Call to restart consultation on new Harrogate district town
Last updated Nov 4, 2022
Cllr Arnold Warneken and the proposed new settlement.

A councillor has called for a consultation on the new Harrogate district town the size of Thirsk to be extended or started again.

Arnold Warneken, who represents the Green Party on North Yorkshire County Council, issued the plea after it emerged the consultation documents had been changed midway through – without people being told.

The move has heightened concerns among residents in the area affected that the planning process is being rushed before Harrogate Borough Council is abolished on April 1. They say allowing more time would increase support for the process and show transparency.

The proposed new town, called Maltkiln, would be built in the Cattal and Green Hammerton area in the east of the district.

The council opened a six-week consultation on October 3 into its draft new settlement development plan document, which sets out a 30-year vision and policy framework on how Maltkiln is designed and developed.

It emerged this week that both the hardcopy and online versions of the document had been changed during the consultation process.

Cllr Warneken said although the changes were minor, the failure to inform people was significant, particularly “given the magnitude of this plan and its impact on the surrounding parishes”.

He said in a letter to the council:

“I accept mistakes do happen but how we deal with them is critical in demonstrating how seriously we take our accountability and transparency.

“I am surprised that I and the parishes were not advised by Harrogate Borough Council of these errors.

“I think we all agree that it’s important that the new settlement process is actually done correctly and not just seen to be done right, initially I was thinking an extension to the process might suffice but on reflection I would like to ask that the consultation be restarted with the corrected document.”

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But the council said the consultation would end on November 14 as planned.

A spokesperson said:

“The online portal version of the Maltkiln development plan document included a minor change that was not included in either the online PDF or hard copy version.

“Both the online PDF version and hard copies of the consultation material have been amended to reflect this change.

“The amendment related to the inclusion of an extra paragraph in the climate change chapter, the result of which effects [sic] the numbering of paragraphs. As well as an additional sentence at the end of local centre chapter.

“At the time that we made the amendment, we had only received a limited number of responses and having reviewed these, none of them relate to the wording that has been revised.

“Should someone have saved the earlier version of the document in order to comment at a later date, these comments are also reviewed to ensure that they relate to the correct part of the document.”

You can have your say here.