Controversial Stockeld housing plans back before council

The plans could see 210 homes built
The plans could see 210 homes built

A plan for 210 homes at Stockeld near Wetherby that was deferred last month is set to go before Harrogate Borough Council’s planning committee again on Tuesday, September 25.

The outline application for Stockeld Park owned land on the edge of Wetherby was set to be refused last month - but Harrogate’s solicitor called it in, causing outrage among the objectors, including councillors, who had travelled by bus from Wetherby.

A spokesman for HBC told the Wetherby News: “The borough council’s constitution gives the planning committee power to determine planning applications with some exceptions.

“One exception is where the reasons for refusal argued by the committee may put the council at risk in any subsequent appeal proceedings.

“In such circumstances, the solicitor to the council will advise that the application in question shall stand deferred and be brought back to a future meeting of the committee for further consideration.”

The council spokesman explained the reasons for the plans being deferred last month: “The council’s solicitor advised the planning committee that there were concerns about education and health provision and the potential impact on traffic.

“These concerns have been addressed in an updated report which will be considered by the committee next week.”

Wetherby Ward Councillors have vowed to continue the fight against proposals to build 210 new houses on the Harrogate side of the local authority boundary at Harrogate Road, Stockeld Park.

Councillors Alan Lamb, Gerald Wilkinson and Norma Harrington have organised another coach for local residents to attend the planning hearing on September 25 at 2pm so that people can show the strong opposition to the plans.

The councillors said in a statement to the News: “It is a disappointing situation but we remain determined to oppose this application as we firmly believe that it will have an overwhelmingly negative impact on Wetherby and surrounding villages.”

The main issues have centred on the impact of the development on Wetherby services such as doctors and dentists and infrastructure, with leaders claiming Wetherby could not cope.

Wetherby Town Council and Leeds City Council have written letters of objection to the plans and over 300 objections have been logged by local residents.

But Harrogate Borough Council planning officers are recommending permission be granted.

Wetherby Civic Society spokesman Peter Catton said: “It’s hard to judge what the effect of having 100 protestors against the application was but we believe that, at the very minimum, it hardens the councillors’ resolve and, at the best, sways the decision.

“We need a final push to get the decision which Wetherby and the surrounding villages need and would like to see even more protestors at this meeting.”

Better Wetherby Partnership spokesman Peter Swales said: “We would like to thank everyone for their support in opposing this speculative Trojan Horse development which will be the first with others to follow, unless we all take action now.”

And the West Yorkshire branch of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England added its objection to the plans.

Anyone wanting to take the coach, from the Cluster of Nuts car park in Wetherby at 1pm and returning at 3.30pm, should book a place at: alan.lamb@leeds.gov.uk.