Council rejects Harrogate office block conversion over natural light concern
Last updated May 31, 2023
Simpson House off Clarence Drive in Harrogate.
Simpson House off Clarence Drive in Harrogate.

A plan to convert Simpson House in Harrogate into flats has been refused over natural light concerns.

Bramhope Property and Investments Limited tabled the proposal to North Yorkshire Council to convert the the former office block off Clarence Drive into 12 flats.

Documents submitted to the council outlined plans to create 12 two-bedroom apartments.

It would see the ground, first and second floors converted.

But, council officials have rejected the plan over concerns that those who would live in the flats would not have enough natural light.

In a decision notice, the authority said:

“The existing building abuts mature trees and hedges to the south on an embankment within the conservation area.

“The cumulative effect of the trees, hedges and site topography would provide large amounts of shade to the east, south and west elevation windows of six proposed dwellings during most parts of the day.

“These windows serve habitable rooms including living/dining rooms and bedrooms.

“The trees cannot be managed under this prior notification application, and there are no mitigating factors that would compensate for this significant loss of natural light.”

The move comes after two previous proposals to change the use of the office block to residential were refused in 2022.

Meanwhile, another application by Artium Group was withdrawn in July 2022 amid concern from Harrogate Borough Council officers over the impact on neighbouring trees.

In the latest proposal, developers said the building is already surrounded by residential properties.

It said:

“The ground and first floors of the building have been vacant for several years and the second floor of the building has recently become vacant.

“The building is surrounded by existing residential properties which are previously converted office buildings surrounded by mature trees.”

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