Harrogate Borough Council has expressed its disappointment at a developer who has jumped the gun by consulting on a major planning application in Knaresborough before the local authorities have decided where new homes should be built in the town. The council believes this will confuse local residents.
The Borough Council is required to prepare local plans which, amongst other development needs, will plan for the provision of new homes for the future. To date, the local plan has determined that Knaresborough should have 700 new homes up until 2024. What the local plan has yet to determine is where they should be built.
Councillor Alan Skidmore, Cabinet Member for Planning, Transport and Economic Development, said the council carried out a major public consultation last autumn asking communities of Harrogate, Knaresborough and Ripon where new homes should be built.
In Knaresborough the consultation sought views on using land at Manse Farm, York Road for nearly all the town’s housing requirements, as well as for new employment land.
In its response, the Town Council asked us to look at a more dispersed pattern of growth with smaller housing developments in several locations and discussions are taking place between the two councils under the new Localism Act.
The Borough Council is due to make a decision on the growth of the district’s settlements in October this year and this will be the subject of formal consultation in December when residents have a final chance to comment before it is subject to a formal public inquiry heard by a Government Planning Inspector. This means that the local plan couldn’t be adopted until early 2014.
Knaresborough Town Council is also a developing a Neighbourhood Plan which could deal with land allocations for housing and it is also likely to take up to 2014 before this plan could be adopted.
A private developer, Commercial Estates Projects Limited, acting on behalf of the landowners is currently undertaking public consultation on how the Manse Farm site could be developed. They intend to submit an outline planning application later this year.
Alan Skidmore, added:
I am disappointed that the developer has decided to go ahead with this public consultation at this time. The council’s officers have urged the developer to hold off public consultation until it had at least the chance to decide on what the local plan should look like. I am truly concerned at the confusion this will cause and any major planning application before the decision in October is clearly premature. However, if the application is submitted then the council is required to determine the application well before either a Local or Neighbourhood Plan can be adopted.