DEVELOPERS who lost out to another company in a bid to build new homes near York are calling for an independent reassessment of all the proposals.

Last month it was reported that plans to build at least 3,000 houses at Green Hammerton whilst re-routing the A59, which are included in Harrogate Council’s draft Local Plan, had been thrown into doubt after Richard Schofield, the independent government inspector examining the council’s proposals, had asked for the scheme to be reviewed.

Now, the developers behind alternative plans for Flaxby Park, which include building 2,750 homes on a former golf course east of Knaresborough, are calling on the council to make its reassessment "fair and transparent" by reviewing the plans independently, rather than using the councils own staff.

The Flaxby Park proposals include plans for a retirement village, two primary schools, a GP surgery and sports facilities, in an area that hasn’t been supported for a new village in the draft plan.

The council favoured a site around Green Hammerton and Cattal, where two applications have already been submitted: a 4,000-home development called Maltkiln Village by the Oakgate Group, and a rival 3,000 home project by Commercial Estates Group (CEG).

Chris Musgrave, from Flaxby Park Ltd, said: “We have consistently argued that the council favouring Green Hammerton as the location for a new settlement, at the expense of Flaxby Park, is based on flawed and inaccurate information.

“The inspector has listened carefully to all of the arguments at the recent examination in public and clearly has serious concerns in relation to the selection process, hence his request for the council to reassess the Green Hammerton and Flaxby sites.

“I welcome the inspector’s intervention, which in my view supports the argument we have put to the council for the past 18 months. We don’t want favours, we just want fairness, and that’s exactly what we now hope to see.”

Mr Musgrave added: “Indeed, the inspector clearly has concerns or he wouldn’t have asked for the sites to be reassessed. However, if the council is doing the assessment again, they will in theory be critiquing their own work, after they have already publicly stated in the examination that their opinion about the broad location won’t change.

“I am therefore writing to Wallace Sampson, the chief executive of the council, to request that he appoints an independent third party, with no connection to the council to perform the review. This will ensure that a fair, impartial and transparent review occurs, which will consider all the information, so it can be accurately weighted and scored.

“I believe that if such a process occurs, then Flaxby Park will come out on top, due to the compelling evidence to support a new settlement on the site.”

Councillor Rebecca Burnett, Harrogate Borough Council’s cabinet member for planning, said: “The inspector has asked us to undertake further sustainability appraisal work to assess broad locations around each of the proposed potential new settlement sites.

“We will approach this work with an open mind and will respond to the outcome should it indicate a different approach.

“This work will then be subject to public consultation and independently reviewed by the Local Plan Inspector.”