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Harrogate Councillor questions how public services will cope with number of planning applications

A Harrogate county councillor is questioning how schools, health services and the roads network will cope from the pressure brought about by thousands of new houses planned from the town.

Since the district council’s Local Development Framework was thrown out by government officials, numerous areas find themselves at the mercy of developers exploiting the situation.

Despite intense opposition, the authority is powerless to stop hundreds of new houses being built along Harroagte’s Skipton Road and Otley Road, Knaresborough, Pannal, Killinghall and Hamspthwaite.

UKIP county councillor and Harrogate & Knaresborough PPC, David Simister, has now written to the heads of North Yorkshire’s highways and educations departments, plus the new chief executive of Harrogate & District NHS Foundation Trust, asking what plans are in place to cope with the pressure in services these new dwellings will bring.

County Coun Simister, who represents the Bilton & Nidd Gorge division, said: Thanks to the LDF being thrown out, it is open season as far as developers go.

New planning applications are being submitted on a weekly basis – not for small numbers of houses, but for hundreds each time.

On Skipton Road alone we have seen applications submitted for in excess of 400 homes; Claro Road is looking at more than 150 being built on the old rugby ground, 400 near the Army Foundation College and, off Otley Road, there could be well over 700 built.
The town can barely cope at the moment. Our schools, roads and health provisions are well and truly under the cosh, so how will they cope with thousands more people accessing these services day in, day out?

And, of course, there will be added cars on our roads too. Skipton Road is one of the most congested in the country, yet the county council, which is consulted on planning applications as the ‘highways authority’, says they can cope!

Their answer to a new application in Killlinghall is to put up traffic lights on the Ripon Road, which will have a massive impact on traffic heading in and out of Harrogate.

Harrogate Borough Council’s abortive LDF has cost tax payers an estimated £250,000 and for what? Whilst we do need houses, we need them in the right areas. The town simply can’t cope with the number being suggested.

Action needs to be taken now.

Before another application is granted let us look at the bigger picture – schools, healthcare and roads.

Party politics need to be put to one side and both district and county councillors need to work together for the benefit of the entire district.

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