Knox Lane housing refusal has ‘strengthened community spirit’
Sep 27, 2023
Knox Lane
The site location

Residents on Knox Lane in Bilton have said community spirit has been “strengthened” after a plan to build 53-homes in the area was rejected.

The proposal, which was tabled by north east developer Jomast, was refused by councillors on North Yorkshire Council’s Harrogate and Knaresborough area constituency planning committee yesterday.

It followed concerns about land contamination and the lack of a travel plan for the site, which is alongside a narrow road at the edge of Bilton and not close to a bus route.

The current road serving the site.

The refusal of the plan has been welcomed by residents in the area.

Sue Wrightson, of Keep Knox Natural campaign group, said local people had worked hard to make the council listen to their concerns.

She said:

“Local residents have worked very hard over the last three years to ensure that council officers were aware of the many valid reasons why this development is entirely inappropriate. 

“We have struggled to make them listen and we are very grateful to those planning committee members who have supported our case. 

“Its been a learning curve as far as planning regulations are concerned but we have enjoyed the collaboration of several local experts.

“This whole episode has really strengthened local community spirit and resolve.”

Knox Lane in Harrogate.

Councillors questioned the plans at a lengthy meeting at Harrogate’s Civic Centre yesterday.

Cllr Paul Haslam, a Conservative who represents Bilton and Nidd Gorge, spoke on behalf of residents at the meeting. He said:

“There have been over 500 objections to this application from residents. Not because they are ‘nimbys’, but because they believe the council is making a mistake.”

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Liberal Democrats Cllr Chris Aldred and Cllr Hannah Gostlow raised concern that no travel plan had been submitted as part of the application.

Cllr Aldred said “insufficient information” was submitted in regards to a travel plan for councillors to make a decision.

Prior to the meeting, a report by council case officer Andy Hough said the plan was “considered to now be in compliance with development plan policy” and should be approved.

It added that the reasons for deferral at the last meeting would “not form reasonable reasons for refusal”, which indicated Jormast might successfully appeal the decision.

The Stray Ferret has approached Jomast to ask whether it is considering an appeal but had not received a response by the time of publication.