Maltkiln: Major Yorkshire housing development near Harrogate scaled down as landowner decides not to sell

Almost half of the land allocated for the 4,000-home Maltkiln scheme near Harrogate has been removed from plans after a landowner pulled out of a site sale.

Two sources familiar with the matter told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) that fields around Cattal Station, which has been a key selling point of the scheme, and would have formed the development’s ‘village centre’, have been retracted.

The sources estimated up to 2,000 homes would have been built on the removed land, however Wetherby-based developer Caddick Group said this was not the case. When asked to confirm exactly how many homes had been removed from the plans, the developer said it was not able to. However, it said it would still commit to 3,000 homes on the site, albeit in a greatly reduced area.

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Harrogate Council said in January one of the landowners had pulled out without saying which parcels of land were affected. Caddick called the decision by the landowner “regrettable” but said it was confident the scheme would continue.

This map shows how the development boundaries have had to be amendedThis map shows how the development boundaries have had to be amended
This map shows how the development boundaries have had to be amended

Plans for Maltkiln have been in the works for several years and also include two primary schools. The homes would be built off the A59 towards York near the villages of Cattal, Green Hammerton, Kirk Hammerton and Whixley.

Cattal Station is on the York to Harrogate railway line.

Last month a meeting was held involving all of the affected parish councils to discuss the proposals. It was also attended by a representative of Caddick Group plus officers from Harrogate Borough Council.

At the meeting, officers confirmed the location of the large section of land that has now been removed from the scheme.

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This means the developer will likely have to rethink its ‘village centre’ as it was due to be located on the land. The Maltkiln website states:

“A new village centre is proposed for Maltkiln, located next to Cattal station with a range of spaces suitable for retail, leisure, health and hospitality uses. These will evolve as the community grows and we will encourage local businesses to take up space in the village centre, as well as participating in farmers’ and seasonal markets held in the central village square.”

Since the landowner pulled out, Harrogate Council paused work on a development document that was due to be submitted to the government for approval.

The LDRS understands council officers are now looking at whether a scheme can be delivered in the same broad location while still meeting the aims and objectives of the new settlement, which forms part of the council’s Local Plan.

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Kirk Hammerton parish councillor Alex Smith said the current situation at Maltkiln is a “consequence of choosing the wrong location for a new town.”

Coun Smith said: “They’ve had to spend a long time chopping and changing preferred options, trying to fit a distinct new settlement into a very constrained area. It was time they didn’t have, given that a key land agreement – almost half the proposed area has expired.

“Local residents have endured years of uncertainty over this project even when HBC claimed to be following due process. The last thing we need now is for them to start improvising at the eleventh hour.”

A Caddick Group spokesperson said: “As promoters of the Maltkiln settlement, Caddick Group continues to have positive and constructive discussions with all parties. We are confident that we can deliver proposals, which not only meet the housing needs of the area, but also deliver the requirements set out in the adopted local plan and meet the policy objectives of the draft Development Plan Document.

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“We are currently working closely with our consultant team to update our proposals, taking into account the revised boundaries. We remain committed to developing Maltkiln and look forward to being able to share our revised proposals in more detail.

“We continue to talk constructively with the current and successor local authority planning teams regarding how best to progress and deliver Maltkiln. Throughout this process, we have engaged with stakeholders and local communities, and as soon as we are in a position to publicise revised proposals, we will do so.”