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Comments on Local Development Framework (LDF)

by billhoult on 18 August, 2008

These are my comments submitted to Harrogate Borough Council in regard to the re consultation carried out about the Urban extension proposals in the Local Development Framework. The inspector is expected to consider the proposals in September/October 2008

Allocation of Housing
The allocation of housing numbers in the LDF is skewed and treats Knaresborough unfairly in that the settlement has a far greater number of houses per resident than any other settlement in the Harrogate District. 14& of the District total is 1200 houses (54 per year). On a proper ratio Knaresborough should be allocated no more than 10% of the total which is 858 (39 per year).

Delivery
Early Development
A further very important issue is that when the original core strategy was discussed in 2005/06 the statement was made that:-
“It is the Council’s view that these (urban extensions) should only be considered for allocation and development as a last resort in the event that there is no other way in the final phase of the plan period to meet the District’s allocation. Also “until the completion of the Congestion Strategy and other work i.e. Park and Ride Study….”.
Now however in regard to Knaresborough it is proposed that the urban extension development should start in 4 years time (2012) despite the lack of infrastructure and the number of housing approvals in our Town. Together with other allocated sites Knaresborough has enough housing land with planning approval to meet its target even at the 14% allocation until 2011 and at the 10% target 2013/14. Why release this land now?

In view of this it appears that the only “justification” for early release of the Knaresborough East site is the fact that it is already owned by a developer who is eager to start building.
What transpires is that Knaresborough East is being treated as the “Banker” for the 5 year target of houses for the whole of the District and particularly Harrogate Town area. This is clearly wrong.

Inspectors Exploratory Meeting
The following observation was included in the notes to the meeting held on 26 March 2008
“Knaresborough will require a comprehensive master plan and transport strategy, new services and a new station will need to be in place from the outset to minimise need to travel/modal shift required by the Traffic Congestion Plan in the Local Transport Plan.” And generally
“There were no guarantees or firm commitments from the utilities/service providers.”

Page 3 Response on LDF Main Report July 2008

In Appendix 7 of the current main report there is a claim that a rail halt to serve the site (on which much of the “sustainability” argument relies) is feasible within a 5 year period. This has been directly contradicted by Network Rail.
 

Other Matters
National Express with Networks Rail support is proposing to provide a 2 hourly service to/from Harrogate via Leeds to Kings Cross. This has been announced since the Core Strategy has been developed and the prioritisation of the Greenfield sites had been finished. Any such proposal will have a deleterious effect on services from Harrogate through Knaresborough to York. A reappraisal of all sites on the South of Harrogate should now be taken in view of what will now be better and more frequent rail connections to Leeds and the adverse effect on NE1.

Cllr Bill Hoult
18 August 2008

Page 2 Response on Sustainability Paper July 2008

Sustainability
Transport Links-Rail
Much of the support for NE1 is factored on the potential for a rail Halt that in the main report is suggested is deliverable in a 5 year period. This has been directly contradicted by Network Rail and indeed due to recent proposals put forward for the Harrogate/ Leeds section of the line to run more intercity trains the feasibility within even the full term of the plan is in question. The fact that there has been no feasibility or business case for the station and the limited resources available to Network Rail almost eliminates the proposal for the purposes of this plan.

At a meeting between the developers and Knaresborough District and Town Councillors the developers had to admit that they could not deliver a Rail Halt and that their contribution would be quite small relative to the total cost. Network Rail at a meeting I attended at NYCC confirmed that they have no capital to spend for at least 5 years. The Rail Halt should not therefore feature in the sustainability arguments for the current LDF Plan.

Transport Links-Road
In the HUKS study the following paragraph appears:-
“The traffic impact of any large scale extension in the North East and North West sectors will need to be very carefully assessed as part of an overall transport assessment. This should include an assessment of the need for traffic relief through the construction of a Northern Relief Road.”

It is not clear whether this assessment has been carried out.

Other Matters
S1 and S2 sites to the South of Harrogate
Recent proposals by National Express supported by Network Rail to increase the train capacity on the Harrogate to Leeds line by providing a 2 hourly intercity Service from Harrogate to Kings Cross via Leeds that would use the Pannal rail station has shifted the sustainability case for S2 by a considerable margin. This means that the site that is already served by a 20 minute bus service between Ripon and Leeds and an half hourly rail service becomes much more attractive in sustainability terms and overcomes the alleged and subjective claim of an adverse effect on the setting of Harrogate. A re-assessment is needed here.

Conversely the implementation of a more intensive regime on the Harrogate to Leeds line will reduce the potential for any schedule changes to accommodate a Rail Halt in Knaresborough thus adversely affecting NE1 sustainability.

For a precis of what the effect of the Inspectors report has on Knaresborough, Scriven and Calcutt see “Local Development Framework Inspectors Report”

Cllr Bill Hoult
18 August 2008

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