The land, which is owned by Harrogate Borough Council, is currently leased on a year by year basis to a local farmer.
In November 2013 the site was identified in the Sites and Policies Development Plan Document (DPD) as being suitable for sports and recreation development. Following the withdrawal of the DPD in June this year, a decision needed to be made as to whether plans for the proposed use of the site could be progressed independently of the Local Plan process.
At Cabinet, members voted in favour of undertaking work to enable the site to be developed for community use rather than it being considered part of the wider Local Plan preparation.
The decision will help address the community sports need identified in the council’s Outdoor Sports Strategy which was published in April 2013 and revealed that a number of football clubs in Harrogate lacked a home base, resulting in their dispersal across town. The strategy also highlighted the increasing number of people wanting to play sport in Harrogate and the need for land to be allocated for this specific use.
Councillor Pat Jones, Cabinet Member for Culture, Tourism and Sports said: More and more people in Harrogate are wishing to play sport, and if we are wanting to meet demand we need to ensure we have enough outdoor sporting facilities available. The decision we have made will help tackle this problem.
There is clearly strong local support for the proposed use of the site and we have received interest from sports clubs to release this site for their requirements. Further work, which will include choosing a partner to develop this proposal, will need to be undertaken before the site will be available for community use and the first ball is kicked in a competitive match.