Knaresborough’s MP has blasted the council for failing to support residents in a fight against plans for 170 houses off Boroughbridge Road.
Just three working days before the appeal hearing began, Harrogate Borough Council (HBC) told residents they would not try to stop developer Gladman Ltd’s appeal.
Around 50 furious residents gathered outside Knaresborough House on Tuesday morning this week to voice their opposition.
David Walker, a member of the Scriven Area Residents Association (SARA), said: “It is terrible, it is an insult to the rate payer. Knaresborough has been let down by the council.”
Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones said he was disappointed with HBC’s decision not to uphold the refusal of planning permission which was turned down unanimously by the council’s planning committee last year.
He said: “In my view, this appeal by the developer could have been successfully defended. There was evidence to back up the planning committee’s decision. That evidence could have been used at the planning inquiry. Instead, we have a position where the objectors have been left high and dry by the council.”
He added: “This was the time to take a stand – to defend the evidence base which the council had acquired about this area’s unsuitability for housing. Going forward there will be other times when the council should stand firm and defend its planning decisions. On this occasion, not to do so was the wrong decision.”
Both Scriven Park councillors, Coun Ivor Fox (Cons) and Coun Anne Jones (Lib Dem), spoke out against the development at the appeal hearing.
In a letter to residents, HBC’s head of planning and development, David Allenby said: “The council accepted it had no reasonable prospect of successfully defending the appeal.”
He said the council could be held liable for costs of over £100,000 if they continued to contest the appeal and lost.
SARA chairman Dr Wilfred Mulryne OBE said: “We feel very let down by the council, we feel there is an excellent case for refusal here.
“We feel if we were to lose this it will open the flood gates and completely change the character of Knaresborough.”
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