Developers met with local people to explain more about their plans for the former Flaxby golf course site, between Knaresborough and the A1. (15 August 2016)
The meeting was held in a village pub in Goldsborough and had been facilitated jointly with the Parish Council.
Ray Mallon spoke on behalf of Flaxby Park Ltd and said that the plans were now to develop 2,750 homes over a 440 acre site. Previously there were plans to develop 1,500 over a site 380 site.
Mr Mallon emphasised that the plans were in a very early stage and said that they wanted to engage properly with the public, but were unlikely to have all the answers due to that. He said that there had been initial discussions with Harrogate Bororough Council and that 1,500 would not trigger a threshold for building ancillary services, such as schools and GP’s.
There was a legal challenge on the land and now Flaxby Park Ltd say that they now own the land and also have an option to buy a further 160 acres from a local farmer, that is land adjacent and North to Flaxby Park.
The firm may submit outline planning permission, but their preferred option is to be part of the local plan with the site being designated build area for the district. This would mean that Harrogate Borough Council would consult on its use as part of the local plan development, which would likely be in place by Autumn 2018. Flaxby Park Ltd say that they have been asked to advance their proposals.
Michael Wildblood of Wildblood McDonald, Wetherby architects spoke to the room of around 100 people.
Mr Wildblood talked about the development of the site and that:
- The development was in a bowl with Flaxby being on slightly higher land
- Existing screening would be maintained, wit further added
- Build density would vary, being lighter at the periphery and denser at the centre, creating a town centre feel
- Density would range from 37 properties/ hectare in the centre to 32 properties/ hectare
- There would be 40% green space
- Plans to not build boxes, but of a good design
- The centre would see a new primary school
- There would be an area of 170 retirement 170 along with a care home
- Development of a park and ride along with a new rail stop
- Plans to work with the adjacent Allerton Park Waste Recovery site to use combined heat and power, but that needed development in how that would work
- 40% would be affordable housing
They believed that the rail link from Flaxby Park to Knarsborough would be developed to double track by 2020.
Ray Mallon spoke that because Harrogate Borough Council don’t have a local plan, it put them in a position to advance these plans, he said that they may advance an outline plan in conjunction with being part of the local plan. On being pressed by the audience, he said that it was most definitely not a “Done deal” and that there was a long road ahead.
Being questioned on the impact on the A59 by local residents, they said at the moment it queues from the Flaxby/ Goldsborough junctions to the A1 at busy times and this would make that situation even worse.
Mr Mallon said the intention was to build further roundabout at that junction, but smaller than the one already built, but he acknowledged that they currently don’t have all the answers.
Questioned on the build process, Mr Mallon said that it would be likely that there would be 2 to 3 builders working at any time, each being sold a plot of land and building to a strict design guideline.
Councillor Phil Ireland questioned if the plans were deliverable and business case. Mr Mallon didn’t have the details at the meeting, but promised to provide details if needed. He acknowledged that the development, like all building works, would be impacted by the UK economy and any recessions.
A Flaxby resident spoke that they had had enough of development in the area and didn’t want the development to happen. Mr Mallon acknowledged that when they bought their house in Faxby, they also bought a way of life and that would change with this development. He said that if he lived in Flaxby he would voicing against the development too.
The developers are engaging at a very early stage with local people and talking in a very plain manner – that this is to their credit.
A volume of houses at this level goes a long way in addressing the districts shortfall in building new houses, the question is how that balances with some of the negatives that inevitably come with all developments