Unexpected dispute for Lib Dem and Conservative Harrogate councillors

Helen Flynn

Helen Flynn

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A planning application submitted by a Liberal Democrat Harrogate Borough Councillor has received an unexpected objection - from a Conservative councillor.

Lib Dem councillor, Helen Flynn, submitted an application to change the use of her storage building on Franklin Road into one residential property.

Harrogate Borough Council

Harrogate Borough Council

However, Coun Flynn will now have to use her years of experience debating Conservatives in the council following the latest objection to the plans.

Coun John Ennis (Cons) is one of three objectors to the scheme after voicing concerns the plans would impact traffic and exacerbate a lack of parking.

The Lib Dem councillor has labelled Coun Ennis' objections a 'joke' and accused him of playing party politics with the application.

Coun Flynn said: " We bought the property three years ago with the view of turning it into a starter home but the initial application was turned down.

"In September, after the elections, we had plans approved to divide the property into two building warehouses with no objections received.

"But, even though this would mean less parking and more traffic than the current application, lo and behold there's an objection when it's in my name.

"Coun Ennis' objection is ludicrous. We are short of new starter homes and this would be perfect for young people to get on the ladder."

In 2013, an application to convert the building on Franklin Road into a residential home was refused and dismissed at appeal.

However, a recent change in planning legislation allows the conversion of storage facilities to residential use without needing a planning application.

The council's Planning Committee will meet on Tuesday, to determine whether the prior approval for the application will be required for specific matters including transport and highways impact.

Coun Ennis explained that his objection had nothing to do with party politics, rather he was representing the concerns expressed from his ward.

He said: "One or two local people have approached me and said the application would cause parking problems.

"Parking is already very tight there and would be made worse by creating an extra residential unit, that's why I exressed my views.

"It's adding a little bit more to what's already a very difficult parking situation there, that's why I'm supporting the local residesnts."

One resident complained that the proposed conversion would affect the street's appearance as well as their privacy.

Graham Cornish also objected on the council's planning portal, stating parking spaces were 'substantially over-subscribed', once residents returned from work.