The York Council has said that it will publish a draft of a new Local Plan next month.
It will be fifth attempt in recent years to come up with a blueprint for the City which seeks both to conserve the natural and built heritage, while making provision for the additional 10,000 or so homes required over the next 20 years to meet the natural growth in population size (excess of births over deaths).
More controversial will be the Councils’ decision on economic expansion targets.
The “Big City” approach of the last Labour Council could have seen an additional 25,000 homes built in the City – most of which would have been occupied by inward (economic) migrants. The proposal attracted 14,000 objections. The policy led to Labour losing control of the Council in 2015 and since then a Tory/LibDem coalition has struggled to find common ground on house building numbers.
The LibDems were elected on a manifesto of conserving the Green Belt.
Labour politicians are now briefing that two Green Belt sites (at Whinthorpe & Clifton Gate) will get the go ahead, albeit with both reduced in size. However, both would have huge cost implications with a new access corridor being required to accommodate the first, while Cliftongate (between Clifton Moor and Skelton) would make dualling the A1237 essential.
The Council has been criticised for not coming up with a firm timetable for decision meetings on the new Plan. The only firm date given for public discussion is 30th June when apparently the Councils Executive will discuss it prior to formal public consultation being launched. Even this date has not been included in the Council’s Forward Plan of key decisions.
The Council statement reads;
“We will be publishing papers for the next Local Plan Working Group and Executive shortly, which will include details of our emerging Local Plan. Both meetings will take place in June, with Executive scheduled for 30 June.
“This is a significant next step towards progressing the Local Plan, with the reports enabling members of the public to see the work and background material which has been completed to-date ahead of the public consultation.
“The reports will highlight how we’ve made changes to ensure an evidence based plan is taken through to adoption. This includes building much needed new homes, but within achievable and viable targets, ensuring we can provide for business needs to help grow the economy and kick-start even more key developments. All of this will be made possible whilst ensuring we protect the character of our city, minimise the impact on York’s green belt and maximise the use of brownfield land.
“In order to develop our proposals further, it’s essential that we engage with members of the public through consultation and the papers will provide important details on the upcoming Further Sites consultation, which we will launch this summer.
“As the administration we are committed to engaging with the York’s residents and this will be one such stage. As well as public meetings, we will send details of the next stage of the plan process to every property in York to ensure all residents can have their say. It will also include a project plan that will detail the steps between now and the plan’s submission to government.
“For more details about York’s Local Plan visit:www.york.gov.uk/localplan” *
*NB. The Local Plan referred to on the Council site was prepared in 2005. A more recent version – approved by the Council in February 2011 and which protects the current Green Belt boundaries – can be found by clicking here.