The government’s housing agency Homes England has acquired two sites in Harrogate, North Yorkshire for the development of over 800 new family homes.
Homes England has acquired a 23 hectare site in Ripon called West Lane, which has outline planning consent for 390 new homes. including 156 affordable homes.
It has also bought the 28 hectare Bluecoat Park site in Harrogate. The site has outline planning consent for 450 new homes which is due to expire this month.
Homes England’s intervention will help secure the delivery of the new homes, with the agency intending to submit a new planning application for Bluecoat Park later this year. Both sites are outlined in Harrogate Borough Council’s Local Plan but have stalled for various reasons.
Stephen Kinsella, chief land and development officer at Homes England, said: “By purchasing these two sites, we’re once again showing our commitment to step in, unlock land and get new homes built where they are most needed.
“Following unsuccessful attempts by the market to deliver these sites, our intervention means these homes will be delivered sooner and with high standards of design.
“We have a strong relationship with Harrogate Borough Council, and we look forward to working with them on our plans for the two sites.”
Both West Lane and Bluecoat Park will have provision for 40% affordable homes, helping to meet demand in the borough.
The developments offer the chance to bring forward affordable housing in a part of the country with high affordability pressures.
Homes England will work with Harrogate Borough Council as well as other local stakeholders on plans for both sites over the coming months.
Trevor Watson, director of economy and culture at Harrogate Borough Council, said: “We welcome Homes England’s involvement in seeking to bring forward and unlock these stalled sites.
“They are important in helping to deliver our strategic objective to provide new homes that meet the needs of the district.”
The housing minister Christopher Pincher MP said: “This is fantastic news for Harrogate and a realisation of this government’s mission to deliver quality, affordable homes, that are fit for future generations.
“I look forward to seeing the plans these communities develop take shape over the coming months.”
These two acquisitions by Homes England are just the latest developments that the agency is seeking to proceed in Harrogate.
Last year Homes England submitted a planning submission to redevelop Ripon Barracks to create up to 1,300 homes, as well as local infrastructure such as a primary school, sports pitches and local retail facilities.