Developer resubmits Flaxby self-build homes eco scheme
Jun 14, 2022
A CGI image of the proposed development/Ben Holmes

A developer is not giving up on his dream of delivering a self-build eco-development in Flaxby after being knocked back by Harrogate Borough Council.

Ben Holmes, from Birstwith, first submitted plans last year to build the cutting-edge development in the village near Knaresborough.

It was for a community self-build scheme, which is a different model of housebuilding from what is usually seen.

Mr Holmes would install infrastructure, such as paths, water, drainage and a communal area, on the site.

Nine plots would then be available to people who want to build their own home. The buyers then hire an architect and builder and design a home to suit their family’s needs.

A stipulation would ensure all the homes are built to strict environmental standards and include solar panels, air-source heat pumps and super-tight insulation.

The plans were refused by the council on the grounds that it was not in the Harrogate district Local Plan 2014-35, which sets out where development can take place, and because the number of homes was below the council’s requirement per hectare.

‘Moving away from the car’

Mr Holmes appealed the council’s decision to the government’s Planning Inspectorate but it upheld the refusal.

He has this week submitted new plans to the council, which he hopes address the reasons for refusal.

The revised plans include plots for 20 homes, which would be available to those who have joined Harrogate’s self-build register.

He said:

“All of the principles of our original scheme will be included, which is again trying to move away from the car, with use of shared electric vehicles and further an electric mini-bus for the school run.

“The homes will generate their own electricity with photovoltaic panels on the roofs and rainwater harvesting will be used to cut down on energy bills.

“They will all be Passivhaus, relying mainly on solar gain for heating, and have air source heat pumps for any extra heating required. They will be extremely well insulated and air-tight. The intention is that they will set the standard for new homes across the area, and be a catalyst for greener developments.”

Read more:

New village hall

The initial proposal received a seven-page objection from Goldsborough and Flaxby Parish Council.

It cited concerns over flooding, sustainable transport and claimed the plans “gave no thought whatsoever to the village of Flaxby”.

To help win over locals this time, Mr Holmes has added a village hall and nature reserve for anyone to use.

He added:

“This was in response to some of the existing villagers’ comments that there was nothing in the original scheme to fulfil their social needs, and it should be more integrated for community cohesion.

“The joined parishes of Flaxby and Goldsborough don’t currently have a village hall so this would be an opportunity for them to have their own village asset, that they can use as they see fit.”

The council will decide on the plans at a later date.