Harlow Hill and Pannal Ash residents bracing themselves for ’15 years of disruption’
Last updated Apr 16, 2022
Housing developments in blue are built and in purple are planned. Credit - Hapara

Residents in Harlow Hill and Pannal Ash have been told to expect 15 more years of disruption due to a wave of new housing developments in the area.

Concerns about traffic and disruption linked to around 4,000 new homes dominated Harlow & Pannal Ash Residents’ Association’s (Hapara) annual general meeting this week.

Much of the discussion was centered around the 770-home Windmill Farm development after plans were submitted by Anwyl Land and national housebuilder Redrow Homes this month.

The homes and a new primary school would be built on green fields on the opposite side of the road from the charity-run nursery Horticap and behind RHS Harlow Carr.

David Siddans, Hapara’s secretary, told the room that a traffic report submitted by the developers had “seriously underestimated” the number of cars that are likely to leave the site during rush hour.

The report suggested that 450 vehicles will leave in the morning.

Mr Siddans warned the current road network around Otley Road will struggle to cope with Windmill Farm traffic as well as cars from large housing schemes at Bluecoat Wood, Whinney Lane and Pennypot Lane.

He said:

“They have seriously underestimated the total impact on the highways network. Pennypot Lane and all the other sites will feed traffic towards this direction. The totality of it will be huge.”

Sustainable transport

The Windmill Farm site includes a cycle path towards Harrogate and three bus stops. However, Mr Siddans said the plans don’t do enough to encourage residents to leave their cars at home.

“How many people can you persuade not to use a car? That isn’t explained. We know they are providing a bus route, they’ll provide some bus stops, but what about the bus? Who’s providing that?

“How many will cycle or use public transport? We simply don’t know the impact.”

At the meeting, Otley Road resident Chris Dicken also did a critical presentation on the Otley Road Cycle Path, which he called “a waste of money”.

David Rowe from Zero Carbon Harrogate gave a talk on the benefits of low traffic neighbourhoods, which is when a road is closed to through traffic to boost walking and cycling, as as the one currently on Beech Grove.

Windmill Farm proposals

Mr Rowe and the group’s chair, Jemima Parker, fielded questions from residents about the environmental impact of Windmill Farm.

The homes will be built with gas boilers, despite the government banning them from new builds from 2025.

Ms Parker queried the layout of the Windmill Farm and suggested it had been designed with the car in mind.

“The shop and the school are not next to each other, so when you go to pick your children up from school you can’t pop into the shop. It’s illogical and needs a different way of thinking.”

Parameters plan

Rene Dziabas

Rene Dziabas, chair of Hapara, expressed the group’s dismay at the delayed West of Harrogate Parameters Plan, a document the group had hoped would go some way to solving transport issues.

Mr Dziabas said the plan had been developed without much input from residents who have knowledge of the area.

He said:

“The only way we’ll make progreess is if the council genuinely starts interacting with the community, not gaming us and ticking boxes, but actually listening to us.”

A Harrogate Borough Council spokesman said previously:

“A number of suggestions have already helped shaped the West of Harrogate Parameters Plan and I’d like to thank those local resident groups and parish councils for their valuable feedback.”

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