Planning permission has eventually been granted by Harrogate Borough Council (HBC) for the demolition of the Drovers Inn and redevelopment of the site.
The approved scheme involves the erection of a 9,000 sq ft dwelling including indoor pool, gym and media room along with games room, guest suite, stables and garaging.
The permission follows protracted efforts by the owner, Tim Snowden, to find an alternative use for the site which has been empty for over 7 years with successive landlords failing to make the pub a viable business. The site became a focus for vandalism and was also ravaged by fire in November last year.
HBC Planning Officers objected to the scheme but Members of the Planning Committee strongly supported the proposals as it provided a notable enhancement in this location both in terms of highway safety and the appearance of the site. The proposals would help to substantially improve driver visibility along the main Ripley to Sawley road.
The permission has not come without a hard battle with the planners, even after the Planning Committee approving the application, with Officers not issuing the decision and Mr Snowden having to enter into a legal tangle with the authority regarding how the provision of an offsite affordable dwelling would be secured – a requirement of the planning permission.
The local authority finally saw sense with legal officers accepting that the permission could be issued with a suitable planning condition.
David Boulton, Partner at Carter Jonas in Harrogate, who acted on behalf of Mr Snowden said:
We are delighted that this protracted episode is over and the site can be given a new lease of life. Mr Snowden has pursued this project with a passion and we were able to convince the authority that what we were proposing was beneficial both for the site and the wider community – a win-win situation which is what planning should be all about.
The proposals were supported by local councillors and the community who also played their part in achieving success on this site and influencing positive change in their area, despite the reservations of the planners, enabling an improvement to their local environment.
Following a string of unsuccessful applications to redevelop the site, Tim Snowden is set to donate £2,000 to Carter Jonas’s chosen charity, as promised during the application process if the property consultant succeeded in obtaining planning permission. A decision upon who will be the lucky recipients is to be announced in the coming weeks.