Harrogate Spring Water has revised its plans for an extension to its bottling facility, and says it will offset the loss of the Rotary Wood, with 2 acres from a farmers field adjacent to the woods and the Iron Gate field.
In a previous proposal from HSWL, they has said that they would offset the woodland loss with land near to Harlow Carr, but that was land without public access.
This additional 2-acres will be planted as woodland, landscaped, and made accessible to the public.
They are also looking to work with the local community, wildlife and nature groups and other organisations to create a space which provides the maximum benefit for the public as well as enhancing the area’s biodiversity.
- 1,200 trees will be planted
- An aim to deliver a 10% increase in current biodiversity levels in the area
- Trees planted as part of the new community woodland will result in a replacement rate of 3:1 for any trees removed during the expansion
Outline planning permission for its expansion was given in 2017 with a plan that was passed unanimously by Harrogate Borough Council following a public consultation exercise involving various stakeholder groups.
The Reserved Matters application which the company is now planning to put forward to North Yorkshire Council will contain details on the size and design of the expanded production facility as well as information on matters including landscaping and biodiversity net gain.
Richard Hall, Managing Director at Harrogate Spring Water, said:
We promised before the public consultation last summer that we would listen to what people told us and take their feedback on board when deciding what we would do next.
One of the things which came through clearly was that people were concerned about the potential loss of access to community woodland.
Since then, we have been working long and hard on ways to address this which still allow us to expand operations on the site to meet the increasing demand for our products and invest further in the town.
Our proposed new area of community woodland will be home to around 1,200 trees, will be fully accessible to the public and we hope it will become a valued resource for the local community for many years to come.
It sits at the heart of our vision for the future of our operations in the town, fully part of the local community, and represents a significant part of the overall investment which we are making in expanding our presence in Harrogate.
A spokesperson for Pinewoods Conservation Group said:
It has now been 6 years since outline planning was granted for this site and the loss of any green space and trees within our footprint will always be a disappointment to the Pinewoods Conservation Group.
Rotary wood, originally planted by local children and residents, has matured into a well-loved woodland used regularly by residents and visitors alike with obvious environmental and conservation benefits.
However, we acknowledge that Danone have taken on board the feedback from ourselves and others regarding replacing this land with a proposal to purchase 2 acres of replacement land adjacent that could form an extension to the Pinewoods. The group has asked for direct input into the proposed design of this new area of woodland.
When made available, we will review the full plans carefully, and as needed, seek relevant assurances around the future of this proposed land, accessibility, and detailed planting proposals. We would also encourage our members and residents to attend a planned consultation event for 30th November (full details to be confirmed) and let us know their thoughts regarding the reserved matters application.
Shan Oakes, Harrogate and Knaresborough Green Party said:
Harrogate and District green Party rejects the proposal by Danone to extend the Harrogate Spring Water factory into the pinewoods.
This area is not an industrial area, and most citizens of Harrogate strongly object to this profiteering incursion – especially when it involves water being packaged in plastic bottles.
The world does not need more plastic. It needs more trees. We are not surprized that Danone is trying again to have its own way despite local fury.
Enormous corporations such as Danone are, sadly, programmed to grow, and it is our duty to stop them trashing our planet since they clearly Lack any sensitivity themselves. The Green Party stands with nature and community and condemns Danone’s action.
This approach does demonstrate a very considered community-focused approach. From a planning process perspective HSWL could have just taken it back to the planning committee, and allowed them to approve, or not, the Reserved Matters application. If refused they could have taken to the Planning Inspectorate to potentially override a local decision.
It is true that an individuals view will be based upon if these changes offset the negatives, but also if you believe the plant should be built at all.
There is the matter of what are “material considerations” for a planning application. For instance a view of “I don’t like plastic bottles” isn’t something that is, biodiversity and cutting down of woodland would be.
The other planning process to note is that the land that is be looked at to be built upon is not owned by HSWL. There will be an additional process of transferring the asset to HSWL – As Rotary Wood is designated an Asset of Community Value (AVC) that is by no means a straightforward process as it has to make the asset open to offers from the wider community.
The proposals were unveiled today to the local media and to key local people, and groups. The next step will be to seek greater involvement from the public with a public consultation event.
Richard Hall said:
We want everyone to be able to see what we have planned and to be reassured that we have listened to and addressed their concerns.
The town of Harrogate and its people are the foundation of our success as a business. So it is very important for us that, as we look to grow the company, create new job opportunities and invest further in the local and regional economy, we take time to listen to what the community has to say.
I believe that our new plans demonstrate this commitment and our determination to act upon it.
- The expansion will help to create over 50 new jobs for local people at Harrogate Spring Water, in addition to at least 20 jobs in the local construction sector during the build phase.
- It will boost the level of economic output generated – known as Gross Valued Added (GVA) – by Harrogate Spring Water by around £2.3m a year to £6.2m a year.
More details about the public consultation event will be announced shortly including and details will be available from next week at https://www.harrogatespring.com/facility-extension/