We know our campaign to protect Rotary Wood is generating lots of questions so we've tried to address them here. If there are any further questions then please let us know via email or social media. Our main priorities are to ensure this issue is debated and that any actions are carried out in an open and transparent way.
Q1: Have you raised with your MP and what is their view?
A1: Yes, we wrote on 3rd January and await reply. Mr Jones was involved in the original planting.
Q2: Will this development also increase the number of HGVs going onto site?
A2: We know the current set up has regular HGVs 7 days per week, into the evenings on week days. We expect if capacity is increased then vehicles will also increase but we suspect this will need a further variation to current planning conditions.
Q3: Are there likely to be further planning applications submitted?
A3: Yes. The current design statement says a further application could follow to increase car parking capacity. As A2 we also expected a request will also be made to increase frequency of HGVs.
Q4: How can planning be approved on land owned by Harrogate Council?
A4: Under planning legislation you do not need to have a legal right to build on land to get permission. We know that Harrogate Council and Harrogate Spring Water are in discussions regarding sale or lease of that land.
Q5: How many jobs will this create so is the loss of green space justified?
A5: It is proposed that 32 new jobs could be created – 53% office based and 47% on the production floor. Does this justify the loss of green space is difficult to assess but thought should be given the sustainability of such a business.
Q6: Are the comments made in the press all correct. If not how can you challenge them?
A6: We disagree with many comments that have been made in the press – and we know several our members do too. We can counter on social media but often different audiences. We are planning to product a “Fact v Fake News” article later this week.
Q7: If planning is granted is that it – or are there other processes to follow?
A7: This is complicated. The current variation to planning conditions to increase the size of extension should then be followed by a full planning application so could be 2 challenges we ca make. However, even if planning is approved Harrogate Council will need to agree to sell/lease the land. We will request a full public consultation on this but need legal support on this.
Q8: What can we do to help? Should we object to the planning applications?
A8: We are still waiting for clarifications from Harrogate Council planning department so suggesting people wait for full information before raising any objections. If needed we will request a extension to the 2nd Feb deadline. At this stage we really need funding for our legal support via https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/pinewoods/.
Q9: Didn't Harrogate Council vote to become greener and isn’t this a contradiction?
A9: Yes, it did quoting the below. It will be interesting to see how the council justify any disposal of green space to support what some people see an unsustainable product
“I believe it is the most radical environmental manifesto put forward by a borough council ever and will place us at the forefront of the green movement in the public sector.” Council Leader Richard Cooper
Q10: Do the plans include making available any equivalent space/habitat area for wildlife and planting the same number of trees of similar maturity?
A10: There is a condition (10) of the outline planning that any loss should be replaced 2 for 1. We have yet to see any details of these proposal and have not been consulted on this.
Q11: What are HSW planning to do to mitigate the loss of the green space. Are they planning on providing a replacement area, sponsoring a new/additional planted area within the town, or other remedial work (other than 'planting trees elsewhere')?
A11: As Q10 this was a condition of the outline planning but have not seen details. The councils own ecologist has raised concerns on these here. https://docs.harrogate.gov.uk/NorthgatePublicDocs/09691965.pdf
Q12: With public opinion now increasingly in favour of actively discouraging single-use plastic, should Harrogate Council be giving its support to this proposed development?
A12: Our view is clearly no, and we are pleased the council has now agreed to defer this to the planning committee. As such the decision will now be with elected councillors.