Frustration for Knaresborough residents as Orchard Close planning meeting adjourned

Knaresborough viaduct
Knaresborough viaduct

A planning meeting to determine the outcome of 74 houses near Orchard Close has been suspended until after the New Year.

The Planning Inspectorate attended the meeting, held at Knaresborough House on Tuesday, to determine the outcome of the application submitted by Persimmon Homes.

More than 100 people attended the meeting including Coun Ivor Fox (Cons, Knaresborough Scriven Park) attended the meeting to propose its rejection as well as a Knaresborough Residents Group.

However, Persimmons Homes produced a new document for the Planning Inspectorate to consider which Coun Fox described as a “total re submission of their defence”.

Coun Fox told the Planning Inspectorate that they would need more time to analyse the document and, as a result, the meeting was adjourned.

Coun Fox said: “The inspectorate considered whether or not this could be delayed for a day.

“This was definitely not possible and we needed professional advice on this sort of submission and without technical data, the inspector has gone away and will debate as to whether or not this was a inspectorate hearing or an inquiry hearing.

“As a result we will have to start all over again and this now may only take play until the new year. As yet, no decision has been made.”

The application has been consistently rejected by Harrogate Borough Council since 2014 with residents raising concerns over access to the site as well as air quality issues caused by traffic.

Coun Fox criticised the council for failing to defend the application on Tuesday as they could not find an air quality expert to speak on its behalf.

He said: “Harrogate Borough Council could not find an expert to help with the defence but we found a world expert in a matter of a week.

“This has been done at a huge cost to the local residents association who have spent many thousands of pounds to do the work which I think should have been done by Harrogate Borough Council’s planning committee.

“We are going back to our expert to go through the new submission they have made because we believe there should be no increase in houses where an AQMA has been declared.”