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Refused 53-home Knox Lane scheme goes to appeal

Monday, 22 April 2024 07:19

By Thomas Barrett, Local Democracy Reporter

This is the Knox Lane housing site in Harrogate.

Housing developer Jomast has appealed a council planning committee decision to refuse 53 homes at Knox Lane in Bilton.

Housing developer Jomast has appealed a council planning committee decision to refuse 53 homes at Knox Lane in Bilton.

Jomast has seen its scheme repeatedly thwarted by Harrogate and Knaresborough councillors, most recently in September when proposals were narrowly voted down by 4 votes to 3.

Councillors gave three reasons for refusal which were an unacceptable impact on the local road network, a failure to promote sustainable travel and a negative impact on the special landscape area.

There have been more than 500 objections to the plans with residents claiming the development will destroy wildlife and a cherished green corner of the Harrogate suburb.

A former railway line also runs through the site and as asbestos was used for installation on steam trains, it’s led to fears that tar from coal could still be toxic, posing a threat to future residents.

At the most recent area constituency committee, councillors agreed to ask the council to consider removing the site from the future North Yorkshire Council local plan, which will guide where housebuilding can take place.

However, the site remains allocated for development in the still-active Harrogate Borough Council local plan.

During the September planning committee, the council’s legal officer Glenn Sharpe warned councillors that because the site is in the local plan, a refusal could open the authority up to a costly legal appeal unless they could defend it with sound planning reasons.

This week, an appeal has been lodged by Jomast and a decision on whether the homes are built will be made by a government-appointed planning inspector.

In documents supplied by the developer, it says it is appealing the refusal because the site is allocated for housing within the local plan.

It adds:

“The appellant will demonstrate that the proposed development subject to the appeal is in accordance with the statutory development plan and national planning policy, representing sustainable development, and, taking into account the relevant material planning considerations, should be approved by the Inspector without delay.”

The Local Democracy Reporting Service asked Jomast’s planning agent Spawforths to comment on the appeal but did not receive a response.

Campaigners at the Knox Community Conservation Group said: 

“We are aware that the developers have appealed, we are confident that the decision to previously reject this planning application of H2 Knox Lane will be upheld and that there will be no development on this special landscape area.”

 People can write representations regarding the appeal on the North Yorkshire Council planning portal using the reference 24/00024/NREFPP.

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