If local residents could vote on planning applications in their own road, the radical proposal made by the right-wing Adam Smith Institute in a bid to end the nation’s housing crisis, there is one certainty – proposals to build 3,000 new homes at the North Yorkshire village of Green Hammerton would be defeated by a landslide.
That much has been made abundantly clear by the strength of local opposition to Harrogate Borough Council’s planning blueprint and stream of well-argued letters to The Yorkshire Post in the past week highlighting the extent to which the character of this village will be altered radically. The think-tank’s report, Yes In My Back Yard, will receive short shrift here.
Yet its principles have merit. Like so many affluent towns, Harrogate has a housing crisis – there is a desperate shortage of starter homes within the price range of first-time buyers and the district needs to recognise this.
There’s certainly a case to be made for smaller-scale developments if existing residents can be convinced of the benefits, and the bigger picture, rather than mini-towns being foisted upon communities like Green Hammerton. However, would streets agree to this in sufficient numbers? Probably not. And that’s the difficulty.