Councillors defer decision on Hampsthwaite garage expansion
Last updated Oct 4, 2023
Simon Graeme's current site

Councillors have deferred making a decision on whether to allow a new MOT and servicing building at a garage near Hampsthwaite.

North Yorkshire Council’s Skipton and Ripon planning committee met yesterday afternoon to consider the application by Simon Graeme Auto Services Centre, which has operated at Graystone Plain Lane off the A59 for 30 years.

But despite the scheme being recommended for refusal by a planning officer because of its impact on the open countryside, councillors agreed the expansion would help support a long-running local business and boost the rural economy.

Ripon independent councillor Andrew Williams said the Nidderdale AONB should be a place for people to live and work and “not a museum for townies to visit on a weekend”.

However, before a final decision is made councillors asked for more details to be submitted around planting, drainage and renewable energy.

The current garage is located within the Nidderdale AONB, which has strict planning laws. The proposed new building, which would house two MOT bays and five servicing bays, sits on land just outside of the AONB.

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A previous plan for a larger building was refused by officers in January but Nathan Hull, committee chair and Conservative councillor for Washburn and Birstwith, said there was a local need for the garage in the area.

The plans have received 55 messages of support and just one objection.

A visual of the planned new garage for Simon Graeme Auto Services Centre in Harrogate.

A visual of the planned new garage.

Cllr Hull said:

“My understanding is there’s a need for this garage and they’ve outgrown the site. 

“Some proposals are great, such as having a study area for apprenticeships. There’s not a moratorium on any development within the AONB. People who live in the AONB have a need for employment and access to services”.

Mr Graeme told councillors the new building would future-proof his family business and allow it to service and repair electric vehicles. He said he has an ambition to create the first “green garage” in North Yorkshire.

Mr Graeme said:

“Location is the most important part. We’ve been there 30 years and proved that the service is very-much needed in the rural area. We provide jobs for local people which helps to support the rural economy. Opportunities will increase with our expansion”.

Councillors unanimously voted to defer the application pending more details on drainage, planting, solar panels and type of materials used.

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