Developer behind Harrogate sustainable village scheme to legally challenge council’s local plan

The company planning to transform a disused golf course into a sustainable housing development says it is legally challenging Harrogate Council’s decision to support a Draft Local Plan which recommends another “uncertain” development.

Flaxby Park has instructed solicitors as a result of what it says are legal flaws surrounding the decision to recommend “an uncertain, undefined and un-costed new ‘broad location’” for development at Green Hammerton.

The dispute centres around Harrogate Council putting forward a proposal for a 3,000 home settlement as part of its attempts to meet a target of building 11,500 new homes in the district by 2035.

However, residents from Green Hammerton and Kirk Hammerton have argued that the a proposed settlement should instead be based on the former golf course alongside the A59 and A1 at Flaxby.

Development director Matt Johnson, from Flaxby Park, said: “The Council’s District Development Committee is promoting a scheme that has no proven sustainability, deliverability or viability credentials.

“There is a huge amount of public opposition to the recommendation, and clear evidence that this location has not been properly or objectively considered, therefore the whole Local Plan process is at risk of legal challenge.”

Solicitors have written to the principal planning policy manger, head of legal services and the chief executive of Harrogate Council outlining legal flaws.

Flaxby Park claims these include an undeclared and inappropriate bias towards the new location.

Johnson added: “There is a serious level of concern regarding the whole process of the Draft Local Plan and this was clearly evident at the recent District Development Committee, where officers failed to even present the new settlement plan, despite displaying and acknowledging every other hamlet, village, and town allocation in the borough. This is extremely concerning given the new settlement is the largest development ever to happen to Harrogate.”

Flaxby Park’s planning application for 2,750 homes, a retirement village, two primary schools, a GP surgery, sports facilities and a new village centre were submitted for approval last month.

The development company said it would dedicated  almost half of the 430 acre site to public green-space, woodland, parks and green corridors.

It has also made provisions to improve access at the entrance of the site onto the A59, which already benefits from the new purpose-built £4m roundabout. In addition, the former Goldsborough Railway Station would be reopened, offering direct links to Leeds and York. has approached Harrogate Council for comment.