Plans to reopen Goldsborough Railway Station and create a much-needed park and ride facility for Harrogate have taken a step forward, with Harrogate Borough Council now acknowledging the location offers the opportunity to provide a new railway station as part of their ongoing Local Plan assessment work.
The new station will form part of Flaxby Park, which will see Flaxby’s disused golf course transformed into a new sustainable village community, consisting of 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.
In its original draft Sustainability Appraisal within its draft Local Plan, Harrogate Borough Council failed to score Flaxby Park, not acknowledging its proximity to the rail line or the opportunity to provide rail services.
However, the Council has now accepted this and agreed to score Flaxby Park the maximum score for rail provision. This follows independent government inspector Richard Schofield, who is tasked with examining the council’s proposals for a new settlement, asking for the locations to be reviewed and additional sustainability appraisal work to be carried out.
In addition, Network Rail has supported the proposals and has confirmed that they will work with Flaxby Park to demonstrate the deliverability of the strategic new railway station and park and ride at Flaxby. Train operator Northern has also shown its support for the development with a letter backing the proposals.
Chief Executive, Chris Musgrave, from Flaxby Park Ltd, said:
Maximising public transport had been a major factor in Harrogate Borough Council’s plans to create a new settlement and build thousands of homes around Green Hammerton. Although this option is widely unpopular and means rerouting the A59 and building expensive pedestrian road bridges, which would cause years of disruption, and hasn’t even been costed yet to see just how expensive it would be. The area does have existing rail links, but they would need significant investment to enable them to service so many new homes.
However, the Council has always said the decision was ‘finely balanced’ with rail links being a deciding factor. We have been able to prove to the Council how serious we are about opening a park and ride station in a strategic location, close to Knaresborough and Harrogate. When this is combined with support from Network Rail, Transdev, Northern, North Yorkshire County Council and the Chamber of Commerce, there’s no doubt it would maximise the use of public transport and benefit the whole area.
It would also serve two-way traffic all day, enabling Flaxby’s residents to get to work in Harrogate, York or Leeds, and meaning employees at the likes of Morrisons, ilke Homes and Chippendale, as well as Flaxby Green Park, which could employ almost 3,000 people, don’t need to travel to work by car. Plus, it would offer a strategically located park and ride service for neighbouring communities and commuters, as well as shoppers and tourists coming off the A1(M). This will make it highly sustainable and significantly reduce traffic on the A59.
We’re delighted that the Council has now recognised the merits of this station and we’re looking forward to seeing the rest of its updated Sustainability Appraisal.
Flaxby Park Ltd is owned by internationally renowned businesswoman and philanthropist Dame Ann Gloag OBE, and regeneration experts, Chris Musgrave OBE and Trevor Cartner. A submitted planning application for the development is currently available to view on Harrogate Borough Council’s website. It has been designed by a team of leading consultants, including local, respected architects, Wildblood Macdonald and transport planning advisors, Fore Consulting.
Goldsborough Railway Station opened in 1850 and was regularly used by members of the Royal family visiting nearby Goldsborough Hall, which was the marital home of Princess Mary, a great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria, who shared the house with husband Henry, Viscount Lascelles, and their two sons George and Gerald. Goldsborough Railway Station closed to passengers in 1958, and its freight services ceased in 1965.
Councillor Rebecca Burnett, Harrogate Borough Council’s cabinet member for planning, said:
Flaxby Park is rather jumping the gun and to suggest we’ve ‘done a U turn’ is ridiculous.
As the request of the planning inspector, we carried out a further sustainability appraisal into the broad locations where a new settlement could go.
As part of this work, we had to add a score for Flaxby in recognition of the nearby rail line.
This does not mean a station at Goldsborough has suddenly moved a step closer.
We still believe Cattal/Hammerton is preferable as the broad location for a new settlement.