Council to spend over £350,000 on blueprint

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TAXPAYERS will pay more than £350,000 to create a new planning blueprint for one of Yorkshire’s property hotspots after an earlier plan was withdrawn when an inspector insisted thousands more homes would be needed in future.

Earlier, Planning Inspector Phillip Ware warned Harrogate Borough Council its plans for 390 extra homes a year fell dramatically short of need, leading councillors to vote to tear up the blueprint, which set out sites suitable for future development and opt to draw up a new plan.

Senior councillors have now backed plans to spend £367,200 on its local plan after already spending £245,000 on the withdrawn document – but it has said some of this work can be incorporated.

Coun Helen Flynn, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, branded the spending a: “Total waste of taxpayers’ money.”

Coun Michael Harrison, the council’s member for planning, said: “The allocation of funds to carry out specific activity to produce our local plan is essential.”

He said the cash would also be used to ensure people were fully involved in the plan’s preparation and carry out an infrastructure survey looking at issues such as traffic and highlighting restrictions and solutions. “This is not a waste of money but is an essential step in producing a sound plan. We will ensure we get value for money for any cost incurred.”