The Chief Executive of Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce has given her backing to a proposed new settlement at Flaxby as the Local Plan has been progressed to the next stage.
Harrogate Borough Council has shown a preference for a development at Green Hammerton rather than Flaxby. Sandra Doherty, the Chief Executive of the Chamber, argues it is a much less sustainable option.
The plans were passed by the council at a meeting on Wednesday night and will now go out for a further round of public consultation in January.
Chief executive Sandra Doherty said:
Flaxby Park would offer the ideal solution for a new settlement to the east of Harrogate.
As well as having community facilities on site, it would offer easy access into Knaresborough and Harrogate for workers, and there is space for this development to grow in future with the planned business park on the south side of the A59. We can’t see why Green Hammerton has been put forward as the preferred option and there is no information to justify its choice over Flaxby in any of the published documents.
The developers also plan to include affordable housing – not just for start-up home owners, but for families on moderate incomes who need three and four bedroom properties at a sensible price. These are homes for local people working in our towns who want to live nearby, not to commute in from York or Leeds.
Cllr Rebecca Burnett, Cabinet Member for Planning:
At this stage in the Local Plan preparation, anyone who has outstanding comments on the plan should be preparing to send those comments to the Publication Consultation which will begin in January 2018. Whilst the Chamber’s opportunity to influence the council has passed with no response to recent Local Plan consultations, they do still have an opportunity to influence the inspector who will consider all responses made to the Publication Consultation.
I would encourage anyone who either supports or objects to all or part of the Local Plan to do the same and look out for details of the Publication Consultaiton as this is the only route through which their comments can be formally taken into account.
Development director Matt Johnson, from Flaxby Park Ltd, said:
Harrogate Borough Council is promoting a scheme that has no proven sustainability, deliverability or viability credentials. There is a huge amount of public opposition to the recommendation, and clear evidence that the new broader Green Hammerton location has not been properly or objectively considered, therefore the whole Local Plan process is at risk of legal challenge, which will ultimately delay the delivery of much-needed new homes in the area.
Chamber transport spokesman Brian Dunsby said:
We have spent many years researching the options to improve transport around the Harrogate district and there’s no question that a development at Flaxby makes the most sense in this respect.
Proper transport is essential to any business, via both road and rail. While accessing work on foot or by bicycle is an option for some employees, the reality is that very many businesses rely on using cars, vans or lorries and we have to support that with appropriate infrastructure.
The Green Hammerton development would place a huge amount of pressure on existing infrastructure, which is only designed to support a small village. By contrast, Flaxby Park would bring with it all the required facilities and connections it needs, designed and built to sustain the community from the outset.
Years of work have gone into putting forward proposals for Flaxby and, by contrast, it feels as though Green Hammerton has been pushed forward late in the day and is simply a much less suitable proposition.
The Chamber is now calling for Harrogate Borough Council to reconsider Flaxby as its preferred site for a new settlement. It has also urged residents and businesses to have their say in the next round of consultation in January, ensuring their voices are heard.