Hampsthwaite garage expansion plans finally set for go-ahead
Nov 27, 2023

Simon Graeme Auto Services Centre‘s plans to build a new MOT and service building in Hampsthwaite finally look set to be approved.

The garage, which has been situated alongside the A59 for three decades, has been keen to expand for some time. But it has faced a lengthy battle for planning permission.

North Yorkshire Council’s Skipton and Ripon planning committee will decide on its latest plans on Tuesday next week, and a council case officer has recommended the seven-person committee approves the bid.

The proposed new building, which would include two MOT bays and five servicing bays, would be situated on the edge of Nidderdale National Landscape, which was previously known as Nidderdale AONB, where there are strict planning planning rules. It is also outside the council’s development area.

In January, the council said the scheme would “create a significant level of landscape harm to both the open countryside and the views into and out of the Nidderdale AONB” and turned down the application.

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

A visual of the planned new garage.

The company, based on Grayston Plain Lane, submitted revised plans, which the council again recommended for refusal in October. But the planning committee decided instead to defer it so the company could revise the landscaping and provide additional information about drainage and design.

Cllr Andrew Williams, a member of the Conservative and Independents group who represents Ripon Minster and Moorside told October’s meeting the Nidderdale AONB should be a place for people to live and work and “not a museum for townies to visit on a weekend”.

Now council documents published ahead of next week’s planning committee meeting say the new MOT and service building should go ahead. The existing overflow car park would be removed as part of the scheme.

They say:

“It is considered that the proposal would have an economic benefit to the area and that following the revisions to the landscaping proposal and the provision of additional information in relation to sustainability of design and waste that the proposal would meet the requirements of local plan policy EC2 in relation to the expansion of an existing business in the countryside.”

The documents add the current scheme also differs from the previous proposal because the previous bid was to move the entire operation, which will now be split between two sites.

The 0.5-hectare site would create five new posts to take the number of staff to 16, according to planning documents.

Fifty-five people have supported the scheme; two have objected.

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