600 homes on Penny Pot not the right solution for the town says Councillor

12 January 2014

A planning application seeks to expand the town of Harrogate deeper into the countryside than at any time since the 1960s.

Woodard Corporation, Hallam Management Ltd and Persimmon Homes are seeking outline permission to build 600 homes, a primary school and community/retail facilities. The site will include affordable housing.

The development is near Penny Pot Lane, on the outskirts of Harrogate – west of Queen Ethelburga’s and south of the Killinghall Moor estate.

Harrogate Borough Council will consider the application at a meeting of the Planning Committee to be held at Crescent Gardens on Tuesday 14 January starting at 2pm.

Harlow Moor councillor, Don Mackenzie, has spoken out against this proposal since the application was lodged last year
Harlow Moor councillor, Don Mackenzie, has spoken out against this proposal since the application was lodged last year

Councillor Mackenzie said: In order to give the developer approval for such a measure, we need to be absolutely certain that we have the support of our residents, and that we do not force huge disadvantages on to the local and wider community by stretching the capacity of our roads and other parts of our infrastructure to breaking point.

It is my view, and that of many thousands of residents, of at least three Residents’ Associations, of the local parish council, of the Civic Society and of the police that the proposals before us today give no such certainty.

We should, therefore, reject the application.

Councillor Mackenzie believes that this creates its own micro-community outside Harrogate and has poor access over narrow and windy roads.

He also says there is little local support for the development.

The application has received 260 objections and an e-petition with 203 signatures opposing.

Councillor Mackenzie said: Having waited over 40 years for a major expansion of Harrogate’s boundaries, surely we can and should do better than this on behalf of those whom we represent? Have no lessons been learnt from the mistakes of the past?

As far as the token bus-only access to the Killinghall Moor and Jenny Fields estate is concerned, why on earth choose to create this link via Orchid Way, one of the estate’s narrowest cul-de-sacs, rather than by means of a direct link to the roundabout at the top of Jenny Field Drive, as our early 1970s planners intended. Taxpayers’ money was spent then with the view of constructing a major estate thoroughfare through to Penny Pot Lane. Instead, it ends abruptly at a large roundabout, whose size far exceeds current requirements?

Councillor Mackenzie also believes that developers are taking advantage of the lack of a local plan to push forward the plans. Councillor Mackenzie was actively involved in developing a local plan when he was leader of the Council, but now under Councillor Anthony Alton’s leadership this plan has yet to be finalised.

Councillor Mackenzie continued: The developer has brought forward this proposal ahead of the adoption of our Local Plan, clearly seeking to exploit the fact that we cannot prove a robust 5-year supply of housing land, and jumping the gun on the results of the recent public consultation on the final, key part of our Local Plan – where to locate our homes and jobs

The case officer claims that our current shortfall on a 5-year supply removes any justification for dismissing this application as “premature”. Try explaining that to our residents, who will rightly ask why a shortfall of land for 115 homes for the whole district over a 5-year period should force us into approving a scheme which is wrong for the local community and for the whole town.

The council’s supply of housing sites falls just short of the required five years as required by the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

Without a five year housing land supply the council are required to take advice contained within the NPPF, which creates a presumption in favour of sustainable development.

Government guidance however indicates that refusal on grounds of prematurity  are not normally a justifiable reason to decline planning permission.

The developer has also worked to counter some of the arguments against the development. The applicant has also created a travel plan and the developer will be required to carry out a number of improvements including traffic signals. The application also includes the creation of a bus link from the site into the Jenny Fields area. Improved cycle and pedestrian links to Killinghall Moor Country Park will also be looked at.

North Yorkshire County Council highways support the development.

Planning Officers believe that Penny Pot Lane will be able to deal with the increase in traffic.

Councillor Mackenzie is calling for Members of the Planning Committee to reject the application.

Application comments 13/00976/EIAMAJ

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