As a Spofforth grandparent who spends many happy hours at Ginny Greenholes Play Area and Nature Reserve, I would like to thank you for your well informed article on the plans of David Holmes Ltd (Wetherby News, November 26).
I also urge all your readers to discover more about our plight by looking at the planning statements submitted by the developer.
Both the original statement (ref. no. 15/01992/OUT) and the re-submission (ref no. 15/04477/OUT) are available on the public access website of Harrogate Borough Council’s planning department - as part of the documents sections for these applications.
These planning statements go way beyond the usual ‘developer’s spin’.
The original statement represents the need to build eco houses as the justification for development.
The impact on Ginny Greenholes is ignored except on the site plan which shows a new access road through the existing safe entry area, the visitors’ bike racks, badger log feature and insect hotel.
There is even an image of a car driving though the safe entry area into the development where there is ample parking/garage space for at least 16 more cars and extra for visitors.
The development, on the other hand, has its own private, traffic free nature reserve with ‘pond’.
The re-submitted planning statement represents the importance of national targets for house building as the main justification for the development. Harrogate Borough Council, it seems, will not meet these targets unless they build five houses on this land.
These, however, no longer need to be eco houses – sustainable homes are now the thing.
At least the issue of site access is now raised. However the new roadway is misrepresented as being ‘To the South of the children’s play area’. This ignores the vital fact that road would go through Ginny Greenholes.
Furthermore, important information is withheld about a parcel of land owned by the developer which could offer alternative access to the site which would not compromise the safe access to Ginny Greenholes.
Finally, the site plan offers a strange revision to the development’s private nature reserve and ‘pond’ which is now shown in yellow (the colour used for Ginny Greenholes).
Is this an offer of compensation for lost land? It seems unlikely as the boundaries remain in place.
In conclusion, the developer makes the staggering claim that his proposal has ‘none of the adverse impacts that might significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits’ - a key proviso of planning policy.
It is clear to me that the road and pond would have very adverse impacts on the health and safety of children from Spofforth and the wider locality who rely on Ginny Greenholes as their special play area and nature reserve.
This significantly outweighs the benefit of five houses - which could be built anywhere.
Ginny Greenholes, on the other hand, is unique in this area and cannot be moved and replaced.