Another Victory for the Yorkshire Countryside
Our huge congratulations today to our friends at ‘Better Wetherby’ and our neighbours in North Yorkshire. Better Wetherby is a West Yorkshire based group who, in support of Harrogate Borough Council, have been contesting a planning proposal for up to 210 houses on Spofforth Hill/Stockeld Park.
The original planning application was submitted by Stockeld Park and Hallam Land Management and was refused by Harrogate Borough Council. On the 13th February, an appeal against this refusal was also turned down by the planning inspector after a public inquiry to review the proposals.
This site is in North Yorkshire but just outside the boundary with Wetherby. The land was not identified in the housing allocation requirements for Harrogate Borough Council.
The planning inspector appointed to the case was Mr Bowker.
After a full public inquiry into the appeal, Mr Bowker concluded that the proposal would have a harmful effect on the character and appearance of the surrounding area, and that the proposal conficted with the aim of the Landscape Character SPG to conserve landscape pattern and landform characteristics. The inspector aso recognised the potential harm and poicy confict with a loss of some of the best and most versatile agricultural land. CPRE West Yorkshire hope that weight given to the countryside in this assessment, and the value accredited to rural and agricultural land continues to be a defining and weighty factor in planning decisions.
Added to these factors, the inspector gave considerable weight to the emerging local plan for Harrogate Borough Council, which states that the planning system should be genuinely plan-led, and that this proposal would be inconsistent with the Framework.
He concluded that: ‘There is no reason to take a decision other than in accordance with the development plan and as such the appeal must fail.’
CPRE West Yorkshire would like to congratulate all those at Better Wetherby who worked so hard to get this outcome. For a moment, they can take a big breath, and let out a huge sigh of relief. We hope this recognition of the importance and value of both our countryside, and a plan-led approach to the planning system, can be used as a signal in other cases.
We would also like to highlight the importance of working together, across local authority boundaries, to get resolutions that benefit everyone, for generations to come.
Congratulations to the team at Better Wetherby. You can read full details about the public inquiry and the work that Better Wetherby does on their website.
Images courtesy of Better Wetherby.