Nearly 100 villagers from Green Hammerton and Kirk Hammerton gathered outside Harrogate Borough Council’s offices on Wednesday (19 July 2017) to protest against potential plans for building 3000 houses – the size of a town such as Tadcaster – on prime agricultural land in an area that has poor transport links and no nearby jobs.
The action group Keep Green Hammerton Green is baffled that the Council has recommended this as the preferred site, given that the Flaxby Park option 3 miles away, a former golf course and hotel site, in effect a brown field site, has nearby employment with the creation of a new business park supporting 3000 jobs plus the necessary infrastructure.
Chris Chelton had submitted the following question to the Council:
How can the Council reassure the residents of Green and Kirk Hammerton villages that the recommendation for the ‘Great Hammerton’ site is not being driven by the flawed calculation of a higher Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) income to HBC, rather than the wealth of good planning reasons for choosing Flaxby Park?
The calculations for CIL involves estimating the value of new properties for the ‘Great Hammerton’ site versus those at Flaxby; the Council in their report however used prices from the east side of Knaresborough – considerably lower than Green Hammerton – to value the houses at Flaxby Park, which skewered the figures very much in favour of Flaxby. Replying to this was Rebecca Burnett, the cabinet member for Planning who dismissed the importance of the Community infrastructure levy, i.e. the amount of money HBC will get from the developers towards facilities and services.
We are not satisfied with her response; she has dismissed the CIL as not a key factor of her decision or recommendations but in fact it is a key element of one of two reports on which the planning policy team are basing their recommendations.