With just over three weeks to go until Ripon’s neighbourhood plan referendum on February 14, the Ripon Gazette is resuming its series of features which look at some of the most interesting policies contained in the Ripon City Plan.
An important theme explored in the plan is growth and regenerating key parts of the city. The plan supports growth through redevelopment of brownfield land and buildings for housing and employment, but without the allocation of sites.
The document emphasises the importance of taking a “positive and proactive approach” to the identification of those areas in the city that offer the greatest scope for regeneration.
Specifically, the plan champions the idea of delivering sustainable development through the creation of new ‘urban villages’ due to Ripon’s atmosphere, scale and potential. This policy would see urban villages being created in Bondgate Green, Ure Bank and Clotherholme to regenerate these areas.
So what exactly are these urban villages, and how would they benefit the city? Well, in Bondgate Green, an urban village would mean a mixture of homes, small scale workspace, recreational and cultural uses, coach parking, and hotel development - the plan also lends its support to proposals for redevelopment of vacant sites.
If the City Plan is voted through at referendum, these policies would be taken into account when Harrogate Borough Council’s planning team look at proposed developments for Ripon.
The City Plan states: “The City Council supports the regeneration of the area lying generally along Bondgate Green between the River Skell and the Ripon Canal and Firs Avenue, and would like to see this area become the Bondgate Green urban village.
“The City Council would like to see proposals that protect, reveal, enhance and do not obscure views of Ripon Cathedral, and contribute to permeability of the area by the formation of new paths between the canal basin, Bondgate Green and the river Skell, and the enhancement of highway crossing points.”
This section of the plan also mentions the importance of good quality design, and reflecting the characteristic brickwork and masonry of the area.
Among the detailed list of what the City Plan team would like to see as part of the Bondgate Green urban village, the plan talks about the redevelopment of existing warehouses between Bondgate Green, Firs Avenue and the river.
It refers to reducing the “visual intrusion of the over-dominant and bland warehousing.” It also mentions introducing a new public space within the site connecting between Bondgate Green and the river to “enhance the sense of place and permeability,” especially for pedestrians.
The plan also makes reference to introducing a signature building at the junction of Firs Avenue with Bondgate Green, to “enhance the legibility of the area.”
Enhancing the river Skell corridor is another theme explored here - protecting and enhancing habitats; connecting with riverside public rights of way; contributing to the repair and or replacement of the pedestrian footbridges at Alma weir and Firs Avenue ford, and the management of riverside tree planting.
Examining the proposal for a Bondgate Green urban village as a whole, the City Plan states: “This would be a good location for a hotel within walking distance of the city centre and cultural and arts spaces could be provided in some of the modern vacant substantial warehouse buildings. Owing to the proximity of the city centre, retail use (other than ancillary) is not supported in this location.”
The City Plan goes on to examine the opportunities that the creation of a Ure Bank urban village would create for Ripon. It states: “The City Council will encourage proposals for more efficient use of existing employment sites and their environmental improvement for small scale and modern business premises.
“As well as the development of the vacant site on Hutton Bank for business use. the City Council will encourage revitalisation of the former Maltings, a listed building, for business, community, recreational and cultural uses."
“The City Council supports the reuse and restoration of other heritage assets associated with the former railway, and would not like to see other development proposals constrain the separate reuse of these heritage assets.
“In the event that relocation of either of the two heavy industrial businesses is considered, the City Council would be supportive of proposals for residential redevelopment, in part so as to facilitate the reduction of heavy vehicle traffic on existing residential property.”
Discussing retail opportunities in this area, the plan states: “The inclusion of local convenience shopping either as a small-scale development or as part of wider development proposals is supported by the City Council owing to the lack of provision north of the city centre.
“South of the river, vacant land and the former Station Hotel are considered by the City Council to be suitable for a mix of hotel, residential uses and visitor parking.”
Next week’s Ripon Gazette will look at proposals for a Clotherholme urban village and examine policies which focus on strengthening the Ripon economy.