Harrogate and Knaresborough MP, Andrew Jones, has expressed his disappointment with Harrogate BoroughCouncil’s decision not to contest the refusal of planning permission for 170 homes off Boroughbridge Road in Knaresborough.
The original application was turned down unanimously by the Council’s planning committee but the applicants, Gladman developments, decided to appeal the decision to the Planning Inspectorate. The Council has withdrawn its opposition to the proposal on the grounds that the Council has not yet identified enough land to supply the housing needed for the next five years.
The Planning Appeal will still proceed but now local residents stand alone against the applicants.
Local MP, Andrew Jones, who met with local residents opposing the application, has told the Council he thinks they have got it wrong.
Commenting Mr Jones said: This area was assessed for its potential for housing development as part of the evidence for the Council’s local plan. For many reasons it was deemed unsuitable for housing. Those reasons included the proximity to schools, bus routes and other facilities but also that housing in that area would have adverse affects on priority habitats and species. In my view, this appeal by the developer could have been successfully defended. There was evidence to back up the planning committee’s decision to refuse planning permission. That evidence could have been used at the planning inquiry. Instead, we have a position where the objectors have been left high and dry by the Council.
I have already written to the Inspector supporting the refusal of planning permission. My office has also contacted the Chief Executive and the Leader of the Council expressing my disappointment at this decision.
This was the time to take a stand – to defend the evidence base which the Council had acquired about this area’s unsuitability for housing. Going forward there will be other times when the Council should stand firm and defend its planning decisions. On this occasion, not to do so was the wrong decision.