A campaign group has come together in Green Hammerton, opposing the development of around 3,000 houses on their doorstep.
They groups say that it will destroy areas of prime agricultural land. The current applications, totalling 110 houses, would already increase the size of the village by 72% and the area lacks the necessary infrastructure to support.
They say they have been left shocked and outraged that Harrogate Borough Council has recommended the village as the preferred site for a new settlement.
Harrogate Borough Council held a six week consultation on its draft local plan between 11 November and 23 December 2016.
The draft local plan includes:
- Policies to guide development
- Sites for new homes and jobs
- Options for a new settlement for the district
- Allocations for Local Green Space
- Development limits for settlements
The plan has identified areas of expanded settlement in Flaxby, Green Hammerton, Kirk Hammerton and Cattal – with a total of 2,774 houses in around 220 acres. There are also other smaller areas of development in the area identified.
See this link for the Cattal proposal New Village Plans Launched Around Cattal Railway Station
See this link for the Flaxby proposal Developers Increase Plans For Flaxby Park From 1,500 To 2,750 Homes
The residents of Green Hammerton residents say they are poised to challenge the recommendation and have formed an action group, “Keep Green Hammerton Green”
Chair of the action group Chris Chelton: We are baffled and very angry that the village has been recommended by the Council as a suitable site when there are clearly more suitable sites locally – there’s no infrastructure, poor transport links and an already very busy A59 plus it would mean the destruction of prime green field agricultural land altering our village and close community irrevocably.
Given the other possible site at Flaxby is an ideal location, the Council’s recommendation doesn’t make sense.
See this link for the land proposed for new settlement New settlement options
This settlement option – named ‘Great Hammerton’ – is designed to totally integrate the new settlement with the existing community, the only new settlement option to do so.
The action group has concerns that the developer, Commercial Estate Group, has not considered existing facilities, and that they already have a lengthy waiting lists at the doctors’ surgery and an over-subscribed village school. Villagers say they are very concerned that developers will prioritise houses over infrastructure with no pressure to build new facilities.
Developer’s proposals also include the potential for downgrading the A59 through Green Hammerton, rerouting traffic onto a new bypass road, as well as longer term aspirations to consolidate and relocate the stations to an improved location with park and ride facilities.
Aside from highlighting reasons why Green Hammerton is not a suitable site, the Keep Green Hammerton Green action group will also be petitioning that the option at Flaxby is ideal on the basis that it’s not agricultural land being a former golf course.
The villagers will be appealing for common sense to prevail when the Council considers the plans in June.
Chris Chelton said: We are also very annoyed at the stealth of this – there was not proper consultation with villagers. Clearly the Council think we are the line of least resistance but we will prove them wrong and are prepared to fight.
We believe this 3000 house settlement is a political hot potato that is being shunted onto us to save face despite compelling powerful arguments against it being here and equally compelling arguments for the Flaxby option. It’s a nonsensical decision to recommend our location.
The Green Hammerton action group is also fighting a smaller development Green Hill, a possible 90 houses on prime agricultural land.
Chris Chelton said: Our lovely village, with its rich heritage and close community is under attack – we currently have 272 houses and a population of 640 with very limited infrastructure.
86 houses are currently being built despite strong protests and two other applications of 90 and 20 houses if approved would increase the size of the village by 72%.
Although the area was identified during the Local Plan process, further rounds of public consultation will be undertaken from summer 2017 onwards – Harrogate Borough Council has not yet made a formal decision regarding allocation of the site.
Nigel Avison, Director of Economy and Culture said: No recommendation has yet been made nor a decision taken.
Council members are attending the latest members’ Local Plan update this evening (1 June 2017) which will include the most up-to-date information regarding new settlement options.
It would be inappropriate to comment further ahead of that briefing.
A statement with an update about this issue, Local Plan time-frames and opportunities for consultation will be issued on Friday 2 June following the Council Member briefing.
Steve McBurney Head of Planning North at CEG explained: Our vision is to create a sustainable mixed-use community, providing characterful new homes and facilities in a way that respects the local setting and, if this site is allocated by Harrogate Borough Council, we would work closely and consult extensively with the Local Authorities, Parish Councils, consultees and local community to masterplan a very special place which people can be proud of.
We believe that this is the most sustainable solution to meeting housing needs from day one, as it makes use of existing infrastructure, such as the two railway stations which are within walking distance.
The development would also provide the full range of infrastructure, facilities and services required to support the new community, such as new roads, public transport, schools, healthcare, leisure and recreation, new woodland planting and landscaping, parks, a village green, walking and cycling routes and improvements to the existing highway network.
The proposals would be carefully designed to respect the historic core and character of Green Hammerton, protecting existing landscaping and hedgerows and incorporating new parkland and planting.