Testing Times Ahead for Harrogate’s New Planning Blueprint

The end of last month saw Harrogate Borough Council formally submit its new Local Plan offering to central government for scrutiny.

The Plan will be subject to an Examination by an independent Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.

The Inspector will be looking at the Plan’s policies and proposals to assess whether they are sound against a set of nationally-set tests.

The Plan contains ideas for the future development and growth of the District.

If it survives the Examination, the adopted version will supersede the collection of various existing documents that form the Borough’s legal Development Plan, some of which date back to the early 2000s and which were originally formulated in the mid-1990s!

So an up to date, overdue planning vision for Harrogate might be in prospect, not immediately but at least within the next 12 months.

The Council’s official submission documents will be available for inspection at most local libraries from Friday 7th September or online www.harrogate.gov.uk/localplansubmission.

If you need advice on these or how a proposal you have might be affected by this latest stage of the Local Plan process, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at Northern Planners.



We start this Month’s blog with some good news for one of Northern Planners’ clients. We have just received news that our appeal for Mr Gary Baines has been allowed by the Inspectorate. Mr Baines was wanting permission to develop a self-build property for his retirement in Rathmell, near Settle. His application, however, was turned down by Craven District Council on highway grounds. Despite a technical objection and statement of evidence by North Yorkshire County Council, Northern Planners managed to convince the Inspector that the existing access and access route is safe and suitable for the likely traffic that will be generated. Our Graduate Planner, Sophie said:

‘This is a victory for common sense and the principles set out in Manual for Streets regarding sensitive access design in rural areas. The County Council’s demands would have resulted in an over-engineered approach inappropriate to the local setting.’

We wish Gary all the best for the future. If you are struggling with any issue regarding the successful development of your site/project, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Halving the Affordable Housing Requirement








Each month we take a look at a recent significant local appeal decision to see what can be learnt and potentially applied to other cases. This time it is the turn of a 103-home scheme at Moorview Way in Skipton.

Inspector Anne Jordon thought that a developer’s profit level of between 18% and 19% would be sustainable in this case and that in relation to viability the development would be capable of sustaining the delivery of 40% affordable housing on site. However, she concluded that the Council’s demands for a 40% element of affordable housing could not be supported because there was no Local Plan policy to back it up. It didn’t help the Council either that their Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPD) document “Negotiating Affordable Housing Contributions August 2016”, had been the subject of a legal challenge and had been quashed by the High Court. Inspector Jordon accepted the developer’s unilateral offer of 20% affordable housing instead.

Neighbourhood Planning Bill will give more power to local communities

In news that will please many communities, the Government’s recently released Neighbourhood Planning Bill 2016-17 aims to support more housebuilding, provide more local say over developments and speed up the neighbourhood planning process.
The biggest change in the Bill requires Councils to take account of emerging neighbourhood development plans while determining planning applications, not just those that have been formally adopted following a referendum.
The new Bill will also introduce a variety of other changes to the neighbourhood planning system, including a more flexible process for altering neighbourhood plans. The technical consultation document explains that local planning authorities should be able to introduce minor adjustments to neighbourhood plans or orders “at any time without the need for public consultation, examination or referendum”, and proposes a new procedure for minor changes, as long as they are “not so significant or substantial as to change the nature of the plan”.
Another change proposed by the Government would put more pressure on local councils to involve local community while preparing local development plans.
Since introduction of neighbourhood planning around 2,000 communities have taken the decision to produce a neighbourhood development plan.
Get in touch with our friendly team if you would like to know more!

Harrogate Borough Council – A Change to Planning Obligations for Open Space and Village Halls.

Source: Alamy

Source: Alamy

In November 2014 the Government issued a ministerial statement setting out proposed changes to national policy in relation to Section 106 planning obligations, along with corresponding National Planning Policy Guidance (NPPG). These changes mean that Councils have not been requiring Planning Applications to pay commuted sums in relation to open spaces and village halls.

However, following a successful legal challenge by two local authorities, the government has now withdrawn the relevant text NPPG which means that Harrogate Borough Council will once again be seeking commuted sums in accordance with adopted Core Strategy Policy C1 ‘Inclusive Communities’ and associated Supplementary Planning Documents.

As from 1st October 2015 all applications received for new residential development will be subject to requirements set out in the policy. The only exception to this approach will be new housing developments of four or less dwellings within the settlements of Harrogate, Ripon and Knaresborough.

Let us know your thoughts or get in touch if you would like to know more!

Planning freedoms and more houses to buy!

(Picture: DBOX for Henderson Global Investors and MAKE)

(Picture: DBOX for Henderson Global Investors and MAKE)

This month the government have announced planning reforms to help satisfy the ever growing demand for houses and help create a more dynamic economy.

The UK has struggled to keep up with the increasing demand for new homes. This harms productivity and it frustrates the ambitions of thousands of people who would like to own their own home. The new reforms aim to change this and enable people to buy homes that they can afford.

The new reforms include the following key changes:

  • Introduction of a new zonal system for brownfield land

In the current system many brownfield sites have to go through a lengthy and detailed process in order to gain planning permission. The new reforms aim to remove these often unnecessary planning obstacles by creating statutory registers for brownfield land suitable for housing in England, as well as legislating to grant automatic planning permission in principle on brownfields sites identified on those registers (subject to the approval of some technical details).

  • Taking tougher action to ensure local authorities are using their powers to get Local Plans in place and make homes available for local people

This includes the publishing of league tables, setting out local authorities’ progress on providing a Local Plan for the jobs and homes needed locally as well as streamlining the length and preparation process of Local Plans.

  • Bringing forward proposals for stronger, fairer compulsory purchase powers, and devolution of major new planning powers to the Mayors of London and Manchester

The proposals include allowing the Mayor of London to call in planning applications of 50 homes or more, as well as allowing the Mayor of Greater Manchester to produce Development Corporations and promote Compulsory Purchase Orders.

  • Extending the Right to Buy to housing association tenants, and deliver 200,000 Starter Homes for first time buyers.

The Government maintains its commitment to deliver 200,000 Starter Homes by 2020, at a 20% discount for young first time buyers. In order to deliver this commitment the new reforms propose to extend the current exception site policy and strengthen the presumption in favour of Starter Homes developments as well as require local authorities to plan proactively for the delivery of Starter Homes. The government will also extend the Right to Buy opportunity to tenants of housing associations through the Housing Bill.

  • Restricting tax relief to ensure all individual landlords get the same level of tax relief for their finance costs

The current tax system supports landlords over and above ordinary homeowners. Landlords can deduct costs they incur when calculating the tax they pay on their rental income. The new reforms will restrict the relief on finance costs that landlords of residential property can get to the basic rate of tax. This restriction will be phased in over 4 years and will reduce the distorting effect the tax treatment of property has on investment.