"If somebody doesn't want a site to be included, they need to be quite open in giving us an alternative to have a look at, because we do need the number of houses that we're planning for."

You can take part in the consultation here.