The first steps have been taken for a mammoth 450 dwelling development at Boroughbridge, with Harrogate Borough Council’s planning committee green-lighting an outline application on Tuesday.
Coun Robert Windass (Conservative, Boroughbridge) declared a conflict of interest, but addressed the council about the Stump Cross application before vacating the chamber.
He said his involvement in the approval of a 184 dwelling development to the north of the application site in August showed that he was not a “nimby” about population growth.
But he said the latest application was “beyond the development limits of Boroughbridge”.
The Boroughbridge ward member said that the greenfill development would lead to the loss of a “significant” amount of agricultural land, adding that the town already experienced sewage overflow after periods of rain.
He said that health and education resources were already stretched in the area, and would be pushed to bursting with the addition of up to 450 new homes.
An agent speaking on behalf of the applicant, Gladman Developments Ltd, said the company had worked closely in conjunction with council for 12 months to create a compliant application.
However, in questioning, Coun Jim Clark (Conservative, Harrogate Harlow) questioned why the application for such a site was coming in front of council now, while the Local Plan is in its final stages.
Coun Clark said it “might be jumping the gun” to approve a development of that size ahead of the Local Plan being finalised, calling it an “opportunistic” move.
He reiterated his position when it came to the vote, saying he couldn’t support the proposal ahead of a Local Plan and calling it “premature”.
Masham and Kirby Malzeard ward Coun Nigel Simms moved a recommendation approving the outline, but added that he’d like to see the north east corner of the development kept undeveloped as a ‘buffer zone’.
He conceded that the area had taken “more than its fair share of development” but said there was no official objections to the application and it was compliant.
The majority of his fellow planning committee councillors agreed with him, with councillors voting in favour five to three.