Council aims to make £3 million profit by building and selling houses on Lowfields playing fields

Lowfields playing field development – decisions expected on Thursday

Lowfields Green – Controversial development to be debated on Thursday

Despite no planning permission having been granted for the proposed development of the playing fields at Lowfields, the York Councils Executive will debate on Thursday how construction work will be funded.

We have already commented on the bizarre claim that a new football pitch, being established near Bishopthorpe, will in some way compensate for the loss of pitches at Lowfields.

December 2016 report extract

Another report on the Executive agenda addresses how the Council can fund its Lowfields plan. It intends to use a new Housing Development Company (HDC) to undertake the work.

The report refers to a previous meeting in December 2016 (right)  when the decision was taken to sell off the site for £4.5 million. At that time the Executive also decided to ask for reports on how health facilities, a police depot and football facilities could be provided. Of these, only the report on football pitches has been forthcoming.

The new report claims that in July 2017 “66% of people who provided feedback gave support the plans”. The report fails to mention that the Council consultation didn’t offer the opportunity for residents to object to the development of the playing field. Most of the favourable comments – as they are with the current planning application – came from people living outside the area who were lobbied to support the “communal build” section of the development (which will not be located on the playing field).

The report makes other contentious claims.

It says using the Councils HDC will reduce the time that builders will be on site.  The Council has no control over how long self-builders, the community builders, the Health centre, the care home and police builders will be on site. None of these uses is included in the detailed planning application.

The Councils claim of a 30-month development period is therefore highly optimistic.

They hope to start building towards the end of 2018.

The report also lauds the “6,434 sq. metres of public open space” being provided.

Currently there is 33,150 metres of usable green space on the site. The new design includes a, so called, “pocket park” which is little more than a wide grass verge while the usable part of the “village green“ is little bigger that the existing green space at the junction of Lowfields Drive and Dijon Avenue

However, the main concern for most taxpayers will be the plan to borrow an additional £9 million to fund building work. The Council already has a total debt of over £357m (including £139m historic council housing debt).

Around 13% of residents Council Tax payments are used to pay interest charges. This is set to increase to 14% next year.

The development (houses and infrastructure) will cost £25 million.

The Council hopes to sell houses for £28 million, making a £3 million profit.

Council revives survey into internet use

The York Council are asking residents to tell them about how communications systems could be improved.

They say that at present many residents use the most expensive (to process) channels to communicate with the Council.

They want residents to do more “on line

Given the lack of functionality – and unreliability – of the current “report it” system we think that the surveys timing is a but rich. They surely would have been wiser to implement and sustain improvements, before asking for feedback.

However, if anyone does have a view, they can express them by clicking this link.

Meanwhile we’ve tested the “Report It” system, now that it has been “fixed”, by reporting three issues.

Full litter bin on Beagle Ridge Drive

Plastic mats dumped on Walker Drive

Detritus on Bradley Drive snicket

Meanwhile Andrew Waller reports that the street light on Otterwood Lane has been repaired

Otterwood Lane street light repaired

Andrew has also reported problems with contaminated, missing or empty salt bins

Askham Lane salt bin almost empty

Front Street library salt bin missing

Grove Terrace litter in salt bin

Planning applications for the Westfield Ward

The have been no new planning applications validated for the Westfield Ward for over 3 weeks.

However, Council officials have approved, using delegated powers, plans to build an additional house in the garden of 21 Stirrup Close. The application attracted several objections mainly because of concerns about inadequate “on street” parking provision.

What’s on in York: Book Launch of ‘Forever Now’ by Helen Cadbury

 York Explore Library :

Tue 5 Dec :

6.30pm – 8.00pm :


Dec _5 Forever Now Helen CadburyHelen Cadbury’s Forever, Now charts the lives of extraordinary, ordinary humans, including the poet herself; but also those she has lived among, worked with, observed on buses and trains or discovered in the archives. Sometimes those true beginnings spiral into fiction, sometimes they remain autobiographical, as they tell moving and universal stories of love and loss, grief and new beginnings.

Emily Dickinson wrote that ‘forever is composed of nows’. This collection will affirm the sense that ‘now’ is the only thing we truly have – and reveal it as something to be celebrated and acknowledged, not least in this remarkable book, which offers Helen’s devoted readership a chance to discover the full breadth of her compassion for characters, and talent for telling their stories.

“Helen Cadbury’s uniquely feisty, tender, courageous voice comes across loud and clear in this outstanding collection. I loved it; from the ‘heaven’ of the British Library to that closing image of the poet dancing in her kitchen.” — Carole Bromley

To book tickets please click here.

For further information please call York Explore Library on (01904) 552828 or email