The local plan is the most significant development in the local economy and housing.
In 2014, the Secretary Of State Inspector Raised Concerns Over The Harrogate Local Plan For Land Development.
The process was started again in 2015 and options were considered of a new settlement, develop urban areas or expand villages in the district. Following a public consultation, it was concluded that a combination of all these options was needed.
Councillor Rebecca Burnett, cabinet member with responsibility for planning, said:
Our ambition is to have a much more settled work force with the option of living and working in Harrogate or the wider district.
We need to boost the supply of local houses and raise the value of local jobs – in simple terms many just don’t earn enough to live in Harrogate.
Harrogate has a predominantly low-paid workforce in comparison to the cost of housing.
Although the Harrogate District is being told to build more houses, the overall objective is much more than just new buildings, it’s more about the future sustainability of the district.
A portfolio of possible land for development has been identified across the district, each proposal receiving support and opposition.
The proposal to build thousands of new homes in one new settlement is always likely to be controversial and Green Hammrton has had an action group working to oppose the development.
New settlement option
Harrogate Borough Council has said that it will support a single new settlement and have said that will be a settlement in the Green Hammerton / Cattal area or around 3,000 homes, just over 1000 of which will be built before 2035.
The site at Flaxby has a developer proposal of 3,000 homes on the former golf course site. Since this is not now the allocated settlement site, a planning application has recently been submitted.
Rebecca Burnett said:
Developing a large settlement great concerns from many and I would in no-way want to play down those concerns.
As an authority though, we do believe that a new settlement needs to be part of the solution. We are by no means standing still and are looking to address every issue, at every turn checking if we have it right.
Support and opposition for the plan
In some areas there has been opposition to the development of urban areas, but there has also been support where local people have seen local services close.
Green Hammerton has a very active opposition for the development and the proposed development at Flaxby has engaged with local people with comparably little opposition.
What if the Harrogate District fails to submit a local plan ?
The Secretary of State made warnings that they would intervene and that is what they have done in 15 local authorities, including York. It is not currently clear what this now means for those local authorities, but it creates a big unknown.
What happens next ?
On the 13 December 2017, Harrogate Borough Council Full Council will vote on the plan before a further public consultation in January.
It will then be submitted to government for examination by an independent inspector.
Once submitted to the independent inspector there is still opportunity for the public to support or oppose the plans.