Spofforth council appeals to Prime Minister over controversial housing proposal


Last updated Oct 12, 2021
Developers have appealed a council decision to refuse a plan for 72 homes in Spofforth.
Developers have appealed a council decision to refuse a plan for 72 homes in Spofforth.

Spofforth parish council has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging the government to investigate a controversial housing development in the village.

Yorkshire Housing Ltd has challenged Harrogate Borough Council’s decision to refuse its proposal for 72 homes on Massey Fold.

The developer already has outline permission to build on the site, but councillors turned down an application for appearance and landscaping in November last year.

Ahead of a decision from the government’s planning inspector, the parish council has written to Boris Johnson calling on him to “throw the weight of government” against the scheme.

The letter from Shirley Fawcett, chairman of Spofforth with Stockeld Parish Council, says the village is “a very blue village but which is seeing red thanks to the government’s planning policies”.

It adds that it “will never be the same” if the appeal is allowed and that the “Sword of Damocles” hangs over villagers.

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It added that a recent Chesham and Amersham by-election defeat for the Conservative party was because the “government have more on their minds than planning issues”, but pleaded for Mr Johnson to listen to the village’s concern.

It said:

“We ask from the bottom of our hearts on behalf of the whole village that you investigate this situation and throw the weight of government against this scheme and of course hundreds of other schemes proposed for villages throughout the country.

“We would fully support the need for the development on ‘brown field’ sites but definitely not on this countryside site.”

Developer seeks costs

Meanwhile, Yorkshire Housing Ltd has submitted an application for costs against Harrogate Borough Council should the appeal be given the go-ahead.

The developer said the borough council had “unreasonably delayed development” at the site and that its case “does not contain any objective analysis that justifies the reason for refusal”.

In response to the costs application, the council said:

“In making the determination to refuse the application, the local planning authority have had regards to the development plan and supporting material consideration. 

“The local planning authority respectfully requests that the inspector dismisses the applicant for an award of costs.”

The Planning Inspectorate, which deals with planning appeals, will make a decision on the proposal at a later date.

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