Following a recent meeting Harrogate based conservation charity Pinewoods Conservation Group (PCG) has confirmed that the consultation window on a key recent planning application will be extended.
Rotary Wood is currently under threat by Harrogate Spring Water Limited (HSWL) who plan to extend their current bottling plant into wood destroying up to 4 acres of woodland.
Following a recent meeting between PCG, HSWL and Harrogate Rotary it was agreed that key information was missing to allow impacted parties to make an informed decision on the plans. Of main concern was the lack of any details as to where any replacement planting would take place and no updated report on the ecological impact of the development as per the original conditions.
As such Harrogate Council have confirmed to extend the consultation period from Sunday 2 February to 8am on Monday 9 March. It is expected that the council’s planning committee will decide on the case on 3 March.
A spokesperson for Harrogate Rotary confirmed:
The Rotary Club of Harrogate are grateful to Harrogate Spring Water for the opportunity to discuss their proposals for the future of Rotary Centenary Wood. However, we remain disappointed that despite the assurances given and requirements made at the time of their original planning application in 2017 no contact was made until now.
We are also concerned that no attempt has been made to locate a possible site for an alternative wood adjacent to Pinewoods. We are alarmed at the suggestion that existing trees could simply be dug up and replanted in what little remained of the wood to fill in natural gaps, and that public access to the woodland would be blocked.
We hope to continue to consult with Harrogate Borough Council and Harrogate Spring Water to mitigate the harm to Rotary Centenary Wood in any planned or proposed development.
A spokesperson for Pinewoods Conservation Group confirmed:
It is a positive step that Harrogate Spring Water are now proposing to think in more detail as to where any replacement land would be found and how that would be managed. This was a clear condition on this from over 2 years ago and this remains a key concern for our members who are disappointed at the lack of detail. With a potential increase in this development obviously more land and replanting will be required. However, time is very limited for plans to be shared on this.
In the meantime, our concerns on the development and subsequent disposal of public green space by Harrogate Council remain and plans will continue to protest at each step as our members demand. Will we be advising out members on potential next steps on receipt and review of the remaining information.
A set of notes of the meeting taken by Harrogate Civics Society who attended in an observation capacity will be made available shortly.
The recently launched initiative with Crowd Justice to raise fund to cover help protect the area from potential sale and development hit its initial target of £5,000 in only three weeks and has been left open for further donations.
Donations of any amount can be made online via https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/pinewoods/ where more details are available. Regular updates will also be provided by the charity at key stages of the project as to where any funds have been utilised.