Harrogate residents say they’ve been ‘kept out the loop’ on plans for 4,000 homes
Last updated Apr 19, 2024
The meeting heard concerns about development in west Harrogate.

Residents have been “effectively kept out of the loop” on plans to build 4,000 homes in west Harrogate, a meeting heard this week.

About 10,000 people are expected to move into new homes being built on a patchwork of sites stretching from RHS Harlow Carr to Yew Tree Lane. 

Some have already been completed but construction has yet to begin on about 2,000 homes.

Frustration at how the process has been handled was expressed at Wednesday’s spring meeting of Harlow and Pannal Ash Residents’ Association. 

Hapara secretary David Siddans said it had “always acknowledged the need for housing” but added “this must be supported by the right infrastructure” and he said residents’ concerns had not been addressed. He added:

“Four thousand homes on the west side of Harrogate were agreed four years ago and still we have no clear idea on the transport implications.

“We have found the whole process opaque, high handed and illogical.”

A satellite map showing the 'Western Arc' of current and proposed development areas in Harrogate.

The ‘western arc’ of development areas in Harrogate. Image: HAPARA.

Mr Siddans said it was illogical in the sense that the planning process had been “turned on its head” because mitigation measures were being suggested before assessments and strategies had been carried out on key issues such as transport and healthcare.

He said:

“It’s rather like a doctor presenting a cure and some time later trying to find out what’s wrong with you.

“The whole process is led by developers who assess the impact they create and the remedies for them. Their focus, understandably, is on the bottom line. Therefore we look to the council to make their own assessments or at least to scrutinise.”

Mr Siddans added:

“I understand councils have limited resources but they should be doing this on behalf of the community.

“Yet we feel we have been effectively kept out of the loop because we are told it is ‘too complex’. All we get is a brief window to comment on the planning applications when they are published — that is the first time we get to see the impact.

“Maybe everything will be fine but the public deserves more openness.”

Hapara chair Rene Dziabas told the meeting, which was attended by North Yorkshire Council highways officials, 2,000 homes were due to built simultaneously on three sites. He added:

“It’s unbelievable. We have never seen anything like this before — to have work on 2,000 homes going on in one go is unreal.

Yew Tree Lane and Whinney Lane updates

The meeting also heard updates on other key issues in the area.

Mr Dziabas said phase three of the Otley Road cyclepath will go ahead, as reported by the Stray Ferret.

Regarding the former police training centre on Yew Tree Lane, where 200 homes are due to be built, Mr Dziabas said Hapara wanted to see a construction management plan adhered to.

He said the plan should include issues such as onsite parking to prevent lorries parking on Yew Tree Lane, conditions on noise and light pollution, proper onsite washing facilities for lorries “so they are not chucking up muck everywhere” and lorries avoiding local roads at school drop off times.

Final planning approval was granted in January, but Mr Dziabas said developer Vistry Group was still in the process of acquiring the old police training centre site.

Mr Dziabas said Hapara wanted to see the public right of way reinstated on Whinney Lane, but some lorries by developer Stonebridge were still using it.

Council officers at the meeting said Pannal Ash Road would be resurfaced and traffic calming measures would be installed, hopefully at the same time.