No response yet from
the site liaison officer following residents’ concerns about delivery arrangements
at the Lowfields development site.
Concerns about the impact that the large spoil mountains are having on the
local environment have also still to be addressed.
At a planning committee
meeting earlier in the week some progress was made on the plans to create 5 new
parking spaces on Tudor Road.
The Lowfields Action Group Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/LowfieldsActionGroup/ reports that officials have confirmed that the contractor responsible for building the new access road will also construct the parking spaces as part of the same contract. Although they said that the work would be done “at the same time” no planning condition was included requiring the 3 new “on street” parking spaces to be constructed before the existing ones are lost.
The Council as both the owner and developer
of the site could have offered a unilateral agreement on this but failed to do
Cllr Andrew Waller
was the only Westfield ward representative to speak up on behalf of residents.
He said that the parking spaces to the rear of 108 Tudor Road were too close to
the property. He also asked that improvements be made at the Tudor Road /Gale
about the Yorspace development was a disappointing. Councillors completely failed to challenge the
claim that the proposed homes will be “affordable”. The developer claims
they will be “affordable” The Councils own housing officer has confirmed that
they will not.
No convincing answers given on car parking arrangements. The 12 spaces will not be adequate to cater for the needs of all occupiers and visitors. Overflow parking will therefore further compromise space on Tudor Road, Green Lane and Kingsthorpe. The developers say that occupiers of the building “will not be allowed to own a car” and that all vehicles using the provided spaces will be “communally owned”.
We doubt very much whether they will be able
to enforce such a rule.
The only good thing
to come out of the debate was an offer from the developer to look again at boundary
treatments. They seem to be backing away for the idea of removing the railings.
The railings offer good security while permitting the movement of small mammals
The planning committee last night approved the proposals for
the extension of Lincoln Court.
They failed to include a timetable for the replacement of
the all-weather games area which will be destroyed as part of their plan.
Successive Council officials and Tory Councillors claimed
that the “MUGA” had not been used.
That is simply not true. The area was popular for many years but fell into decline because of lack of maintenance with overgrown bushes providing a screen which encouraged anti-social behaviour.
That was down to poor management by the York Council.
Nevertheless providing an alternative at the Thanet Road site
would have been a positive proposal. The Councils executive had seemed to take
a step in that direction on Monday when they offered to support a new facility.
Council officials admitted last night that they had not even
opened discussions with the rugby club which currently leases the Thanet Road site.
So, what have they
been doing for the last 6 months?
The issue will now be referred to the Secretary of State for
decision. Residents will make representations in support of Sport England’s position
which is that an alternative should be provided before the existing facility is
If this results in
delays, then it will be on the heads of the Councillors who last night voted
through a scheme which not only sells down the river the hopes of younger people
in the Westfield area but also endorses a scheme which provides only a very
small external garden space for the use of the elderly residents of Lincoln
Car parking provision is inadequate while a confused traffic
management model can only lead to more congestion in the estate with verges and
footpaths likely to be damaged by large vehicles.
Plans that will see the front of York Railway Station transformed with the removal of Queen Street Bridge and reorganising the layout leading into the station have been submitted today.
It seems that successive Councils chose to take potentially risky decisions in the weeks leading up to an election. In 2015, the then Labour led Council, was in turmoil following the disastrous closure of Lendal Bridge.
Now the coalition has announced that the Queen Street bridge will be demolished.
The present Councils plan has a better chance of gaining public support. It is after all a bridge that serves no purpose and its removal would kick start the regeneration of the Railway Station precinct.
The Council says that the planning application has been submitted following an extensive public consultation in summer 2018 “which saw over 1,500 people share their feedback on the scheme”.
Following this feedback designers altered the master plan to take into account the comments. This lead to several changes, including:
moving the cycleway on Queen Street to reduce conflict with on street parking spaces
providing safe access for cyclists to the station from the west-bound carriageway
provision for a suitable system for managing rail replacement buses
incorporating appropriate counter-terrorism measures that are sympathetic to the station setting
After the planning application has been validated by the council’s planning team in the coming days. Once it has been validated, it will be available to view at www.york.gov.uk/planning
City of York Council is working closely with Network Rail, London North Eastern Railway and Northern Powerhouse to deliver the proposals. Different landowners and funding arrangements mean that plans for the area will be delivered in phases.
The project to transform the front of York Station will receive funding through the West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund, and the Leeds City Region Growth Deal – a £1 billion package of Government investment through the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) and Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to accelerate growth and create jobs across Leeds City Region.
The localresidents action grouphas protested about the policy for storing excavated materials on the Lowfield development site. Mountains of waste are gradually growing on the Green Lane boundary.
Residents say they were promised consultation on the strategy for dealing with excavated materials. If they were to be stored on site – in preparation for reuse later in the building phase of the work, then assurances were needed about their short and long term effects on drainage in the area.
Now several neighbouring residents are looking out onto 8 metre high piles of concrete rubble.
Concerns were also recorded about the effect that the work would have on the local ecology.
A lorry visiting the site today damaged verges near the site entrance.
This has led to renewed appeals for better advanced notice of deliveries and their likely impact on “on street” parking.
The Councils Executive discussed the planned extension of the Lincoln Court independent living building yesterday. They agreed to progress the scheme and included a requirement for an alternative all weather games area to be provided in the ward.
It will be up to the planning committee at its meeting tomorrow (Wednesday) to include a condition requiring that the new facility is provided before the existing MUGA is demolished.
It emerged at the meeting that 14 of the remaining 19 tenants have now accepted offers of alternative accommodation. When the remaining 5 will be offered, and accept, a suitable alternative remains in doubt. The adjacent Windsor House building, which is empty, is already suffering vandalism and there is a concern that the whole site could become a magnet for anti social behaviour.
The Council is negotiating with the school to allow builders plant to access the site from the school side. There have been major problems getting large items of plant into the Lowfields site where roads are of a similar width to Ascot Way.
It has yet to be confirmed whether an (pedestrian) access will be retained from the school site when the redevelopment has been completed. This is considered to be essential to provide overflow parking capacity given that only 16 spaces are being provided on the Ascot Way frontage.
Sadly members of the executive failed to probe why the new apartments have been described, in successive Planning Committee reports, as “extra care” units.
No doubt residents will get more clarification tomorrow
The largest proposal concerns the land to the rear of the railway station. Known as “York Central” redevelopment of the area has been on the cards for nearly two decades. It has finally reached the planning application stage. The report recommends that the plans be forwarded to the Secretary of State for endorsement. The plans have attracted some opposition, but the economic and social welfare of the City depends on making some progress on the site now. Hopefully some of the ill judged ideas such as having only one-way traffic through the Marble Arch tunnel can be changed at a later stage.
There is already a lot of local disquiet about the way that the Council are implementing their plans for this area. Many of the comments on the “Save Lowfields Playing Field” Facebook pageare from disgruntled local residents who, even at this early stage, point to conflicts between lorries and parked cars, muddy roads and the ripping out of trees and hedges.
They are asking that the new parking spacespromised for Tudor Road be constructed before the existing parking lay-by is lost as an access road is constructed.
Further along the road, the “Yorspace” applicationhas been heavily criticised by local residents. The main concerns related to the lack of affordable units proposed on the site, the impact on the natural environment including inappropriate boundary treatments, security concerns relating to the adjacent public snicket access to little Tudor Road, the proposal to remove the railings which protect adjacent properties, inadequate car parking provision and the impact that overspill parking by residents, families and visitors could have on neighbouring streets and the height of the buildings.
Council officials have revealed that they have approved 5 outstanding conditions, for activities on the building site, despite several objections.
The Council has made an embarrassing series of mistakes on the proposal to extend this independent living building. Even now they have published papers which imply (wrongly) that the new apartments will be classified as “Extra Care” units. It has had plenty of time to clarify that issue.
There is some hope now that the future of the adjacent games area will be secured. Local Councillors are understood to have taken the initiative to discuss moving the facility to the local rugby club ground. If so, that would be a good solution to a problem which has also raised concerns from Sport England, and the resident’s association.
Condition 3 Notwithstanding
any proposed materials specified on the approved drawings or in the application
form submitted with the application, samples of the external materials to be
used shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning
Authority prior to the commencement of the construction of above ground works.
The development shall be carried out using the approved materials.
Condition 6 Prior to first occupation a detailed landscaping scheme
which shall illustrate the number, species, height and position of trees and
shrubs shall be submitted and approved in writing by the Local Planning
Authority. This scheme shall be implemented within a period of six months of
the completion of the development.
Condition 7 Prior to the commencement of any service or utilities
works that would impact on Hob Moor Local Nature Reserve, a derogation from the
Higher Level Stewardship agreement must be obtained from Natural England, and a
method statement for construction works and reinstatement approved in writing
with the Local Planning Authority
Condition 10 A detailed method of works statement
Condition 12 Prior to construction details of the proposed means of
foul and surface water drainage, including details of any balancing works and
off site works, shall submitted to and approved in writing by the Local
Condition 14 Prior to their construction, full engineering,
drainage, street lighting and constructional details of the streets proposed
for adoption shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local
According to papers released today, York Council planners
are prepared to enlist the support of the Secretary of State in their bid to demolish
the all-weather games area (MUGA) near Lincoln Court. Council officials claim
that the children’s play facility must go as part of their plans to build an
additional 15 “extra care” flats on the adjacent site.
Sport England, the resident’s association, local Councillors and residents have all objected to the plan. They feel an alternative games area should be provided before the existing facility is lost. They have pointed to the Thanet Road Sports area as a possible alternative location.
Council officials have had over a year to sort out an alternative
but are understood to have only recently contacted the Acorn Rugby Club who
lease most of the alternative site.
Sport England effectively has a veto on the removal of
facilities. If the Council wanted to demolish the existing MUGA without their
agreement the they would need the approval of the Secretary of State to do so.
It seems that they are prepared to risk such a confrontation.
Hopes that an Executive meeting to be held on 18th March would broker an agreement on the dispute over play provision are now fading
The move is the latest in a series of decisions which have gradually seen sports facilities and open spaces eroded in the Westfield area. Last year planning permission was given to build on the Lowfields playing field. A local bowling green faced the same fate while the Hob Moor school playing field is being reduced in size. 5 years ago the Council agreed to build on the Our Lady’s playing fields.
Figures produced by the Council, in support of its Local Plan proposals, reveal that there is a deficiency in all forms of open space and sports provision in the Westfield ward. The ward now also has the highest levels of child obesity in the City
The planning meeting is taking place on Wednesday 20th March at 5:00pm. The background papers for the meeting can be viewed by clicking here Residents may make representations by registering to speak at the meeting or by Email to Christopher.email@example.com
The issues are before the committee again because an earlier planng permission incorrectly identified the new “apartments” as being for residents requiring “extra care”. The latest application adds to the confusion as the report also refers to the new units as being for “extra care”. In reality 15 extra care units would not be economically viable because of staffing requirements.
The scheme has also been criticised for reducing the amount of garden space available for residents and for providing inadequate off street parking space for visitors.
The Council has relented in the face of pressure from local residents and has agreed to provide an additional 3 off street parking spaces on Tudor Road.
Location of proposed additional verge parking spaces on Tudor Road
The original plans only showed two spaces being provided in the rear garden of a block of flats. Now this is being increased by three. They will be constructed on the verges about halfway down the road.
The plan goes some way to compensating for the three spaces which will be lost when the access road for the Lowfield development is constructed.
Even two extra spaces will not be enough to satisfy the pent up demand which is already apparent in the area with verges and forecourts being pressed into service as impromptu parking areas.
The parking problem is likely to get worse when the new development is occupied. The “Yorspace” section of the development site has been criticised as it will only provide 12 parking spaces for 19 new homes. This may force some occupiers to park on Tudor Road
Separately the Council has now revealed that the “Yorspace” homes will not be categorised as “affordable”. This calls into question why the land for the development was sold by the Council at a heavily discounted rate. The discount means that taxpayers will effectively be subsidising the occupiers of the properties although in some cases they may be relativity wealthy individuals.