25 June 2014, Following Harrogate Borough Council’s reluctance to accept the fundamental concerns raised by an independent Planning Inspector - the inevitable has now happened.
At an extraordinary meeting of Harrogate Borough Council on 18th June 2014 it was resolved that the current Sites and Polices Development Plan Document be formally withdrawn and that the local authority would move towards the preparation of a new style Local Plan for the area between Harrogate, York and North Leeds.
This change will open up a debate on both the quantity of new housing to be delivered across the Borough and also the preferred strategy to accommodate what is expected to be a substantial increase in housing numbers – from the previous 390 dwellings per annum to well in excess of 850 dwellings per annum. There will also be a need to review the scale of new employment land provision in the Borough.
Harrogate Borough Council now finds itself in a perilous position, with an effective planning policy vacuum giving rise to opportunities for well prepared planning applications to succeed on sites which were not previously finding favour with the Council, and, of course, for new sites to be promoted as part of the evolving Local Plan.
The scale of development that will need to be considered in Harrogate gives credence to the option of a new settlement along the line of the A1 corridor. Councillor comments and discussions at the Extraordinary Meeting suggest there may be some political support for a new settlement, as part of a wider strategy for meeting future housing needs.
David Boulton, Partner, commented “we have a good track record of securing planning consent for new housing schemes in Harrogate Borough, and believe that the current planning policy hiatus offers real opportunities for local landowners and developers. Now is the time to consider the merits of an early planning application, or indeed the potential to actively promote land for development through the new Local Plan process”.