Fight to save farmland from bulldozers

Save Crimple Valley

8:23am 17th August 2017
(Updated 2:34pm 17th August 2017)

Campaigners say there are just seven days left to save the Crimple Valley near Harrogate from development.

Council planners have earmarked fields behind St Robert's Church in Pannal as a potential site for 277 houses, along with 72 more next to Spring Lane.

Opponents to the plans claim that Harrogate Borough Council is not taking into account that some of the land lies on a floodplain, along with a lack of infrastructure, the strain it would put on local primary and secondary schools or the fact that more than 100 houses have already been approved for the former Dunlopillo site.

Howard West, Chairman of Pannal and Burn Bridge Parish Council, said: "With the consultation process closing on Friday 25 August, those opposed to the allocation of this land for further housing and employment use have only a week in which to save the Crimple Valley.

"And the overwhelming response from the PC's survey of residents' views is against these proposals.

"It is vital that those who are against these plans do register their concerns and comments. If not, then I truly fear the worst for these special landscape areas.

"Pannal is a village, yet my view is the Borough Council won't be satisfied until all the green spaces that separate us from Harrogate are concreted over.

"The fields nearest to the Crimple Beck are waterlogged for much of the year, yet the planners seem blinkered to this fact and are proposing houses are sited just 8m from the river!

"The lack of a suitable road network is another issue, yet it doesn't seem to have been considered.

"Traffic from this development would have to exit the site via a bridge over the River Crimple onto the A61, as access and egress within the village of Pannal would be totally impractical, unsafe and make congestion permanent rather than mainly at peak periods.

"It would appear the concept is to build houses on one side of the A61 and then provide employment for those residents across the road, although everyone knows it doesn't work like that anymore.

"The result is likely to be a phenomenal increase in traffic along the already congested A61 and add to the daily gridlock in Pannal and Burn Bridge villages.

"Nowhere in any of the plans does the documentation mention infrastructure, in particular road traffic density, which is already more than the roads were designed for or can cope with.

"While one appreciates the need to plan for further housing in the borough of Harrogate, the latest proposals are a knee-jerk reaction to an increase in projected numbers that at best are subjective and at worst just paying lip service to an assumed general increase.

"The figures are unproven, unsafe and therefore unsound. HBC has failed to investigate other alternatives in depth, but has opted either for development on land it bought in the 1950s or via landowners wanting to make a financial killing."

Harrogate Borough Council is also encouraging everyone to comment on the proposals before it makes any decisions.

Councillor Rebecca Burnett, Cabinet Member for Planning, said: "We have to be absolutely sure that we're getting it right. The council has to submit a Local Plan and go into the formal examination believing that we've put together something that is correct and opposition to it is quite helpful.

"It's a great democratic process to have checks and balances on what we're doing. Any criticism we will have to have a look and make sure that we're getting this right, so I'd encourage as many people as possible to respond to this consultation."

Comments on the proposals can be submitted on the Harrogate Borough Council planning portal at consult.harrogate.gov.uk/portal or by sending an e-mail (including your name and postal address) to planningpolicy@harrogate.gov.uk

Pannal and Burn Bridge Parish Council has asked people to copy e-mails to parishclerk@pannalandburnbridge-pc.gov.uk

The consultation process ends at 4.30pm on Friday 25 August.

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