Local Development Framework Inspectors Report

by billhoult on 23 January, 2009

The Harrogate Council’s proposal to build up to 800 houses next to the Eastfield estate has received a severe setback by the government inspector appointed to vet the plans.
Mrs Macabe’s recommendation echoes my submission to the enquiry that more emphasis should be put on existing developed land already having planning permission for housing and smaller amounts of greenfield land before building on large tracts of farmland.

She comments:-

“I find that the identification of west of Harrogate and east of Knaresborough as the only locations for urban extensions does not represent the most appropriate option in all the circumstances……and having considered the relevant alternatives is not fully justified by robust and credible evidence”

She also acknowledges that the provision of a railway halt in Knaresborough East is over optimistic.

Support is also given to my submission that housing land in Pannal in the south of Harrogate should be provided despite the Councils rejection due to alleged “landscape issues”.

However the Inspector supports the principle of the Local Development Framework objectives including the allocation of 14% of the total housing need for Harrogate District in Knaresborough. This is despite it being a higher pro rata per head of the population than anywhere else in the district.

In the Knaresborough Post the Tory cabinet member is quoted as saying “large plots of land at Penny Pot Lane and Cardale Park and Manse Farm Knaresborough would only be built on if there were not enough brownfield sites available.”

This is in direct conflict with his previous proposition (that I protested about in my previous submission)that the Knaresborough site would be “brought forward” to meet the District Council’s requirement for a five year supply. I will be seeking clear assurances about that issue.

As part of the development of the Eastfield Extension the Council had proposed to allocate some of the land for employment development.
Mrs Macabe concludes in 3.99 of her report that this proposal is “unsound” and should not proceed.

Good news for Calcutt residents is that the Inspector decided despite representations that the greenbelt in Calcutt should not be used for housing development. There were six sites put forward for consideration at the start of the process and they have all been ruled out.

More worrying is the decision to reject the Council’s proposal to designate the existing Harrogate Rugby Club ground on Claro Road Harrogate as a sports facility rather than housing. The Inspector sems to suggest that previously canvassed locations (Crimple Valley Pannal, Killinghall and possibly Thistle Hill near Calcutt) be reconsidered.

It is too early to speculate whether this will prompt the Club to look again at the Thistle Hill site that was supported by the current Conservative leader of the Council a year ago. In the face of widespread opposition and a recommendation for refusal by the officers the Club withdrew its application.

As I receive weekly lists of planning applications I will vigilantly check the lists.

The village which is a separate parish to Knaresborough was included in the Knaresborough area for the purposes of Housing distribution in policy SG1. Representations were made to have it classified as a separate village to meet the “Category C” designation. Mrs Macabe has rejected that argument on the grounds that “Scriven is not clearly separated from that of the larger town of Knaresborough”

To read Mrs Macabes full report click on Harrogate Borough Council on the left hand site and follow the links.

To read the submission that I made to the Inspectors enquiry click search for “planning” in the box above.

Cllr Bill Hoult
26 January 2009

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