Summerbridge residents object to plans for 20 homes
Last updated Mar 27, 2024
Ros Evans / an image of how the proposal would look.

Two Summerbridge residents have voiced concerns over plans to build 20 homes in the village.

The Stray Ferret reported this month Nidderdale Estates Ltd, which also built the Poppy Fields development near the proposed site, tabled proposals to North Yorkshire Council last month.

The application, which comes after plans to build 24 homes at the Braisty Woods site were refused by the former Harrogate Borough Council, outlines plans to build one, two, three, four and five-bedroom homes on land just off the B6165.

However, the proposal is unpopular with some local residents.

Ros Evans told the Stray Ferret she felt “really strongly” that the plans should be rejected.

Ms Evans, along with 19 others, attended Tuesday night’s Hartwith cum Winsley Parish Council meeting, which covers the Summerbridge area, to raise concerns.

In a statement to councillors, Ms Evans said the land “should never have been included in the local plan” and feels the proposed development “will clearly cause problems”.

She also felt the plans would pose threats to the environment:

“It is an extremely wet field – as evidenced by the large patches of soft rush growing throughout and the pools of water laying on the surface, clearly visible from the footpath after rain. This means it is acting as a soak for water draining off the hillside.

“The ecological impact assessment for this development found that the southern section of the main field is ‘inundated grassland’ and that there was water ingress into all the trial pits leading to total collapse of many at 3m depth. It strikes me as odd that anyone would consider this a suitable substrate upon which to build.

“Development of the site would prevent this field from acting as a valuable flood alleviation system for the Nidd, already subject to high levels of flooding from above, and could also lead to flooding on the road and within the houses themselves, as has been the case in the Poppy Fields estate.”

Flooding at the proposed site in December 2023.

Ms Evans also cited plans to cut down a veteran tree, should the proposal be approved. She said this goes against government guidelines, adding they “clearly state they may only be removed if there are wholly exceptional reasons”.

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A fellow Summerbridge resident and objector, who wished to remain anonymous, also expressed concerns at the parish council meeting.

She said the plans would have a “detrimental impact” on the character of the village, as well as “negative effects detracting from the landscapes and dark skies status”.

The resident cited the already “fast and dangerous” road on which the houses would be built:

“Highways agencies get a snapshot, which is not realistic.

“In addition to the speed, is the number of parked cars along the road as an overspill from existing properties, from service vehicles, from school drop off and collections, not to mention the overspill from the church during services.

“Add in to the frequent flooding that once came through the fields and now comes via Poppy Fields, you have a very dangerous and congested road, that not only makes it dangerous for driving, but also puts pedestrians at risk. All too often cars will mount the curb in order to keep moving.”

The resident also bemoaned the current state of the village – describing it as an “eyesore”.

She said it is already a “building materials dumping ground”, adding if plans were approved villagers would be in for “at least another five years of chaos and building sites”.

The resident said:

“It wouldn’t surprise me if the status of AONB (now known as National Landscapes) in Summerbridge was revoked, as the village looks nothing like an area of outstanding natural beauty.”

Ms Evans told the Stray Ferret the parish council agreed to submit an objection to the plans to North Yorkshire Council.

The authority is yet to make a decision on the application.

Documents sent to the council on behalf of the developer said:

“The dwellings will be exemplary and provide living accommodation for modern lifestyles. The development as a whole creates a sense of place by introducing a high quality public outdoor space.

“Overall, this development will provide a special place to live in Summerbridge whilst remaining respectful to the local buildings, ancient woodland and AONB setting.”