Flood of housing plans as council scrap plan

tis   Potential development land.  (110805M3a)
tis Potential development land. (110805M3a)

Developers have started to eye up more housing sites in the district, after Harrogate’s local plan was withdrawn.

Within a week of the council throwing out its local plan, two developers have come forward with plans for two large housing estates.

Bellway homes are proposing to build 220 homes off Skipton Road, on top of the 210 homes developers CEG were granted planning permission last month, and speculative developers Gladman Ltd are proposing 200 houses in agricultural land at Milby, near Boroughbridge.

Planning consultants Barton Willmore say the seven hectare site off Skipton Road had been earmarked as being suitable for housing by Harrogate Borough Council.

The council has now withdrawn its draft local plan, sites and policies DPD which had included 210 houses to the north of Skipton Road.

Coun Don Mackenzie (Con, Harlow Moor) said: “Planning permission for this number of homes was given to Commercial Estates last month, this new proposal would double the allocation.

“I am disappointed that this developer is bringing forward another substantial plan which seeks to expand the town’s boundary northwards towards Killinghall.”

He said developers should wait the estimated three years it is going to take the council to come up with a new local plan before applying.

“Such large development should have the backing of an updated local plan.”

In 2012 garden centre chain, Dobbies, had proposed to build a garden centre on the site but have said they are no longer interested in the site.

Last week (Wednesday June 19) the council voted unanimousley to withdraw the local plan, some two months after a government inspector blasted it as inadequate.

Councillors expressed concern that the district is at risk of a planning free-for-all.

Coun David Goode (Lib Dem, Knaresborough King James) said: “We already have a problem with speculative developers pouncing on Harrogate and Knaresborough to exploit the current situation. The situation will get worse.”

Conservative Coun Ivor Fox (Scriven Park) urged the cabinet to ensure the council uses its budget reserves to fight unsuitable developments. “There are developers already in this room taking notes. We need to take them on, head on, and they do not hesitate to spend, spend, spend.”

Planning committee member Coun Chris Lewis (Ind, Ouseburn) said: “There are going to be some very uncomfortable decisions and we should know which applications are worth fighting.”