Harrogate Local Plan

5 September 2017

Encouraging local participation within the planning process enjoys a cross-party consensus, which can seldom be said in the current political environment. In theory, there are a number of opportunities for local communities to be involved in shaping the way their local area develops. Whether its responding to public consultations for Local Plans, contributing to a Neighbourhood Plan or requesting that the Local Authority creates a list of facilities that are valuable to the local community, we have witnessed marked progress since the 1968 Town and Country Planning Act which, while introducing public participation, never outlined how it would work in practice.

Even for those with little interest in the plan making process, it would be hard to escape the impact of the announcement by Harrogate Borough Council of a further 25 housing sites to accommodate the 16,500 homes proposed across the district.

Whilst landowners and housebuilders alike are no doubt excited by the prospect, the locals have a different view with the district under siege from a plethora of placards stating no to this invasion. Communities can affect change and emotions are certainly running high, with different action groups poised to defend their own backyard with steely determination.

What we are experiencing in the Harrogate District is no different to what is being faced by communities up and down the Country, with draft Local Plans having triggered a tangible interest in the planning agenda. Britain has a housing crisis combined with a need to strengthen rural communities. Communities need homes as well as jobs so how do we plan sustainably in a way that pleases the masses? In areas like Harrogate this is a challenge; there isn’t the availability of large regeneration sites to accommodate the needs of the growing population so the identification of areas of high landscape value for development has understandably caused concern.

There is a clear need to create neighbourhoods. In order to do this good planning is essential, along with the requirement to communicate positive messages. Local Authorities don’t always get it right; the local plan consultation process is there to involve everyone and it’s admirable to see local residents and communities coming together and having their say on allocations. Planning Potential have experience of promoting land through the local plan process and making representations up and down the Country. Please contact your nearest office if you require any further information.