For the fourth time an application for up to 450 homes near Cardale Park on Otley Road came before the council’s planning committee. On each of the previous occasions the developer had failed to satisfy members’ concerns about traffic and the ability of the infrastructure to cope with any additional development.
This time the developer had proposed such a comprehensive package of measures to mitigate the impact of their development that advice from three separate transport professionals was that there were no reasonable grounds for refusal. One of the transport professionals was an independent consultant sought by the council to give advice specifically on this application – and even he was not able to recommend that the application was refused.
The measures proposed by the developer to mitigate the impact of any development include:
- Improvements to seven junctions on Otley Road between Beckwithshaw and the Prince of Wales roundabout
- Over 1 k of cycle route along Otley Road
- Funding to extend existing bus services into the site
- Space for a two-form entry primary school
- Contribution for primary and secondary education,
- Local convenience store as part of the development
Cllr Jim Clark, who has fought against development on this site for over 15 years, commented:
I was most disappointed with the committee’s decision and still believe that our roads cannot cope. I have long maintained that infrastructure should come before development, not the other way round.
This is not the end of our work on this issue. Only the principle of development has been approved and, although we strongly disagree with that decision, we will continue to work with residents to represent their interests. I want to see improvements to the infrastructure in our area before this development goes ahead.
Cllr Rebecca Burnett added:
We all know how bad the traffic is in Harrogate, particularly on Otley Road. But the developer only needs to ensure that their development doesn’t make it worse. They are not obliged to try and make the existing situation any better.
We need to move the debate on, so more and more we are thinking about congestion-busting measures to improve the situation on our roads. We have had some success with better bus services to the area but more needs to be done – and we will ensure that it is.