1,000 sign petition to protect Bilton’s Knox Lane from housing
Jan 31, 2024
Campaigners with their petition.

More than 1,000 people have signed a petition to prevent land targeted for homes in Bilton being available for development.

North Yorkshire Council’s Harrogate and Knaresborough planning committee rejected an application by the developer Jomast to build 53 homes off Knox Lane, as reported by the Stray Ferret in September.

Residents have been engaged in a long-running campaign to protect the land from housing. More than 500 objections were made against the Jomast plans.

With the immediate threat of housing removed, the campaign organisation Knox Community Conservation Group is now attempting to protect the land from further planning applications.

It set up a petition to remove the land from the forthcoming North Yorkshire Local Plan, which will replace the current blueprint for where development can take place.

The plan will replace the current Harrogate District Local Plan 2014-35, which was created by the now defunct Harrogate Borough Council.

Richard Flinton, chief executive of North Yorkshire Council, said this month the new plan was expected to be finalised in about four years. He added a call for sites was due to go out to consultation this spring.

Knox Lane

The land off Knox Lane. 

Knox Community Conservation Group campaigners were at Nidderdale Greenway last weekend urging people to sign the petition, which closes on February 5. 

It will then be presented to the council’s Harrogate and Knaresborough area constituency committee at its next meeting on March 14. 

The petition says previous site assessments conducted by Harrogate Borough Council of the Knox Lane site in 2013 and 2016 found it to be unsuitable for development because it “would have adverse or highly adverse effects on historic environment, priority habitats and/or species and landscape”.

The group says these concerns remain and has called on people to “preserve and protect” the historic area of Bilton, where a former railway line used to run through.

The photo shows (from left) Margaret Cockerill, Alison Heyward and Jill Harrison all from Knox Community Conservation Group.

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