More green field sites may be earmarked for housing, council warns

MORE green field sites may have to be developed in the Harrogate district to meet housing need, council bosses said last night.

The authority estimates it will need to build 390 homes a year up to 2024, a target it has not been able to meet in the last couple of years because of the economic downtown.

It is putting together a planning blueprint, earmarking sites suitable to build the 4,000 homes and other development it is estimated will be needed in the future.

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Dave Allenby, Harrogate Borough Council’s head of planning and development, told a media briefing yesterday the focus had so far been to redevelop previously developed sites but as those become filled with development, “We have had to look at green field sites”.

He said in future years more than 50 per cent of allocations could be green field sites because those that could be reused could have dried up – but he stressed this was a figure that could change as previously developed sites could come up for redevelopment over that period and would be taken into consideration.

However, only a handful of affordable homes would be built in the green belt, the briefing was told.

The council is preparing to hold public talks on the latest stage of its Local Plan, which will help earmark land for housing, commercial development and help the district to shape future development, in May and June. The district has to have a plan in place to guide and control future development.

Coun Alan Skidmore, cabinet member for planning, said it was important people had access to homes they could afford in an area where house prices are high. He also said the council needed a Local Plan in place, otherwise developers may win the right to develop sites the council did not want developing on appeal.