WITH reference to plans for 42 homes off Broughton Road, Skipton, obviously, we are deeply disappointed with the decision of Craven District Council's planning committee to refuse our client’s application against officer recommendation, particularly as it is a committed housing site in the local plan and offered numerous benefits for the local area in terms of delivering high quality housing of various sizes, significant affordable housing provision, on-site open space with associated ecological benefits, and major financial contributions towards education, and off-site open space and sports provision.

We were also frustrated that we were not afforded an opportunity to answer many queries arising during the discussion that we feel were not answered adequately by officers, specifically in respect of drainage, the education contribution and energy efficiency.

We consider that we could have provided the necessary clarity on these matters that members were evidently seeking and not receiving from their officers.

We would also question why, given the access was a key issue of the debate and we understand this was known in advance, a highways officer from the Local Highways Authority was not present to provide an independent view to members and explain their satisfaction with the access arrangements. Indeed, I am struggling to recall the last time I attended a planning committee without a highways officer present. In terms of the application generally, the council’s poor handling of it has left a very sour taste.

Having submitted the application in January 2019, it has taken nearly two and a half years and great expense to our client to even reach committee, having had to push hard to keep it barely moving.

What is doubly frustrating is there was a suggestion about an approval being imminent as far back as December 2019, long before Covid restrictions, and indeed we were subsequently issued a draft consent in July 2020, at which point our client had a Section 106 legal agreement drawn up and signed in early 2021, which in normal circumstances would release the formal planning consent.

This was not the case unfortunately, as we had to resolve a late Environment Agency objection with the council having seemingly failed to consult them. This was resolved fairly swiftly and easily, and yet we still saw the application return to a committee decision.

Quite how our client can be issued a draft consent in July 2020 only for the application to be heard at committee nearly a year later, having signed a S.106 legal agreement and despite the scheme not changing substantively in the intervening period, is baffling.

We reasonably assumed that the issuing of the draft consent took place after the committee call-in period for members had been negotiated.

Speaking personally, I have not experienced such a badly handled application before in 16 years as a planner, and it goes without saying that our client will appeal the decision and will pursue costs against the council.

David Marjoram, MRTPI

Principal Planner

ELG Planning,


In response, Neville Watson, Craven District Council’s planning manager, said: “The application was recommended for approval and was referred to the Planning Committee by a local ward member, Councillor Rose.

“At the meeting on 17 May, the applicant was given the opportunity to address the committee. Members then debated the application thoroughly for two hours.

“North Yorkshire County Council’s Highway Authority raised no objections to the proposals and their officers’ comments were reported in detail to the committee.

“The application was refused on grounds of overdevelopment, adverse visual impact on the entrance to Skipton, together with concerns about highway safety and risk of flooding.

“The applicant can amend the scheme to address those concerns and has a right of appeal to the Planning Inspectorate.”