: Waiting for next track...

: Waiting for next track...

Harrogate's draft Local Plan to be submitted by the end of the week

Harrogate's draft Local Plan to be submitted by the end of the week

Published by The Stray FM News Team at 7:29am 29th August 2018. (Updated at 7:34am 29th August 2018)

Harrogate Borough Council has confirmed it will submit its long awaited draft Local Plan by the end of the week.

It follows calls from campaigners who want the plan put before the Secretary of State so it can be independently scrutinised.

The document will be vital in determining how future developments are carried out in the Harrogate District and maps out where houses should be built, jobs created and what infrastructure is needed.

Once submitted to the Secretary of State, an independent Planning Inspector will then be appointed to consider all the evidence and have the final say.

Cabinet Member for Planning, Councillor Rebecca Burnett, told Stray FM: "It will be submitted this week, before the end of the month, so we're hoping to have it before the Inspectorate by Friday."

PICTURED: CGI image showing plans for Flaxby Park, which campaigners want the council to consider

The plan proposes land be made available for up to 3000 new homes east of Harrogate, near the villages of Green Hammerton and Kirk Hammerton.

But campaigners in both villages have argued a development would be better placed on land at Flaxby's disused golf course, next to the A1.

Chris Eaton, co-chair of the Keep The Hammertons Green Action Groups, said:

"Our Action Groups are ready to challenge the draft Local Plan at the Examination in Public because the proposed broad location of the new settlement, somewhere in Green Hammerton or Cattal, is not right and the process to select this area was deeply flawed.

"Plus, the proposal to build the development on Flaxby's disused golf course, next to the A1, has been overlooked.

"Flaxby is, to any right thinking person, a better site on all grounds."

Keep Green Hammerton Green protest
Campaigners urging Harrogate Borough Council to 'Keep Green Hammerton Green'

Last week, the group wrote to councillors urging them to suspend consideration of any new town on open farmland until the draft local plan is finalised.

They've criticised a 'vaccum' in the planning system, which has seen outline applications put forward by developers before the final version of the plan has been agreed.

Councillor Burnett admitted it had caused some conflict, but said the process was moving forward. She said:

"The closer we get to having the plan submitted, then examined, then adopted, the stronger it becomes.

"In this intervening period it has always been a draft policy and that has created some tension.

"There is only a certain amount of weight that can be given to it when determining planning applications.

"Yes, there is an element of conflict, but as we progress further the Plan gains strength and we begin to be able to take it into account.

"We'll only be fully able to do that once its adopted which will be towards the beginning of next year."

Councillor Burnett accepted that the Plan wouldn't be well received by everyone, but urged residents to keep contributing to the process. She added:

"Clearly there are going to be a lot of people out there who disagree with it and what we've been saying to them is that if they contribute to our process then their voice will be heard.

"If they're still unhappy with what the council has done then they need to keep speaking to us and because of that the Inspector will hear their voice too."

It leaves campaigners, like Chris, waiting for the next stage to begin and he says they intend to keep up the pressure. He said:

"Our objections to this application and the choice of this area as the broad location for growth defined in the Harrogate Draft Local Plan under Policy DH4 are compelling and sound.

"The Local Plan is a major burden for the residents living in villages along the A59 corridor to the west of York, and we think the time has come to submit it to the Secretary of State and move the process on to a public examination."

"We re-state our objection to the choice of this area but, if it is to be done, at least let it be done in the context of a properly tested and agreed Plan."

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