Following the meeting of 16 Councillors last night to discuss the draft Local Plan (16 November 2017) and their recommendation of locating the proposed 3000 new houses in an amalgamation of aspects of both the so-called ‘Great Hammerton’ and the Maltkiln options, chair of Keep Green Hammerton Green Chris Chelton has responded against the proposal.
the flawed reasoning still being promoted despite evidence against the suitability of the location of this new settlement.
Keep Green Hammerton Green Chris Chelton, said:
Whilst some of the 16 councillors asked probing questions and clearly recognised the shortfalls of the original ‘Great Hammerton’ plan, what has become obvious is that Harrogate Borough Council is determined to drive forward the Green Hammerton plan to avoid intervention by central government, regardless of how unsound the plan is or the consequences for the community.
Given that rail is so key to the Green Hammerton site selection it is appalling that the transport planning officer could only say they were ‘monitoring the situation’ with Network Rail over vital rail infrastructure improvements, when asked for details of his recommendation.
We are very disappointed and baffled at this recommendation which is not sustainable nor suitable for the area and local communities nearby; the inclusion of elements of the Maltkiln proposal has added confusion and seems to indicate a lack of clarity about what the Council does actually want and where.
Such uncertainty and a lack of a firm recommendation speak of similar uncertainty and an inability to grip the issues at stake here by the planners. More than ever, it reiterates the need for an independent review by the Planning Inspector, free of any local or political influences.
We have evidence that negates the key points why the Council is recommending the site such as their viewing the railway as a key advantage yet Network Rail has queried the validity of it. The combination of building on prime agricultural land, poor transport links and no nearby jobs makes this latest proposal the worst possible choice; even the expense of piping electric and gas supplies to this site and the necessity to update the A59 to cope with increased traffic – an estimated £20milion – has not been budgeted for.
A decision of this magnitude needs to be robust and the Council is disregarding the huge outcry of public opinion as well as third party advice against choosing to build 3000 houses here. We hope that when it goes before the full Council for ratification on 13th December they will recognise the absurdity of recommending this location, especially when if there is a need to build a new settlement, there is a far more suitable site nearby at Flaxby Park that has existing infrastructure, employment opportunities within walking distance and the land is already owned by the developers who have applied for planning permission to build 3000 houses yet which the Council and a majority of councillors are disregarding.