200 homes in Pannal Ash set to be approved


May 4, 2021
Indicative masterplan of the homes on the former police training centre, as included in the planning documents.

A controversial 200-home development at the former police training centre in Pannal Ash looks set to be approved.

Harrogate Borough Council previously approved plans to build 161 homes on the Yew Tree Lane site in 2018.

But a new proposal, submitted in November, aims to increase the number of homes to 200 despite concerns about “unjustifiable planning creep”.

Homes England, a non-departmental public body that funds new affordable housing, submitted the latest plans.

The council’s planning committee will next week decide whether to accept the latest plans.

Housing plan is “planning creep”

The application has proved controversial because of the increase in the number of homes from 161 to 200 and the loss of playing fields.

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Harlow and Pannal Ash Residents Association has described the plan as “yet another example of unjustifiable planning creep”.

The site boundary of the development on Yew Tree Lane.

The site boundary of the development on Yew Tree Lane.

A letter to the council from the Harrogate Civic Society said:

“The principle of development of this brownfield site for housing is acceptable. However, there are reasons why this application is not acceptable, either at 180 dwellings or even more so at 200 dwellings.

“There is no current need for a huge increase above housing provision figures in the Local Plan as allocations and commitments plus other housing proposals coming forward are more than sufficient.”

A report due before councillors next week recommends approving the development.

The report says the council recognises concern over the 24% uplift in houses proposed. However, it said this does not mean suitable housing “should be resisted” on brownfield sites.

It says:

“The council can currently demonstrate more than five years housing land supply, but this does not mean that additional housing can, or should be resisted on suitable non-green belt sites.”

Concerns have also been raised about the loss of three football pitches and a cricket pitch as part of the latest plan to build more homes.

However, Homes England has offered the council £595,000 in mitigation for the loss of the pitches in Pannal after discussions with Sport England.

The sum will be paid as a section 106 agreement, which developers pay to councils to mitigate the impact of their developments on the local community and infrastructure.

According to planning documents, Sport England and the Football Foundation said they consider it “unlikely” that the pitch would be actively used. Instead they advised Homes England to consider using the pitch for more housing.

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