Homes plan for disused Yorkshire golf course is ready

Contrary to some thinking most men would rather be at home with their kids rather than playing golf.
Contrary to some thinking most men would rather be at home with their kids rather than playing golf.
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Multi-million-pound plans to transform a disused golf course will be submitted next week by a developer aiming to build thousands of new homes in one of Yorkshire’s property hotspots.

The ambitious scheme at Flaxby, near Knaresborough, would include nearly 3,000 new homes, two primary schools and a new railway station with direct links to Leeds and York.

But the application by Flaxby Park Limited could yet meet 
opposition from neighbouring villages, despite the developer’s assurances yesterday that it has listened closely to earlier concerns about scale and impact.

With easy access to junction 47 of the A1(M), the old golf course is viewed as a prime strategic development site and has been the subject of talks between Flaxby Park and Harrogate Borough Council for more than a year.

The company, which is owned by businesswoman and philanthropist Ann Gloag and regeneration experts Chris Musgrave and Trevor Cartner, bought the 430-acre site in 2015.

Its purchase followed the collapse of Skelwith Leisure, which first bought the golf course in 2008 after proposing to take the facility “upmarket” with plans for a 300-bed five-star hotel.

Despite attracting a large number of investors and selling 158 hotel rooms off plan, Skelwith abandoned the idea in November 2014 when it first floated proposals for a new village with up to 2,500 homes, a primary school, shops and a smaller hotel.

Flaxby Park shareholder Mr Musgrave said: “We have listened closely to what stakeholders and the public have told us over many months, resulting in a planning application that sets the template for excellence in 21st-century living. Thanks to their input and the hard work of our talented award-winning project team, we have finessed our vision of a self-sustaining community in a country park setting.”

The application due to be submitted will include 2,750 high-quality homes for all stages of life, including a retirement village.

A new village centre will be created along with two primary schools and sports facilities, while a £4m roundabout at the entrance to the site will seek to improve access along with the proposed railway station.

Described as an “exemplar development”, it has been designed with the aim of making the most of the parkland setting and wildlife habitats created by the former Flaxby golf course.

It is also intended to bring major economic benefits to the area, including the creation of thousands of construction jobs throughout the phased 20-year development period.

Mr Musgrave said: “In almost every category, Flaxby Park scores highly as the right location for a development that will grow with Harrogate. It’s the right development in the right place and we are ready to deliver.”

The move to finally submit an application follows the recent approval of an £85m technology-focused science park at nearby Flaxby Green Park, which could create up to 3,000 jobs.

A team of leading consultants, including architects Wildblood Macdonald, was tasked with drawing up plans for Flaxby Park.

The architects have already played a part in other regeneration projects in Yorkshire, including Whixley Gate in nearby Whixley and Melton Park, near Hull.

Architect Michael Wildblood said: “We have combined our skills with the experience of our clients, the expertise of the rest of the design team and comments from all of those consulted to produce what could become an absolutely delightful place to live and work.”