Planning approval for 162 houses on Kingsley Drive, Harrogate

15 February 2023

On the 14 February 2023, Harrogate Borough Planning committee approved a planning application from Persimmon Yorkshire for 162 homes on Kingsley Drive in Harrogate.

  • The plans revised from 217 to 162 homes
  • Plans for 217 homes had previously been refused
  • 40% affordable housing
  • Mix of 1 to 4 bed dwellings
  • Now includes a children’s Play area
  • Landscaping/ open spaces
  • Recommended for approval by HBC planning officers
  • Part of local plan, and outline planning already approved

 

Kingsley Drive, Harrogate
Kingsley Drive, Harrogate

 

 

Prior to the planning meeting, there was a protest outside.

Opposition groups were allowed 3 minutes to talk at the committee, that was shared between two speakers.

Main points put against the scheme:

  • The impact it will have on many residents, (It is green land that Kingsley Drive faces on to)
  • It needed an independent traffic management plan, as it was voiced that the developer’s plan was not valid
  • The area is already above the local allocation
  • Calls for a pause to gain independent evidence
  • Concerns of safe and suitable access to the site

The developers defended the plans, saying that they got it wrong on the first application, and this plans shows a much lower density of houses, and is essentially a response to what they were asked to do following the previous planning, where it was presented.

The developer also said that they had listened to locals.

HBC chamber planning
HBC chamber planning

Cllr Pat Marsh said that it wasn’t the best place for 162 houses, that she was upset that she was her today having to discuss, it was a step too far, and that the land should never have been in the local plan allocation.

Cllr Broadbank said he opposed, saying that things were getting out of hand, traffic numbers don’t add up, and traffic numbers need looking at.

Cllr Watson said he couldn’t see how it can work, it needed a bus service.

Cllr Mann said he would support this development as it was in the local plan.

In the vote, 9 voted for and 2 against.

The developer had responded to the requirements from the previous planning meeting for this development. The reports provided from that had not been challenged by Highways or on ecological grounds. That meant that if refused, the developer would have likely lodged an appeal, at cost to HBC, and possibly would have been difficult to oppose.

So in essence the Planning Committee can’t send a developer away to revise a scheme, the developer then amends the scheme as instructed, and then the committee subsequently refuse.

Although some members of the committee and the opposition groups voiced concerns around the validity of reports, particular around traffic management, the HBC planning team will take advise from the Highways Authority, that didn’t support those concerns.

Joel Frank, Land Director at Persimmon Yorkshire said:

We’re pleased that committee members have voted to reaffirm the Council’s recommendation for approval.

This site is allocated for housing in the Local Plan and as the case officer’s report said, the development will make a valuable contribution to the district’s housing need.

As well as providing a mix of house sizes for families and downsizers, home owners will enjoy significant areas of green space, cycle routes, play areas and new footpaths.

This proposed scheme will also provide over £1.2 million in funding for local education provision and key highways improvements to Kingsley Road.

Kingsley Drive, Harrogate
Kingsley Drive, Harrogate

Chris Watt’s speech at the Committee:

I’m here on behalf of the Kingsley Ward Action Group and Starbeck Residents’ Association and the hundreds of local people who’ve objected to these plans over several years.
As you’ve heard, this proposal takes the overall development of this area well over the allocation in the Local Plan. So if the Local Plan is the key factor, then this proposal clearly needs to be looked at again.

The Highways assessment has indicated that there will somehow be less traffic from more dwellings than in the Redrow plan. In the last 2 years since you originally rejected these plans outright, other developments have progressed and begun.

These have increased traffic congestion and parking problems, not only in the residential streets around Kingsley Drive, but also down Knaresborough Road and Starbeck High Street. The traffic may not have looked too bad on your visit this morning, but it’s half term and Bogs Lane is currently closed by NYCC, due to health and safety concerns surrounding construction traffic – which may or may not, be made permanent.

The issue of infrastructure remains and senior healthcare leaders have come out against plans for more housing in this area.

But if you won’t reject these plans, then as people living here, we would urge you to at least defer it, until we know whatt’s happening with Bogs Lane and to allow a reasonable assessment of the impact of the closure over a period of time and for a proper, independent traffic assessment to be carried out.

Local people have suffered enough from more congestion, parking problems, noise, increased air pollution and the destruction of wildlife. At least pause and get more independent evidence.

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