Secretary of State rejects housing plan appeal

The land where Gladman Developments is hoping up to  450 homes will be built.
The land where Gladman Developments is hoping up to 450 homes will be built.
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Developers hoping to build up to 450 homes on the south-west edge of Ripon have been dealt a major set back by the Secretary of State.

Gladman Developments was informed in October by Harrogate Borough Council that an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) needed to be carried out before any planning application was submitted but it immediately appealed to Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, over the ruling.

But now Mr Pickles has concluded an EIA is needed for the proposed scheme.

The scheme, on land, south of Whitcliffe Lane and west of West Lane, is “likely to have significant effects on the environment” said Mr Pickles.

The site’s close proximity to Fountains Abbey, Studley Royal World Heritage Site and the World Heritage Buffer Zone were some of the issues raised by Mr Pickles in making his judgement.

Writing to the company, he said: “The size, massing and location of the proposal could constitute a potential negative impact on heritage assets across a wide geographical area.

“The proposed development would be within close proximity to the Quarry Moor and Whitcliffe Section Sites of Special Scientific Interest and the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.”

The Secretary of State also noted the proposal would generate additional traffic passing through residential streets towards the main road network.

Mr Pickles’ ruling has been called a “major success” by the steering group fighting the proposals with one of its members, Coun Andrew Williams (Ind), saying it will continue to fight “tooth

and nail” against the proposals.

The former Ripon Mayor believes the preparation of the EIA will set back Gladman Developments by nine months and the company will find it “difficult” to address issues that the steering group has raised.

“We are aware that Gladman will have to address a lot of the issues that we have been raising in terms of the aspects that the Secretary of State has addressed,” he

said.

“I have lived in that area for 40 years and I am utterly opposed to the development of land which is beyond the city development line. There is a need for more houses and I will be happy to support responsible and sustainable ones in Ripon.

“However, the steering group is not going to sit on our laurels.

“We are not going to sit back and wait and see what they will do, we’re going to continue building our case against a planning application.

“They are not going to be in a position to submit a proposal until 2016 and I’m hopeful that the arguments that we have been putting forward will be heard at the highest level.”

Gladman Developments was approached for comment but had not responded by the time the Gazette went to press.

The company will now undertake a ‘Scoping Opinion’ to determine the extent of the issues to be considered before preparing their EIA.