SPOFFORTH HILL/STOCKELD PARK – PUBLIC INQUIRY 17th DECEMBER 2019
In the September 2019 newsletter, we reported that the planning application by Stockeld Park and Hallam Land Management, to build 210 houses on the North Yorkshire side of the boundary with Wetherby had been rejected by the Harrogate Planning Committee on 17th September 2019. This outcome, the fourth hearing in respect of this application over the past 18 months, was welcome news for the hundreds of people who objected. There are serious concerns that the development will adversely impact on Wetherby and local villages by harming the landscape and local environment, adding to the existing problems of traffic congestion and air pollution, as well as placing further pressure on overburdened schools, doctors and other local services.
Regrettably, the uncertainty continues. Stockeld Park and Hallam Land Management have appealed the decision and there will now be a Public Inquiry scheduled to last for four days, commencing on 17th December 2019 in the Harrogate Civic Centre. Further details will be circulated when information is available.
Better Wetherby has applied to participate in the Inquiry and will work in support of Harrogate District Council in contesting the appeal by the developers. To strengthen our case, Better Wetherby is currently looking to retain expert independent consultants to provide evidence and reports at the Inquiry.
Although some members of the public have already kindly contributed, Better Wetherby needs further financial support to pay for expert consultants and generally fund our wider efforts on behalf of the local community. Public support is essential to increase the chance of success. Please help protect your community by making a donation.
Photograph showing the proposed site for the building of 210 houses by Stockeld Park and Hallam Land Management - this development will result in the concreting over of 13 hectares of precious Grade 2 & 3 agricultural land, the equivalent of 20 Wembley sized football pitches.
BETTER WETHERBY PRESS RELEASE
17th September 2019
Stockeld Park / Spofforth Hill planning application.
A protracted planning application to build 210 new houses on the North Yorkshire side of the boundary with Wetherby was once more the subject of a hearing by Harrogate Planning Committee on 17th September 2019.
Having attracted well over 300 objections, it was initially rejected by the Planning Committee in August 2018. However, just a few weeks later on 25th September, the application was taken back before the Committee who overturned their initial decision and approved the application.
Since that time a great deal of effort has been made by Better Wetherby to have this decision reversed. As a result, Harrogate Planners reconsidered the situation and recommended rejection of the application. The Planning Committee voted unanimously on 17th September to accept this recommendation.
Hallam Land Management, the agents for Stockeld Park, have formally launched an appeal and the application will now be subject to a Public Inquiry at some stage over the coming months.
Many local people attended the Planning Committee hearing, an indication of the strength of local feeling and opposition to the development. In thanking them for attending, Peter Swales, Chair of Better Wetherby said ‘Although the decision today is welcome, there is no room for complacency. It is particularly disappointing that Stockeld Park and Hallam Land Management are appealing the decision. This will now result in an expensive Public Inquiry, prolonging the uncertainty and concern for local people in Wetherby and nearby villages.’
Mr. Swales added, ‘This development is unwelcome and totally unsuitable. It will transform and harm the landscape, character and local environment in a wholly negative way and will add to existing highways, congestion and air pollution problems in the town, as well as placing further pressure on already overstretched schools, doctors and other local services. ‘Better Wetherby will be continuing our efforts and working to support Harrogate District Council at the Public Inquiry to fight the appeal by the developers.’
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