Harrogate Spring Water submits controversial expansion plans
Last updated Feb 6, 2024

Harrogate Spring Water announced today it has formally submitted plans to expand its bottling plant.

The company wants to fell 450 trees, including some planted by schoolchildren in the 2000s, to develop its site off Harlow Moor Road in Harrogate.

Harrogate Spring Water is a major local employer and one of the town’s best known brands. But its bid to remove trees from Rotary Wood to create more plastic bottles has generated national controversy.

The Stray Ferret has been following the issue closely. We published this summary of the long-running saga in November shortly after Harrogate Spring Water said it planned to create a publicly accessible 1,200-tree woodland to offset the loss of trees.

The firm, which is owned by French multinational Danone, held a consultation event later that month, which attracted protestors from the Save Rotary Wood campaign group, which accused the company of greenwash.

Today Harrogate Spring Water said it had submitted plans and “is now working with the authority to progress the proposal”.

The 1,200 saplings would be planted on two acres of land immediately next to Rotary Wood and to the rear of the existing Harrogate Spring Water operations.

Richard Hall

Richard Hall, managing director at Harrogate Spring Water, said:

“As a business whose success is rooted in the town of Harrogate and its people, it is really important for us to work in partnership with the local community.

“The local community has been very clear in expressing their concern about the potential loss of trees from part of Rotary Wood which an expanded production facility could bring.

“This is why at the heart of our reserved matters application is a new community woodland which will be fully accessible to the public and we hope will become a valued resource for the local community for many years to come.”

Harrogate Spring Water has also pledged to plant 260 trees on the current Rotary Wood site where it aims to expand its production facilities.

Its press release today said “taken together with the new community woodland, this means that any trees in Rotary Wood which are removed as a result of the proposed expansion will be replaced by a ratio of 3:1”.

The release added the company was working alongside forestry experts to identify other locations in Harrogate where an additional 1,500 trees will be planted, further improving the replacement rate.

Harrogate spring water

The company’s headquarters on Harlow Moor Road.

The expansion would help to create more than 50 jobs plus 20 more during construction.

Harrogate Spring Water secured outline planning permission for its expansion in 2017 from Harrogate Borough Council, which means the principle of development has been established.

The reserved matters application put forward now to North Yorkshire Council contains details on the size and design of the expanded production facility as well as information on matters including landscaping.

Councillors on the Liberal Democrat-controlled 13-person Harrogate and Knaresborough planning committee will decide whether to approve the application.

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