Harrogate Borough Council is drawing up a plan for what infrastructure, such as schools, roads and doctor’s surgeries, are needed in the west of Harrogate where as many as 4,000 new homes could be built by 2035.
Harlow Hill, Rossett, and Pannal Ash are already some of the most popular residential areas in Harrogate and the stretch of Otley Road from Cardale Park to Beckwithshaw is set to be transformed.
Some of the biggest allocated developments in the Local Plan yet to be built include 776 homes on Windmill Farm, 750 homes near Lady Lane, and 550 homes on Bluecoat Wood.
During the Local Plan process, residents raised concerns about the impact of the housing on schools, roads, sustainable transport and green spaces.
This led the government’s planning inspector to request HBC create a so-called ‘West Harrogate Parameters Plan” to assess transport and infrastructure needs.
A coalition of resident groups, including Harlow & Pannal Ash Residents Association (HAPARA) and Pannal & Burn Bridge Parish Council, produced a document of its own last year which lays out what it thinks needs to be done regarding infrastructure in the area.
What is the Parameters Plan?
It’s being coordinated by HBC working with North Yorkshire County Council, other infrastructure providers, and the site promoters to identify the infrastructure requirements for the area and how they will be delivered.
This includes new schools, local shops, sports facilities, green space and parks, roads and sustainable transport options. It will also identify how it will be delivered and who will pay for it.
HBC says the plan will allow a more joined-up approach to infrastructure rather than assessment on a site-by-site basis.
What is the current status of the plan?
Work started on the Parameters Plan last year. It has involved engagement with ward members, local parish councils and other local community groups, as well as promoters of other nearby sites.
This has included sharing and inviting comments on an early draft of the plan, as well as holding joint workshops and individual meetings. Further meetings are scheduled.
An independent design review has also been undertaken which the council hopes means that quality design is “at the heart” of the plan. Following this, the site promoters have jointly commissioned design expertise to carry out more detailed work, which is currently underway.
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When will it be published?
HBC said there is no hard deadline for the creation of the Parameters Plan as its priority is “getting the content right.”
Further work is being carried out to incorporate the recommendations from the design review as well as ongoing work with infrastructure providers to finalise necessary requirements.
Residents’ groups had expected the plan to ready before the end of 2020. The council said it now expects the plan to finalised by the autumn. It will then be rubber-stamped by HBC’s cabinet member for planning Cllr Tim Myatt.
Once the Parameters Plan is agreed, how will it work in practice and how will it be implemented?
The plan will provide a framework that will guide the development of site masterplans which are submitted to the council when developers apply for planning permission.
It will also be a material consideration in the determination of relevant future planning applications, meaning councillors can use it to help them make a decision on a particular development.
The council will use legal agreements called section 106’s to secure funding for the infrastructure needed and to mitigate any impacts from the development.