Local Plan – Next Stage - Introduction
You’ll all be aware that we’re in the final stage of consultation about changes or Major Modifications to the local plan. For us this means PN17 and PN19 have been removed by HBC in line with the inspector’s letter. This won’t stop others from across the borough commenting against these withdrawals, so please state you’re in favour of the removal of PN17 and PN19 too.
What still remains is a somewhat reduced PN18. This change has not been requested by the inspector but is a token gesture from HBC so that they hope they can’t be attacked on coalescence grounds as was the case with housing for PN19. In logical minds, HBC’s new PN18 is still so very close to coalescence, that as the inspector stated before, it would still be little more than a stone’s throw from Harrogate.
Inadvertently, in reducing PN18, HBC have withdrawn the only part of the site where although buildings would ruin the landscape and coalesce, they would not directly mask the view of the grade II* listed viaduct. That now means that their proposal is to place buildings where they would mask the views of the viaduct as they would be on higher ground. The parish council is attempting to prove this would be in contravention of HBC’s own ruling that the viaduct must be able to be seen from within the PN18 site and beyond and through it. We and our consultants are working on this.
Another really significant factor is that HBC included a huge flexibility factor in its employment site calculations. This was exposed (and ridiculed) at the public examination as being around double what was actually specified by the Objectively Assessed Need document. IF PN18 were excluded completely from the employment site list, this would go a long way in bringing this flexibility factor down to realistic proportions. It’s not the inspector’s job to rewrite the local plan but he gave rulings on housing which we all assumed would be followed by a similar letter on employment. The reasons for removing PN19 (coalescence, disproportionate size compared to Pannal, destruction of the SLA, etc.) should have been applied by HBC to PN18 also, just across the road. They failed to do so.
Please feel free to use this and the other reasons suggested in the help document for your comments and remember it’s the effect of the changes that are critical, not repetition of the original objections. As soon as we get additional professional information against the changes, we’ll let you know about them. However, don’t let that stop you commenting now.
The deadline for replies is 4.30pm on Friday, September 20th 2019, so you still don’t have much time with the holidays in the way. Our parishioners’ efforts carried a lot of weight for PN17 and PN19 with the inspector. There has been a slight shift by HBC on PN18 but we need all of it removed – comment now please.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us - firstname.lastname@example.org
LOCAL PLAN MAIN MODIFICATIONS CONSULTATION GUIDE
Following the submission of the new Harrogate District Local Plan for examination in August last year and communication from the Government Inspector following the hearings that he held earlier this year, Harrogate Borough Council have made changes to the plan. These have been published for consultation within a ‘Schedule of Main Modifications’. The responses to this consultation will be considered by the Planning Inspector as part of the ongoing examination process.
As far as the modifications relate to Pannal, the main changes are the removal of the PN17 (Spring Lane) and PN19 (Leeds Road behind St Robert’s Church) housing allocations from the plan and the reduction in site area and floor area for the PN18 (Leeds Road adjacent to Mercedes) employment allocation. The very large employment allocation does however remain on Leeds Road.
The relevant documents and forms for the consultation are available from locations including:
• The Council’s consultation portal at https://consult.harrogate.gov.uk
• Civic Centre, St Luke’s Mount, Harrogate, HG1 2AE. Opening hours 8.30am to 5.00pm Monday to Thursdays and 8.30am to 4.30pm on Fridays
• Libraries throughout the district. https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/local-libraries
At this stage of the process, comments can only be submitted on the Schedule of Main Modifications and certain other related documents. This is not an opportunity to make comments on other aspects of the plan. Within the Schedule of Main Modifications, text that is proposed to be deleted is indicated by strikethrough, and text that is proposed to be inserted is underlined.
If you submitted representations during previous consultations on the plan, these have already been considered and there is no need to submit them again. Comments which do not relate to the Main Modifications proposed to the plan will not be considered by the Inspector.
Comments should focus on whether the Main Modifications to the Local Plan are ‘sound’. That is, whether the plan (with modifications) is positively prepared (based on a strategy which seeks to meet objectively assessed requirements and consistent with achieving sustainable development), justified (the most appropriate strategy when considered against the reasonable alternatives, based on proportionate evidence), effective (deliverable) and consistent with national policy. Comment can also be made on legal and procedural compliance, and conformity with Duty to Cooperate.
As far as this relates to Pannal, the Parish Council intends to comment on all our site changes PN17, PN18, PN19 and PN20 but specifically here on PN18:
• No need whatsoever for the revised site PN18 in view of the excessive over- capacity for employment use (admitted by HBC) and no reductions elsewhere in employment sites
• Effective coalescence of Pannal and Harrogate despite marginal reduction in size of site
• Previous rejection of permission for Rugby Club on the same site as building then was considered inappropriate, so an industrial estate would be much worse.
• The landscape, heritage and transport impacts – e.g. Special Landscape Area, public transport is of little use here
• Obscuring Gateway View of Grade II* listed viaduct. Perversely, HBC’s major modification to this site would make this worse
• There are much better places to build sheds & offices with direct access to the A1M to fulfil employment use
• Pecuniary gain for HBC should not be the driving force for the sale of Borough Council owned land when it was designated as protection for the approaches to Harrogate
• Cannot fill existing commercial plans, so PN18 not needed as the other sites will meet and exceed demand.
• Traffic impacts on A61 24/7 have not been satisfactorily addressed during or since the public examination even with a reduced area for employment use.
• Previous undertaking of HBC forefathers to protect this green lung (now SLA) since 1963 for posterity is even more relevant, given excessive employment site designation which has only marginally changed.
• Don’t forget to reaffirm deletion of PN17 and PN19 from the plan as being a necessity.
Using the Council's Main Modifications Consultation Form is the best way (albeit complex!) to ensure that responses are structured to be consistent with the examination process. A separate form will need to be completed for every Modification you wish to comment upon. You’ll need to click on MM66 (page 261) for PN17 and PN19 and MM143 (page 427) for PN18.
Failing that, please note comments can be emailed to email@example.com or posted to Planning Policy, Planning and Development, Harrogate Borough Council, PO Box 787, Harrogate, HG1 9RW. The revised deadline is Friday, 20th September 2019
In order to submit comments via the portal you will need to be registered and logged into the system.
All representations must include your name and postal address.
This objection has been prepared by Pannal and Burn Bridge Parish Council (the “Parish Council”) in response to the planning Appeal considered at its 10th September 2019 Planning Committee Meeting for the Permission in Principle erection of up to 5 dwellings and formation of parking at land adjacent to Pannal Methodist Church, Spring Lane, Pannal
Appeal Reference APP / E2734 / W / 19 / 3234460.
The Parish Council objects to the Appeal and now submits, as resolved at the Meeting, the grounds as set out below:
In reiteration of their case, the Parish Council requests that its consolidated objections are taken into account in relation to the above Appeal (original application made under 19 / 01889 / PIP) and in full support of Harrogate Borough Council’s (HBC) application refusal (6th June 2019) as follows:
1) “The proposed development would cause significant harm to the landscape character of the Crimple Valley Special Landscape Area and to the character and setting of the Pannal village. Additionally, it would cause harm to the setting of Spring Lane Farm and Pannal Methodist Church, which are non-designated Heritage Assets. This harm would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits of the proposal. The proposal is therefore contrary to saved policies C2, C9 and HD20 of the local plan, policies SG4 and EQ2 of the Core Strategy and policy NE4 of the emerging local plan, as well as to advice in the National Planning Policy Framework.”
The above is true now, as it was three months ago. The appellant’s documented support, made by consultants Johnson Mowat in their Appeal Statement, that a provision of, basically, some additional trees with hedges would be sufficient to negate Harrogate Borough Council’s original and considerable concerns seems extraordinary.
2) The Inspector – following his examination of the Draft Local Plan – judged that site PN17 “is a very prominent and exposed site in the Special Landscape Area (and that) development here would be likely to cause significant harm and harm to heritage assets”.
In recognition that there was no need for development in this area, he instructed HBC to remove PN17 (in its entirety) from the Draft Local Plan. This Appeal pursuit flies in the face of the Inspector’s judgement and instruction which it is seeking to subvert. The Inspector’s comments in relation to PN17 are a material consideration.
Further, the Inspector’s letter went on to say “I would write with regard to the proposed residential allocations about which I continued to have concerns. (The requested information . . .below.) It is to be read in the context of the plan’s considerable oversupply of housing and, thus, there being no need for the harms that would be likely to arise from their allocation.”
The five-year housing supply is over-subscribed and fulfilled elsewhere therefore there is no substantive reason for this site’s development, indeed, the planning application and Appeal are in direct conflict with the carefully considered judgements of the Local Plan Inspector and Harrogate Borough Council.
Johnson Mowat’s Appeal Statement claims (Reference 2.19) that the emerging Local Plan makes a windfall provision towards the 97 dwellings / annum and that the site in question “can make an important contribution to meeting the housing requirement” is insupportable when many other sites would lend themselves more appropriately to development of this provision and would not carry the constraints listed here. They go on to say (Reference 3.12) that “It is acknowledged that the site is greenfield land and lies outside of the existing built form of Pannal”. Their accuracy here is refreshing but makes no acknowledgement to the Inspector’s recognition of HBC’s over-estimation of housing development.
Johnson Mowat re-state the potential provision as accommodating (Reference 2.22) a “single point of vehicular access from Yew Tree Lane” into the proposed (11-space) car park which effectively surrounds Wesley Cottage. This can only be viewed as a very real intrusion into Wesley Cottage’s privacy with associated illumination proving a highly likely nuisance factor and must therefore be taken as a material consideration.
The original statement is repeated in Johnson Mowat’s Appeal Statement (Reference 2.22) that “Provision of a 11-space car park, at the point of access, to act as a drop off/pick up and car park area for the existing Burn Bridge Nursery and Pre-School and users of Pannal Methodist Church” will be made. Given their reiteration, the Parish Council wishes to restate their original comment:
“We have discussed the car park offer with both the Church Committee and the Pre-School Nursery Head who is their tenant (with a renewable lease). They have confirmed there has been no discussion prior to this application submission with either party nor have they expressed the need for this “benefit” worthy of their approval. The Church has therefore adopted a neutral stance on this offer – neither “wanted “nor “unwanted” within the area.”
In addition, “The Nursery sees such a proposal as an impractical suggestion and an unsafe way to drop off or collect young children. Access would still need to be around the corner onto the roadside with traffic on Yew Tree Lane creating an ill thought out hazard. We consider this detail to be not only an ill-judged inducement to “court favour” but a transparent camouflage for the concept of building 5 houses in the Special Landscape Area (SLA) and PN17.”
5) Johnson Mowat make reference to - and place much credence on - the following in their assumption that it is a material consideration:
“Appeal Decision – Land at Rossett Green Lane, Harrogate Appeal Ref: APP/E2734/W/17/3177793 3.51 Of relevance to this Appeal proposal, a planning application for the residential development of up to 14 dwellings on a site on Rossett Green Lane in Rossett Green was awarded planning permission on 28th September 2018 on appeal.”
The Parish Council deem this successful Appeal as a totally inappropriate comparison. The Appeal decision was very much based on site specific circumstances and, as such, the criteria bear no relevance to the Spring Lane Farm site which is situated in the (same) Special Landscape Area BUT within the (now recommended for removal) PN17 site.
Johnson Mowat seemingly make a direct contradiction in their (Reference 3.56) statement “The Rossett Green Lane and Spring Lane residential proposals are different in scale (Rossett Lane has been approved for up to 14 dwellings and the Spring Lane proposals amount to up to 5 dwellings) and thus a direct comparison in terms of landscape impact cannot be made”. The Parish Council rests its case on this particular point.
6) It is interesting that Johnson Mowat make no reference to the Outline Application (19 / 00318 / OUT) for 5 no dwellings at Rossett Green Lane which was refused by Harrogate Borough Council in March 2019 because “The proposal would have a significant adverse impact on landscape character and visual amenity, creating a prominent and intrusive incursion of built development into the Crimple Valley Special Landscape Area; contrary to saved policies HD20, C2 and C9 of the Harrogate District Local Plan and policies SG4 and EQ2 of the Harrogate District Core Strategy DPD, along with supplementary planning guidance contained within the Council’s Landscape Character Assessment (2004).
7) Reference 3.27 of the Johnson Mowat Appeal Statement states “Furthermore, the proposals would also comply with the emerging Local Plan Policy NE4 which seeks to ensure that development proposals are linked to existing settlements and are designated to integrate the urban edge with the countryside and where appropriate enhance the appearance of the urban fringe”. An extraordinary statement. There can be no “linkage” with an existing settlement – the proposed 5 dwellings and 11-space car park would simply intrude into and between the Methodist Chapel and Wesley Cottage with Spring Lane Farm. The current “urban fringe” is quite perfect as it is with no enhancement possible.
8) Reference 4.21 “As with any greenfield site, development will introduce changes to the area, have some urbanising effects and it will involve the loss of some agricultural land; however, this is to be expected. . .” The Inspector recognised these facts clearly stated by Johnson Mowat which is why he recommended to Harrogate Borough Council that Site PN17 be removed from the Local Plan.
In their 5.3 conclusion Johnson Mowat state “the Appeal site can make an immediate contribution towards boosting the five-year housing land supply. . .”, curious that this is reiterated in their Appeal Statement when, duplicated for convenience, the Inspector’s statement was “It is to be read in the context of the plan’s considerable oversupply of housing and, thus, there being no need for the harms that would be likely to arise from their allocation.”
1The landowner is progressively giving notice to take back sections of PN17 from the tenant farmer – the most likely purpose of which would seem to be to seek development of the whole area over time. This is the “thin end of the wedge”.
In summary, the Parish Council makes a plea for recognition that there are no exceptional circumstances that should apply for this application and refusal would be consistent with other recent refusals of permission of residential development on the edge of the Crimple Valley SLA which have been firmly supported not only by the Planning Inspectorate but also by the Inspector in his recommendation that PN17 be removed in its entirety from the Local Plan.
Additionally, local people, acting as independent groups and through the Parish Council, with their in-depth knowledge of local conditions, are best positioned to comment on whether their areas are able to absorb new developments. The amount of local opposition generated by this application, supported by the local action group’s professional advice, supports the Parish Council’s view that the site is not suitable for development and permission should be refused.
Signed: J Marlow (Parish Clerk)
17th September 2019
For D Oswin, Chairman, Pannal and Burn Bridge Parish Council Planning Committee