Flaxby Park Ltd has confirmed it will not make a formal complaint or instigate civil litigation against Councillor Rebeca Burnett after she made a series of defamatory statements against the development company, in relation to the reopening of Goldsborough Railway Station.
Harrogate Borough Council's Cabinet Member for Planning had publicly stated in March, during the Council Chamber, that ‘misinformation’ had been circulated in relation to the merits of a new rail halt at Goldsborough.
Writing on Twitter, she then said: “It is being claimed by the promoter of the Flaxby site that a new station could be opened and that this wouldn’t jeopardise the plans in place to increase services between Knaresborough and York to 2 trains per hour. The advice I’ve received says this isn’t true.” She also said there were “falsehoods around on the issue.”
Flaxby Park Ltd plans to transform Flaxby’s disused golf course into a new sustainable village community, consisting of 2,750 homes. Chris Musgrave, from the company, said: “The assertion by Councillor Burnett within the Council Chamber and on social media that Flaxby Park Ltd are guilty of ‘misinformation’ and ‘falsehoods’ in relation to aspects of a new rail halt is scurrilous and wrong.
“My company has never commented on this subject in the terms that she has stated, so I am surprised and disappointed by her derogatory comments. I wrote to Councillor Burnett six weeks ago asking for evidence to substantiate her claims, but she has not replied and her code of silence speaks volumes.
“I have carefully considered her comments and believe that she played to the audience in the Council Chamber and on Twitter, speaking without thinking. However, despite being advised that there was a strong deformation case against her, I have decided not to take legal action or make a formal complaint to the Council Monitoring Officer, which ultimately would be a waste of public money.
“Ultimately, good judgement comes with experience and I hope she learns from her mistakes, which can have very serious implications.”
Earlier this year Flaxby Park Ltd announced plans are on track to reopen Goldsborough’s former railway station after the developer completed the acquisition of the former station house. The station will be reopened as a new park and ride station, called Flaxby Parkway Station. Train operator Northern has shown its support for the development with a letter backing the proposals. This follows Network Rail confirming there are “no significant technical obstacles to the delivery of a new station” at Flaxby.
Flaxby Park Ltd is owned by internationally renowned businesswoman and philanthropist Dame Ann Gloag OBE, and regeneration experts, Chris Musgrave and Trevor Cartner. The company acquired the disused golf course in 2016. Flaxby Park has been designed by a team of leading consultants, including local, respected architects, Wildblood Macdonald and transport planning advisors, Fore Consulting.
A submitted planning application for Flaxby Park is currently available to view on Harrogate Borough Council’s website. It includes 2,750 high quality homes, a retirement village, two primary schools, a GP surgery, sports facilities and a new village centre. More than 50% of the site will consist of green open space and as part of the scheme, Goldsborough Railway Station will be reopened as a new park and ride station, called Flaxby Parkway Station.
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