Final approval given for 200-homes at Harrogate’s former police training centre
Jan 30, 2024
The entrance to the former police training base in Pannal Ash.

Councillors have granted final approval for 200 homes at the former police training centre site on Yew Tree Lane in Harrogate.

The scheme received outline permission in December 2021 and North Yorkshire Council’s Harrogate and Knaresborough’s planning committee met this afternoon to consider the scheme’s layout and appearance before allowing construction to begin.

Government housing agency Homes England is working alongside developer Countryside Properties on the scheme.

It will see 184 new homes built as well as several older buildings retained and converted into an additional 16 properties.

At one time, 1,200 officers a year were trained a year there but the police moved out in 2011 after being told by the Home Office that it needed to make austerity-related cuts.

Alastair Curran spoke on behalf of Countryside and told councillors that the scheme went “far above” policy requirements set out by the authority, including on biodiversity, adding that the developer will plant an additional 347 trees on site.

Mr Curran said:

“Before you is a high-quality development. It means houses that people would want to live in and be proud to call home, it means delivering places that people love.”

Up to 4,000 new homes could eventually be built in the west of Harrogate, with various developers proposing schemes around Pannal Ash, Harlow Hill and Pennypot.

The council is working on a much-delayed transport infrastructure plan for the area that looks at how the explosion of new homes will be supported by roads and public transport.

Cllr John Mann, a Conservative who represents Oatlands and Pannal, said the scale of housebuilding would result in a “defacto new town” similar to Maltkiln in Cattal where 4,000 homes are also mooted.

Plans for the police training centre site. Pic: Countryside Properties

Countryside has agreed to pay £690,000 to North Yorkshire Council for road improvements through a section 106 agreement but during the meeting, a council officer said it was not guaranteed that this money would be spent on Yew Tree Lane.

However, he added the infrastructure plan for the area is now finally “nearing completion”.

David Siddans spoke on behalf of Harlow and Pannal Ash Residents’ Association and raised concerns about construction, sustainable travel and the location of a children’s playground, which will be placed on the far side of the site.

In response, Mr Curran said the playground will encourage non-residents to enjoy the site and will act as a “green buffer” between houses.

Cllr Cathy Burrell, from Pannal and Burn Bridge Parish Council, highlighted concerns about congestion and road safety on the site’s only access point at Yew Tree Lane.

She added:

“We must strive for better than this current scheme.”

Cllr Mann said there could be potential dangers in approving so many homes with just one access point. He said Harrogate was already “congestion city” and the scheme would make the problem worse.

Councillors eventually approved the plans after receiving assurances from Mr Curran that the developer would consult with the parish council and Hapara on its construction and transport plans.

Four councillors voted in favour, with Pat Marsh (Liberal Democrat, Stray, Woodlands and Hookstone) abstaining and Cllr Mann voting against.

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