Letter: Harrogate Penny Pot Lane saga not at an end

NADV 1401146AM3 Penny Pot Lane. (1401146AM3)
NADV 1401146AM3 Penny Pot Lane. (1401146AM3)

Housing - Not the end of the Penny Pot saga

As reported on the front page of last week’s edition of this newspaper, our planning committee refused the previously deferred application for 600 homes on Penny Pot Lane.

The committee showed resolve in following their principles and common sense, rejecting the proposal by 10 votes with six abstentions on the crucial grounds of access.

However, this welcome result is not yet the end of the saga for it now has to go to committee once again – this time to the referral committee made up of a different group of councillors hitherto not involved in the decision making.

Why is this the case? Simply because the decision by our (democratically elected) planning committee went against the advice and wishes of the HBC planners who are clearly more concerned with fulfilling (to overflowing, it seems) the housing requirement for the five-year plan, regardless of the fact that currently the shortfall for the district is in the region of 115 homes.

Therefore, would not approving 600 homes be taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut? This development would be the largest housing development of the town of Harrogate encroaching deeper into the countryside than at any time in the town’s history!

The planning department representative from NYCC highways and the developer’s agent claim that this proposed 600 house cul-de –sac with its single entry/egress point onto rural Penny Pot Lane would cause ‘little material impact to traffic’.

They claim, based on “theoretical modelling” that providing a wide enough junction out of the development into Penny Pot Lane will suffice. This is ridiculous as however this junction is designed, it would still be feeding into three bottlenecks!

1. Penny Pot Lane with its dangerous right hand bend, two narrow bridges, one of which is Grade II listed, single file and on a three way traffic light system

2. The sharp bend and steep bank at Pot Bank

3. Gridlocked Skipton Road which has Tesco coming!
It is inevitable that the number of cars, at a conservative estimate in excess of 1000 emerging from the development, feeding into these country lanes and into the already gridlocked Skipton Road will cause more than ‘material impact’ to our town.

We have carried out our own traffic counts at peak times and have submitted the figures, however what is now required is an independent highway review.
Is there anyone reading this who would consider helping us? We need professional advice from the Harrogate community as the traffic impact of this mass development will have its effect throughout our already congested town. Time is short as the referral committee meet on March 6.

Catherine Wright

QERA Action Group

All help offered will be in the strictest confidence. Please contact qeraactiongroup@gmail.com