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Residents and members of the action group campaigning against Harrogate Borough Council’s choice of location for a new settlement, have expressed their dismay at the findings of the Inspector’s Report.
For the last three years, The Keep The Hammertons Green Action Group has led a campaign against Harrogate Borough Council’s choice of location for 3,000 homes to the west of York, near Green Hammerton, Kirk Hammerton, Cattal and Whixley. During this time the group has received the support of thousands of local residents and businesses.
Government Inspector Richard Schofield’s report has been published on Harrogate Borough Council’s website, along with a list of modifications for the plan to be sound.
Chris Eaton, co-chair of the Keep The Hammertons Green Action Group, said:
We are hugely disappointed that the proposed new settlement has received support from the inspector, especially when he has acknowledged that Harrogate Borough Council are aiming for a generous 25% more houses than they need.
Whilst residents of any area chosen for this scale of development would be unhappy, we’ve always presented strong and valid reasons why Harrogate Borough Council made the wrong choice in selecting Green Hammerton and Cattal for a new settlement.
The voices of more than 2,000 local village residents have also been completely ignored. This decision needlessly condemns acres of rich, highly productive farming land to a concrete future, at a time when there is growing demand for locally grown food and better care of our environment is crucial. Ultimately the inspector has taken the path of least resistance and ignored almost everything he’s heard from residents.
The report also leaves the future of Flaxby Park uncertain, even though the majority of people across Harrogate, York and Knaresborough, share the view that developing Flaxby’s disused golf course would benefit the local area more and cause far less disruption, as well as being more deliverable. Crucially the site is also very close to the largest employment site that Harrogate Borough Council has ever approved, so there would be genuine walking and cycle to work opportunities, but the council refuses to consider it as an alternative.
The Inspector’s Report is clear that the implications of a new settlement for nearby villages needs to be addressed very carefully and that a new settlement should be just that, rather than being merely an extension of an extant settlement. It is important that Harrogate Borough Council acknowledge this rather than interpreting it how they want and have previously illustrated.
The report can download it here- https://www.harrogate.gov.uk/info/20101/planning_policy_and_the_local_plan/1159/harrogate_district_local_plan_examination
Rebecca Burnett, cabinet member with responsibility for planning, said:
The inspector’s final report is great news for the district.
His conclusion that our Local Plan is ‘sound’ means we can finally adopt it.
This ensures there will be certainty to development in the district, providing homes, jobs and infrastructure, guided by an agreed framework.
This includes the location of a future new settlement, which the inspector supports.
The local plan will also reduce unplanned speculative development and ensure that the district’s green spaces, built heritage and community facilities are protected.
Commenting on Government Inspector Richard Schofield’s report into Harrogate Borough’s Local Plan, Chris Musgrave, Chief Executive at Flaxby Park, said:
We are disappointed that Flaxby Park has not been accepted by the Planning Inspector, for inclusion within the Council’s Local Plan, as a community settlement.
We will now carefully consider our options, which includes the possibility of a judicial review.
However, before a decision is agreed on our preferred course of action, we intend to seek a meeting with officers of Harrogate Borough Council to discuss the content of the Planning Inspector’s report and also seek their views on the future of the site.