CAMPAIGNERS against plans for a massive new settlement west of York have hand-delivered almost 600 objections to Harrogate Borough Council.

Members of the Keep Green Hammerton Green and Keep Kirk Hammerton Green action groups handed over 582 objection forms on behalf of villagers ahead of a recent deadline for comments about the district’s draft Local Plan.

Co-chairman Chris Eaton said the groups felt the process for making comments was unnecessarily complex, especially on-line, and so they held surgeries to help people fill in response forms.

“We have had a resounding number of people objecting to the Draft Local Plan and in particular the overdevelopment of our respective villages, especially the potential 3000-house settlement,” he said.

The draft Local Plan includes proposals to allocate land between Green Hammerton and Kirk Hammerton, dubbed Great Hammerton - or an alternative site at nearby Cattal - for up to 3,000 new homes.

The public consultation finished recently and the plan will next be submitted to the Government for review later in the year before going to a public inquiry.

The action groups recently revealed they have appointed a planning expert to assist them in their battle to get the new settlement sited at a third location - Flaxby Park, on the other side of the A1.

They have argued that building on agricultural land and green field sites is unacceptable and that the site is unsustainable with no infrastructure, poor transport links, no local jobs and an already very busy A59, which is unsuitable for a potential additional 6,000 cars.

Mr Eaton said they felt the rationale behind having the 3,000 houses at the ‘Great Hammerton’ site was fundamentally flawed on many levels and were confident their objections would be seen by the Independent Planning Inspectorate as ‘compelling.’

A council spokeswoman said yesterday that now the consultation had closed, the authority was processing all the responses it had received, both electronically and on paper, and uploading them to its consultation portal.

“We’ll also consider whether - as a result of the responses received - any further modifications to the plan need to be made,” she said.

“We’ll submit everything for examination by the Government’s independent planning inspector in the summer and we understand the Harrogate plan is scheduled for review by the inspector at the end of the year.”