Following the first focus group meeting, which was an opportunity to discuss the feedback from the “How could Ripon be better for you?” consultation, the first part of phase two of the development of the Ripon City Plan was to produce a mission statement, vision and objectives.
These were produced and agreed by the City Plan Team and an exhibition was organised in December 2013 to enable people to drop-in for an update and to offer views and thoughts about the emerging vision and objectives for the Plan. A copy of the information used for the exhibition can be found here:
Over the next weeks and months, the City Plan team met with a large number of representatives from various organisations to discuss issues and opportunities to help refine the emerging proposals. A focus group meeting was held in April 2014 to enable views to be gathered about emerging thinking in relation to the strategic growth options which the City Plan should seek to achieve and this was followed by another focus group meeting in July 2014 which provided an opportunity to present the emerging draft Ripon City Plan for the first time.
Feedback from these meetings was used to produce and publish the preliminary draft Ripon City Plan in September 2014 and carry out a wide-scale community consultation during October and November. This included a direct household mailing of the 20 page leaflet containing the proposals. Details of the consultation materials can be found here:
The responses to this consultation were analysed by the City Plan Team and the following is an extract of the presentation given to the focus group, which outlined the most common responses to the questions posed in the consultation:
- General support of proposals
- No “major” changes needed
- Comments inform the development of draft City Plan with policy details
Issues Raised – By Developers
- Neighbourhood Plan should wait until HBC complete Local Plan
- Conformity with the Local Plan
- Need to promote specific site proposals
Issues Raised – By Stakeholders
- Sport England: provided guidance notes information
- Environment Agency: identified the need to consider the flood risk in relation to the Bondgate Green regeneration area
- Natural England: Provided advice but identified no major issues
- English Heritage: Provided advice but identified no major issues
- North Yorkshire County Council: Stressed the need for collaboration particularly in relation to the funding of services and the provision of infrastructure. Also, identified the infrastructure requirement of new housing needed to be developer lead and suggested that further work was necessary to justify the highways proposals
- Harrogate Borough Council: stressed the need for a robust evidence base. Secondly, suggested the need for alignment with emerging Local Plan. Thirdly, encouraged the consideration of protecting smaller employment sites. Finally, suggested the inclusion of the Auction Mart site within Ure Bank Regen Area
Issues Raised – By Public
Q1. Do you support the general approach to planning for the future of Ripon?
Yes = 92%
Q11. Overall, do you support the proposals contained in the preliminary draft Ripon City Plan?
Yes = 92%
Q2. How far does the ‘preliminary’ plan meet your expectations?
Suggested changes to the proposed development limit
Queries relating to the Neighbourhood Area
The need for further protection against development
Concerns about the deliverability of the Plan
Q3. What do you think of our proposals for supporting the Ripon economy?
Recognition of the importance of Tourism:
- Support for the need for a new hotel
- Recognition of the City Centre as a tourist attraction
Importance of City Centre:
- Need to address vacant premises
- Need to improve and change the retail and leisure mix
Importance of employment land and premises at the Barracks
- Better utilisation of Highfield Business Park
- Issues of high business rates and rents
Q4. What do you think of our proposals for enjoying open space?
Need to protect existing space
Need to propose new space
Improvements can be made to accessibility and connectivity
More detail is needed about specific proposals
Specifically there is a need for more:
- play areas and children’s recreation
Positive comments about the integration of Spa Park and Spa Gardens
Concerns about the loss of open space on Kirkby Road
Support for creating new accessible open space at Auction Mart
Generally positive comments about the proposals for the football and rugby clubs
- Anti Social Behaviour
Q5. What do you think of our proposals for regeneration areas?
All of the three identified areas were generally supported
Recognition of the need for supporting infrastructure
Suggestions about the architectural style and appropriateness
Concerns about the proximity of housing and employment
- Suggestions that the listing of the maltings was a barrier to redevelopment
- Concerns about accessibility being a key issue for this area
- Concerns about the appropriateness of coach park use
- Recognition that the redevelopment had to be sensitive to the setting of the Cathedral
- Support for the public use and protection of the sports fields
- Support for the need to look at road accessibility and improvements
- Support for a mixed use development and re-use of existing site assets
Q6. What do you think of our proposals for strengthening the city centre?
Concerns about the quantity and location of car parks and the need for improvements
Support for improved footpath links and better connectivity
Recognition of the potential for better use of the properties on upper floors
Support for the Cathedral development
Agreement to the approach to the swimming pool relocation and re-use of the existing facilities
A mixed range of views about changes to the shopping offer and the retail and leisure mix
- Tidiness and cleanliness of the city centre
- Concerns about the level of business rates and rents and lack of support to new businesses
- Suggestions for increased Market Place usage and improved friendliness
- City Centre way-finding signage
Q7. What do you think of our proposals for new housing?
Good positive support for brownfield approach to housing and use of upper Floors
Concerns about proposals for development outside the city
Concerns about affordability of housing
Recognition of the potential of the military estate
Q8. What do you think of our proposals for connecting Ripon?
Support for railway re-instatement
General support for improving walking and cycling connectivity particularly in the south & west of the city
Concerns about Clotherholme accessibility particularly with large scale house-building
- Impact of large vehicles in City Centre
- Need for improved signage
- Potential of through traffic on Borrage Lane to alleviate problems with Low Skellgate
- The levels of traffic in the Market Place and the unfriendliness to pedestrians
Q9. What do you think of our proposals for protecting the environment and heritage?
Support for skyline protection
Recognition of the importance of environment and heritage as the city’s unique selling point
Recognition of the need to protect historic buildings
Support for high quality development and environment protection
Q10. What more do you think we should try to do in the plan?
Many comments previously covered
Need for additional infrastructure and services to support the housing growth of the city
Need for new leisure and cultural facilities to improve the city’s offer and support housing and economic growth