Developers threaten appeal inquiry after Bellman Walk refusal

Bellman Walk application (s)
Bellman Walk application (s)

The debacle over plans for 150 new homes near Bellman Walk continues after the planning committee rejected the application.

Despite Harrogate Borough Council’s own planning officials recommending approval, arguments from campaign groups and councillors swayed the voting.

However, amid legal concerns, the impasse has now prompted HBC’s principal legal officer to send the application to the local authority’s Planning Referral Committee.

Local residents turned up in force to oppose the application from Lands Improvements, with Ripon councillors Peter Horton and Lynette Barnes raising their concerns about its potential impact.

Both councillors rejected claims made by the developer that the city was in dire need of housing, with access to the site and traffic concerns featuring prominently in Coun Horton’s speech.

He said: “The application is outside the development boundary lines and the only access road is through a residential estate.

“There will also be possibly an extra 300 cars and the proposed bus service will find it difficult to navigate with these cars parked along the way.”

Coun Barnes described the plans as an ‘opportunistic planning application’, while praising the work and research done by local residents opposing the development.

She said: “The neighbourhood plan gives local people a great say in the planning process and I have never come across such objection to one application.

“The residents have raised a number of issues and they feel that they have not been addressed in the planning report.

“They feel that there has been too much reliance on the report that has been obtained from the developers but the residents have used their own professional and local knowledge.”

Concerns over the development’s impact on drainage, flooding, highways and schools were all raised by campaigners during the meeting as councillors voted by 10-2, with two abstentions, to reject the proposal.

Aoife Conacur, planning manager at Lands Improvement admitted the company were ‘disappointed’ by the Committee’s decision but said they were stil hopeful of getting the plans approved.

She said: “Demand for new family homes in Ripon is outstripping supply, which is pushing up prices and making affordability difficult.

“We hope that, when the committee reconsiders its decision at the referral meeting later this month, they will reach a different conclusion.

“We firmly believe that Laver Riverside is a great development in a sustainable location and we will pursue this through an appeal inquiry if the Council are unwilling to support our application.”

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