Harrogate Local Plan: Fears thousands of homes will overload town's Victorian-era sewage and road infrastructure

Thousands of new homes are being built in the Harrogate district.
Thousands of new homes are being built in the Harrogate district.

Thousands of extra homes proposed for one part of Harrogate would overload the area’s Victorian-era sewage system while further choking already congested roads, a Government-appointed inspector has been told.

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The second week of hearings into Harrogate’s draft local plan – the blueprint which will dictate where the district’s homes and businesses will be built for the next 20 years – kicked off with residents voicing their fears over development south-west of Harrogate.

Key among their concerns was the “western arc” – 3,767 homes proposed primarily for Harlow and Pannal Ash.

Concerns that the area’s sewage system would struggle to cope with the influx of residents were levelled by Kathryn Jukes of Directions Planning, representing multi-millionaire Harrogate philanthropist Dr Terry Bramall.

While emphasising that she was not against development, Ms Jukes said that analysis nonetheless suggested that the region’s sewage system was already at capacity.

“The problem that we’re actually faced with is that the sewerage system we actually have is inherited from Victorians when Harrogate was first built,” Ms Jukes said.

Additional concerns about the “western arc” were raised by Harlow and Pannal Ash Residents Association’s Rene Dziabas and David Siddens, who said the developments would add further strain to Harrogate’s congested centre.

Harrogate Local Plan: Doubts raised over whether Harrogate's ancient sewer system could cope with thousands of new homes
“The sheer level of development (means it) is highly car dependent…no matter what bus routes you put there, people will still use their car,” Mr Dziabas told the hearing.

The proposed development area was defended by Harrogate Borough Council’s chief planning officer Tracey Rathmell, who said the proximity to town, land availability and proposed transport improvements made the area prime for development.

She added that Yorkshire Water was fully aware of the level of development planned for the area.

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Lachlan Leeming , Local Democracy Reporting Service