With the Better Wetherby Partnership
Harrogate Borough Council (HBC) recently published a consultation on a proposed new settlement known as Maltkiln, which is for up to 4,000 homes to be built around Cattal railway station.
Cattal is less than 5 miles from the centre of Wetherby, around a 10 minute drive by car. Better Wetherby’s concern is that much of the pressure from this huge scheme will fall on Wetherby.
Based on current figures for car ownership per household, this development is likely to generate in the region of some 6,500 additional cars. Having regard to the fact that there is an absence of good bus services, an infrequent train service to either York or Harrogate, the lack of two-track rail facilities and the relatively short distance to the A1 Motorway, the number of households needing a car will probably exceed that estimate. This gives rise not only to probable congestion on the A59 at peak times, but also a serious issue with emissions.
The impact on Wetherby will undoubtedly be considerable. The town already suffers extensive through traffic to the A1 Motorway and building is due to start in the near future on a new settlement of 1100 homes opposite the Racecourse. Over the next decade or so, this will bring hundreds of extra vehicles onto the town’s already congested roads. The proposed Maltkiln scheme will add significantly to the existing highway problems and lack of parking spaces. Already high levels of air pollution from exhaust emissions in the town centre will be made even worse. Wetherby’s local services such as doctors, dentists and schools are already overstretched, with secondary school pupils being bussed in large numbers to Harrogate. All this with a further 1100 homes on Racecourse Approach yet to come.
Another serious concern is that HBC is apparently preparing to ditch its own policy on Affordable Housing provision from 40% of new developments to 20%, that this will then form a requirement for all new developments which opens the floodgates across the area. This, at a time when Central Government requirements are the opposite, where the aim is to make house ownership easier for first time buyers and the socially less well off. Chair of Better Wetherby, Roger Owen said “Frankly, this smacks of double standards, bordering on elitism. More importantly, it flies in the face of Central Government policies to get the housing market open to first time buyers and entry onto the housing ladder.”
The Better Wetherby Steering Group have formally submitted representations to HBC (see www.betterwetherby.com/maltkiln-hbc-submission.html) outlining their concerns and objections about the scheme. Mr Owen added “If this huge new Maltkiln settlement is allowed to go ahead, the consequences for Wetherby, and the quality of life for residents, will be considerable. Although there may well be a Public Inquiry at some future date, I encourage Wetherby residents to consider the implications the scheme will have for the town and send their comments/responses to HBC by the deadline of 14th November”.
Details can be found on the HBC website at: www.harrogate.gov.uk/newsettlementdpd/ Comments/ responses can be made, by the deadline of 14th November, directly onto the HBC portal, or in writing using a comment form.
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