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Campaigners preparing final fight against Harrogate Local Plan

Campaigners preparing final fight against Harrogate Local Plan

Published by Local Democracy Reporter Jacob Webster at 1:25pm 3rd March 2020. (Updated at 8:58am 4th March 2020)

Campaigners have warned council planners to expect a barrage of tough questions when a final decision is made on Harrogate’s Local Plan.  

  • It sets out where thousands of homes and businesses are to be built in the district over the next 15 years 
  • Councillors will vote on it at a meeting today 
  • A campaign group are opposing plans for a settlement in the Hammerton and Cattal area
  • They will be at today's meeting to question the council 

The crucial blueprint – which sets out where thousands of homes and businesses are to be built in the district over the next 15 years – will go to the vote at a full council meeting on Wednesday, March 4. 

It is designed to help the borough council meet its long-term housing needs, but members of the Keep The Hammerton Green Action Group are making final preparations in their fight against it. 

The campaign group are opposing plans for a huge settlement in the Hammerton and Cattal area, arguing Flaxby Park – a disused golf course near Knaresborough and Harrogate – is a better location.   

Action group calls for public hearings on new village site
The proposed new site

 

It comes after the Local Plan, which has been six years in the making, was last month concluded to be “sound” by a government planning inspector. 

Chris Eaton, co-chair of the action group, said:

“The planning inspector who examined the plan has only said he thought the process taken in forming the Local Plan and the proposal for a new settlement as part of that was sound. 

“He felt the issue of its location was a matter for council planners judgement, and we believe there are still enough concerns about that decision for the full council to reject a new town of this size, even at this late stage.”

The council previously said adopting the plan will provide a “clear and robust framework for development in the future.”

But the campaigners said their questions will raise “major concerns” about the environmental impact of huge building sites and the council’s housing targets. 

Mr Eaton said:

“An oversupply of sites is common to most local plans to ensure enough houses are actually built. But that buffer is usually no more than 15 per cent above what is actually needed. The council is putting forward a 25 per cent oversupply, much more than is needed. 

“The new settlement is the most contentious and damaging part of the plan and could be dropped without compromising its aims.”

A Harrogate Borough Council spokesman said:

“Financial beneficiaries from the proposed new settlement location have not played any factor in the preparation of the Local Plan. What has been taken into account is clearly detailed in evidence presented to the independent inspector who has judged the Local Plan as sound.

"Adopting it will provide a clear and robust framework for development in the future. It will ensure we are able to proactively achieve sustainable growth, deliver infrastructure and protect and enhance the natural environment. The new settlement is a key part of the plan’s growth strategy.”