Work to start on £100m resort?

An artist's impression of the proposed �100m Flaxby Country Resort near Harrogate.
An artist's impression of the proposed �100m Flaxby Country Resort near Harrogate.

FOLLOWING lengthy discussions with North Yorkshire County Council, work could begin on the £100m golf resort at Flaxby, near Knaresborough this month.

Repeated delays have seen moves to get the work underway come to a standstill as York-based company, The Skelwith Group, who are behind the plans to create the luxury five-star hotel development, continue to negotiate with councillors to ensure major highway improvements are adequate to cope with the anticipated volume in traffic that the complex is expected to bring.

Planning permission for the multi-million pound site, which will be situated just off the A59 York road, and close to the A1, was given more than 12 months ago. The vision for the site was first unveiled three years ago in 2008.

The Skelwith Group’s managing director, Mr Paul Ellis admitted he was disappointed that work had not yet started on the hotel even though the site was prepared last summer in readiness for building work to begin.

“We are in the final discussions with all parties to sign the legal agreements which will allow us to work properly on the Flaxby site, and subject to the final sign off, we hope to make a start in July,” said Mr Ellis.

“It has been a frustrating time but we are very confident the complex legal agreements will be signed imminently. Dealing with so many organisations has been a challenge, and we are pleased we are very nearly at the end of the lengthy process.

“The Flaxby Country Resort is a fantastic project that has been on the cards for a long time so we will be absolutely delighted to deliver a development that we feel will give the local and regional economy a huge boost in these uncertain times.”

The issues surrounding the delays to the building work centre on Section 106 and 278 legal agreements.

A spokesperson for NYCC said although discussions were progressing well, the negotiations had not yet reached the stage to allow work to begin.

Proposals include a £3m overhaul of the A59 Knaresborough to York road, with a new roundabout to service the site and an extra lane created up to junction 47 of the A1, as part of the enabling works for the main hotel.

Highways officials at NYCC have stressed there is a need to monitor traffic flows over the next decade to establish if more upgrades are needed. Traffic is now due to be monitored over a ten-year period through an electronic system run by the county council.

The results could lead to major improvements to the highways network surrounding the Flaxby site, such as introducing full or part-time signals at the junction 47 roundabout. If traffic flows to the site increase dramatically, another option could see the junction’s slip road to the A1 widened.

The five star hotel, which will have rooms available for up to £800 a night, will be set in 283 acres of woodland. The development is due to include four helipads, three restaurants, a luxury spa complex, bars and boutiques. It is expected that construction will take up to 18 months before the hotel is fully operational and estimated that once open, the business will employ more than 200 people.