Harrogate business makes £10 million offer to buy Pannal land and protect it from development

Rupert Visick of Forward Investments.
Rupert Visick of Forward Investments.

A Harrogate business has offered to purchase land at Crimple Valley and gift it to the local community in a bid to save it from the threat of development.

Harrogate-based landowner, Forward Investments, has today publicised an offer it has made to Harrogate Borough Council which would save the Crimple Valley area from housing development.

The offer, worth over £10 million pounds to Harrogate Council, would see Forward Investments purchase land in the Crimple Valley, immediately north of Pannal, and gift this land to the community in such a way that it could be afforded a protected status, similar to that of the Stray.

Rupert Visick, on behalf of Forward Investments, explained: “I’m delighted to be able to make public our offer to save the Crimple Valley. I live in Harrogate and would be incredibly saddened to see one of the most iconic views of Harrogate forming the Southern Gateway to the Town lost together with more of our precious, key green space.

“I believe Pannal should remain a village in its own right, but building on the Crimple Valley would see it become a de facto suburb of Harrogate. By making this offer, Forward Investments is offering to save the future of Pannal as a separate village.

Currently Harrogate Borough Council’s Local Plan would see homes and industrial units built on 36 hectares of the Crimple Valley land, removing 'virtually all green space' between Harrogate and Pannal.

The controversial plans have been met with firm opposition by Pannal residents and politicians alike.

To ensure that the Council can still meet its housing and employment targets for Pannal, instead of developing homes and industry on Crimple Valley, Forward Investments have offered to work with HBC to deliver 'a truly sustainable development' on land next to the under-construction Dunlopillo housing scheme.

The company said that this land, sandwiched between the A61 and the main Leeds – Harrogate – York railway line, 'is of significantly lesser visual amenity'.

It's proposal for the land by the Dunlopillo site includes an indicative capacity of 191 dwellings plus a new three form entry primary school and 1.9 ha woodland discovery area.

Mr Visick added: “We all recognise that with a growing population, Harrogate and the whole of the UK requires more homes. I believe the alternative plans – for land next to the Dunlopillo site - represent a vastly better option to satisfy Harrogate Borough Council’s requirement to build in Pannal.

"The land is naturally screened from the surrounding area sitting in the valley bottom and therefore the impact of the development would be negligible.

“We want to engage with Harrogate Borough Council, the residents of Pannal, and other stakeholders to explain our offer and show them how we can preserve Crimple Valley in perpetuity whilst helping to solve the much needed housing and school overcrowding crisis. The time to protect the future of Pannal is now.”