The trio behind the North East’s successful Wynward Park development recently submitted a planning application for Flaxby Park, a new sustainable housing development on the site of a disused golf club near Harrogate.
The planning application, submitted last month, includes 2,750 homes, including a substantial self-build element, as well as a retirement village, two primary schools, GP surgery and sports facilities, based around a new village centre.
Set in 430 acres of landscaped parkland and close to the A1, the site is owned by Flaxby Park Ltd. This is made up of businesswoman Ann Gloag and regeneration experts Chris Musgrave and Trevor Cartner, who created Wynyard Park in the North East.
If granted planning, the self-build opportunities will be delivered using a serviced plot model, based on the Wynyard Park experience that saw 60 plots sold across three distinct areas of the site. This proved to be one of the most popular elements of the Wynyard scheme.
Development director Matt Johnson, Flaxby Park Ltd, said: “Our business model for self-build at Wynyard is proven, with the plots set within mini-gated communities. These appealed, and were achievable, to a wide range of people who were able to build an exclusive high-end home that they’d designed themselves.
“In the Harrogate district self-build opportunities are few and far between, but they will be a key feature of Flaxby Park. Our intention is to deliver a number of service plots for the self-build and custom build markets.
“Our self-build areas will maximise the natural contours of the surrounding landscape and will be made up of pods of developments opportunities, with no more than 15 homes in each area. These will all be privately accessed via a secured entrance gate.
“We intend to provide all infrastructure, from roads to utility connections, and the buyer gets detailed planning to build their own dream home. A design guide will ensure consistencies are maintained in fundamental aspects of the properties, such as the developable footprint ratios of plots, ridge heights and construction time frames.
“When this is combined with Flaxby Park’s exceptional design, which draws on the principles found in many of North Yorkshire’s finest villages teamed with large areas of open space, it will be a very special place to live. It offers self-builders a completely unique opportunity.”
However, following the application, Flaxby Park Ltd legally challenged Harrogate District Council’s development committee’s recommendations to proceed with its Draft Local Plan.
The company instructed solicitors due to perceived legal flaws surrounding the decision to recommend an uncertain, undefined and un-costed new ‘broad location’ for development at Green Hammerton.
Matt explains: “The Council’s District Development Committee is promoting a scheme that we feel has no proven sustainability, deliverability or viability credentials.
“We feel that 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.”
As a result, solicitors have written to the principal planning policy manger, head of legal services and the chief executive of Harrogate Borough Council outlining numerous legal issues.
“These include what Flaxby Park Ltd see as an undeclared and inappropriate bias towards the new broad location, which could result in significant gain to the County Council that has not been officially declared or disclosed.
Matt adds: “We feel there is a serious level of concern regarding the whole process of the Draft Local Plan. 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.”
In response Harrogate District Council issued a statement by Councillor Rebecca Burnett, cabinet member for planning, saying: “We are in receipt of a letter from lawyers representing Flaxby Park Ltd, which we are carefully considering and will respond to in detail in due course.
“However, we do not believe there are any legal flaws in the local plan process, nor do we accept that a new development in the broad Green Hammerton area isn’t sustainable or deliverable.”
Whatever the outcome for Flaxby Park, the experiences of Wynyard proves the appeal of premium serviced plots, and it would be good to see self-build plots included in more sites. I hope that should Harrogate DC not grant permission, that it is able to provision a similar number of serviced plots elsewhere, either as part of Green Hamerton or across a range of sites. I eagerly await for the outcome of this application!