Lib Dem councillors raise concerns about speculative development on green field sites

2 December 2014

Local Lib Dem councillors have said they were shocked to see yet another planning application from property speculator Gladman Developments for  Killinghall, following the proposed development of 450 homes in Ripon, and the already approved north Knaresborough development of 170 homes.

The site in Knaresborough has recently been sold on to David Wilson Homes who hope to be on site building homes in 2015.

The new Killinghall development would see 100 new homes on land east of the A61 on land near Nidd House Farm. This comes on top of a flurry of planning applications in Killinghall ward and nearby that are either in the process of pre-planning, at the application stage, or already approved.

Cllr Helen Flynn, Lib Dem HBC Group Deputy Leader, has been researching the company following a spate of communications from concerned local residents.

Speaking about Gladman Developments, Helen Flynn said:  They do not build themselves, but rather secure the land, get a planning application approved, either through planning committee or on appeal, then sell it on to the highest bidder, usually riding rough-shod over local concerns.

A Daily Mail investigation revealed that Gladman Developments, a highly successful ‘strategic land promoter’, offers farmers the chance to increase the value of their land by a multiple of 50 or 60 by transforming agricultural land into development sites.

The company is pursuing 102 planning applications for huge housing developments all over England, most of them on green field land on the edge of rural towns and villages.

The firm has a high success rate, having secured planning permission for rural sites in 41 out of its last 43 cases, usually despite substantial local opposition.

Helen Flynn added: It should be stressed that we do need more housing, especially affordable housing, and some local property development companies are taking a more responsible approach that is in accord with the Core Strategy of the Council.

However, my worry is that we are going to see more opportunistic applications put forward by companies like Gladman, and that this will contribute to urban sprawl around the main centres of the Harrogate district.

In my opinion, the sooner we can progress plans for a new town or village to take much of the strain of our housing requirement, the better.

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