New Harrogate planning blueprint ‘could take nearly four years’

Creating a new planning blueprint for Harrogate could take nearly four years after a bitter row over the number of homes needed to counter an affordable housing crisis.

A previous plan was abandoned following a planning inspector’s warning that thousands more homes need to be built in the coming years. Harrogate Borough Council earlier voted to withdraw its Local Plan, which has been years in the making, and draw up a new blueprint offering extra sites for housing and jobs.

Earlier this year, planning inspector Phillip Ware warned the council’s plans for 390 extra homes a year fell dramatically short of need. He claimed other assessments put the figure at between 862 and 1,086, which, using even the most conservative of estimates, would mean a shortfall of 472 homes a year and over 4,500 extra homes over 10 years.

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Along with nearly 4,000 already planned, this could mean building more than 8,500 homes across the district over the next decade.

Councillors will be told on Wednesday that a timetable has been drawn-up to create a new local plan. It envisages it will be submitted to the Government in summer 2017 and ready to be adopted in Spring 2018. The council has maintained withdrawing its sites and policies development plan, which together with another blueprint forms its Local Plan, did not mean work already undertaken would be wasted as much could be incorporated into the new document.

Meanwhile, Selby District Council will be cold-calling several hundred residents over the next few weeks. The random survey will help shape the big projects it concentrates on over the next few years.