Flaxby Park, Knaresborough North Yorkshire

Flaxby Park Developers call for independent review of new settlement location

23 April 2019

After Harrogate Borough Council was instructed to review its choice of location for a major new settlement, the developer behind plans for Flaxby Park is calling on the council to make its reassessment independent, fair and transparent.

  • Under Harrogate Council’s draft Local Plan, thousands of homes could be built around Green Hammerton and the A59 would also have to be re-routed
  • Independent government inspector Richard Schofield, who is tasked with examining the council’s proposals, has now asked for the locations to be reviewed

Flaxby Park Ltd, which plans to transform Flaxby’s disused golf course into a new sustainable village community, now says this must be done independently, rather than using the council’s own staff to attempt it again.

Chris Musgrave, from Flaxby Park Ltd, said:

We have consistently argued that the council favouring Green Hammerton as the location for a new settlement, at the expense of Flaxby Park, is based on flawed and inaccurate information.

The inspector has listened carefully to all of the arguments at the recent Examination in Public and clearly has serious concerns in relation to the selection process, hence his request for the council to reassess the Green Hammerton and Flaxby sites.

I welcome the inspector’s intervention, which in my view, supports the argument we have put to the council for the past 18 months. We don’t want favours, we just want fairness, and that’s exactly what we now hope to see.

Indeed, the inspector clearly has concerns or he wouldn’t have asked for the sites to be reassessed. However, if the council is doing the assessment again, they will in theory be critiquing their own work, after they have already publicly stated in the Examination that their opinion about the broad location won’t change.

I am therefore writing to Wallace Sampson, the Chief Executive of the council to request that he appoints an independent third party, with no connection to the council to perform the review. This will ensure that a fair, impartial and transparent review occurs, which will consider all the information, so it can be accurately weighted and scored.

I believe that if such a process occurs, then Flaxby Park will come out on top, due to the compelling evidence to support a new settlement on the site.

In his letter to the council, independent government inspector Richard Schofield, said:

Having considered the submissions from Flaxby Park and Keep The Hammertons Green … it seems to me that the issue of whether additional sustainability appraisal work in relation to broad locations for growth for a new settlement is needed is finely balanced. This being so, I consider that it would be sensible for the council to undertake additional work in this regard.


Councillor Rebecca Burnett, cabinet member for planning, said:

The Inspector has asked us to undertake further sustainability appraisal work to assess broad locations around each of the proposed potential new settlement sites.

We’ve confirmed in writing to Flaxby Park that we will approach this work with an open mind and will respond to the outcome should it indicate a different approach.

We are not intending to use consultants to undertake the work but we do have a legal team in place who will be providing legal oversight of the process.


Flaxby Park
Flaxby Park

Flaxby Park Ltd is owned by Dame Ann Gloag OBE, Chris Musgrave and Trevor Cartner. The company purchased the disused golf course in 2016.

A submitted planning application for Flaxby Park is currently available to view on Harrogate Borough Council’s website. It includes 2,750 high quality homes, a retirement village, two primary schools, a GP surgery, sports facilities and a new village centre.

More than 50% of the site will consist of green open space and as part of the scheme, Goldsborough Railway Station will be reopened as a new park and ride station, called Flaxby Parkway Station.



  1. What an awful thought ! When everyone lives here it won’t be a place worth living in anymore. I detest property developers !

    • Clive, I think it’s worth noting that Mrs. Cloag “…has attempted to block off private access at Kinfauns in a high-profile case. On 12 June 2007 she was successful in gaining a court ruling that she was legally entitled to bar the public from a swath of woodland in the grounds of Kinfauns Castle.” (Wikipedia) In other words, she’s happy to cram people into tiny attached homes or homes with postage stamp gardens, as long as she can have her castle and her privacy. I suspect that the profiles for Musgrave and Cartner, are similar. Do these people not read history? Have they not heard of the French Revolution?

  2. The Flaxby Park developer has zero powers to establish any local authority schools or any rail station. To include these in its development proposals is fundamentally dishonest and designed to mislead the public. The effect of a large settlement at Flaxby wi be to create additional pressures on local schools and increase traffic congestion through an increase in the number of cars travelling on the A59 to access services in Knaresborough and Harrogate

  3. If developers were interested in building affordable, functional, homes for people that were spacious and of good quality; that included well-planned and planted green space, and were located in areas that had an infrastructure in place – where people could live, work, or easily commute, that would be one thing. But they’re not interested in that at all. Developers are interested in cramming as much cheap and ugly housing onto a site as they possibly can, in order to maximise their profits. This isn’t about providing homes for people so that they can put down roots and build their lives, this is about making money. And that is the sad fact. Additionally, much of this money comes from overseas and those investors want their profits. They’re not affected by the congestion, the assault on the environment, or the quality of life of the people who already live in these areas, or, indeed, the people who will struggle to buy their homes. This is insulting, and, when our councils support this raping and ravaging of the land with no thought to the consequences, then they’re adding injury to that insult. They should be utterly ashamed of themselves. And, frankly, we should not stand for it. We all deserve better, including those who need housing.

  4. I totally agree with the need for the review to be carried out by an independent reviewer as Harrogate Borough Council have shown themselves to be incapable of making an unbiased and educated decision. This was demonstrated during the CEG (one of several developers targeting Green Hammerton) presentation in Green Hammerton when a resident asked a Member of HBC’s planning department why they favour Green Hammerton over Flaxby. The reply was because “Green Hammerton is closer to the A1 than Flaxby”. For some that may not know as Harrogate Borough Council Planning department clearly does not, Green Hammerton is 3 miles from the A1, Flaxby is so close to the A1 that when it was a golf course I’m sure a few golf balls landed on the motorway. Therefore excuse me If I don’t trust HBC’s Planning department’s ability to make an informed, unbiased, competent review.

  5. What about using the land to create a “Top golf” theme social attraction that doesnt only attract golfers but all others can be involved, a fun place to go no matter what age, gender, etc.
    Drinks, food, golf. If you dont know what Top golf is then look at the spots in London, they’re so much fun. The North lacks any sort of entertainment like this, with it being just off the motorway its easily accessible.

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