Lowfields and commune housing

The Lowfields Playing Field Action Group have recorded an objection to plans to build 19 “communal living” homes on the Lowfields site. Although the Action Group states that it has no “in principle” objection to the development of this part of the site (they are mainly concerned about the loss of the nearby sports field and green open space) they have highlighted several issues.

One of these was a “behind closed doors” decision – only just published by the Council – to sell off 0.7 acres of land, to the “Yorspace” developers, for only £300,000. That would mean a plot cost of around £15,000 – far below the market value. A typical housing plot is that part of the City is currently fetching in excess of £50,000.

The decision was taken by a Council officer.

The papers to support he decision are very thin on detail. The Council can only legally sell at below market value if it can demonstrate that a lower priced sale “will facilitate the improvement of economic, environmental or social well-being of the area“.

Apparently the official was convinced that the shared ownership model being proposed would ensure that a continuing supply of low cost housing would result from the development.

But will it?

The papers don’t suggest that those who will occupy the homes, are required to be registered on the housing waiting list. There is no maximum income level mentioned for shareholders. There doesn’t seem to be any requirement for the investors to be York citizens or even UK residents.

As the homes turn over, it is unclear how investors in later years will be selected.

Housing subsidies are a controversial area. A more straight forward option would simply to have built more Council houses on the site (The Council’s housing debt ceiling has recently been lifted by the government).

But this is clearly an area where full transparency is needed. This would ensure that innovative house funding and ownership models are encouraged, while safeguarding the taxpayer’s interests. Sadly it appears that no York Councillor has had the wit or wisdom to press for all the facts to be made public.

The Action Group has also highlighted concerns about parking provision, security and nature conservation issues on the plans which can be viewed by clicking here

Lowfields Action Group planning objection Feb 2019

 

Lincoln Court – Council admits planning blunder

The sorry saga surrounding the Councils plans to modernise and extend the Lincoln Court independent living building on Ascot Way has taken a new twist.

A brand new planning application has been submitted. If approved, it will replace the ill fated and poorly judged proposal passed by the Planning Committee as recently as December. The new proposal is for a “three storey extension to accommodate 15 new flats with associated alterations to the internal layout of existing flats (creating 10 new flats in total), a single storey front extension to form a new main entrance, erection of a plant room to side, reconfiguration of parking provision and associated landscaping works including new boundary fencing”.

Planning report Dec 2018

That decision was criticised because it ignored a request by Sport England that a replacement all weather games facility be provided in the neighbourhood when the existing facility was developed. The extensions to Lincoln Court are partly to be built on the games area. Sport England made a specific request for a replacement with possible sites being identified by local residents on the new area of playing field being provided at the school or alternatively on the Thanet Road sports area.

Another mistake made by the committee was to require that the additional 10 flats being provided at Lincoln Court be extra care” units. They would have required 24/7 staffing support. Officials later privately confirmed that this was a mistake and that it had been intended to provide an additional 10 flats identical in function to those existing on the site.

The “extra care” argument had been used to justify providing only 16 parking spaces to service the planned 36 flats and the staff and visitors to the much larger new building (see extract from December report). There are currently 12 parking spaces allocated to Lincoln Court. Many of them are heavily used with visiting staff sometimes being force to park on adjacent roads.

The way that the Planning Committee handled the December application was subject to a formal complaint in December. A response from the Council is still awaited.

Unfortunately, the new planning application does not address the parking issue despite claims by officials that the ”extra care” units did not require a parking space and hence could justify providing only 16 spaces. There is an underused grassed area to the south of the site which could have matrix protection installed and which could then be used as overspill car parking.

More seriously, the Council continues to turn a blind eye to the concerns about lack of provision for younger people in the neighbourhood. We would expect the Sport England condition to be incorporated into any revised permission.

NB. No action is planned on escalating traffic congestion issues in the area. Problems on the narrow roads in the estate are being exacerbated by recent planning permissions for additional housing in the estate which only has one access route. The December plan attracted more criticism when it was revealed that the elderly residents would have to move out of their homes for over 12 months while the work took place

Latest planning applications for the Westfield Ward

 Below are the latest planning applications received by the York Council for the Westfield ward.

Full details can be found by clicking the application reference

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63 Green Lane Acomb York YO24 3DJ

Conditions 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 & 14 of 17/00884/FUL.

Ref. No: AOD/19/00017 

—–

Lincoln Court Ascot Way York

Three storey extension to accommodate 15 new flats with associated alterations to internal layout of existing flats (creating 10 new flats in total), single storey front extension to form new main entrance, erection of plant room to side, reconfiguration of parking provision and associated landscaping works including new boundary fencing (revised scheme)

Ref. No: 19/00083/FULM 

—–

159 Westfield Place Acomb York YO24 3HN

Single storey side extension

Ref. No: 18/02948/FUL 

——

9A Hawkshead Close York YO24 2YF

Dormer to rear (revision to planning permission 17/02473/FUL).

Ref. No: 18/02792/FUL 

—-

Former Lowfield School Dijon Avenue York

Conditions 6 & 34 of 17/02428/FULM.

Ref. No: AOD/19/00001 

——

Former Lowfield School Dijon Avenue York

Condition 30 of 17/02428/FULM.

Ref. No: AOD/18/00368 

——

Yorspace proposed development plan, Lowfields

Former Lowfield School Dijon Avenue York

Erection of 5 apartments, 5 two bedroom housing units, 6 three bedroom housing units, 3 four bedroom housing units and a shared common house/amenity block and associated infrastructure to form community housing development

Ref. No: 18/02925/FULM 

—-

Representations can be made in favour of, or in objection to, any application via the Planning on line web site.  http://planningaccess.york.gov.uk/online-applications/

The Council now no longer routinely consults neighbours by letter when an application is received

Latest planning applications for the Westfield Ward

 Below are the latest planning applications received by the York Council for the Westfield ward.

Full details can be found by clicking the application reference

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9 Robinson Drive York YO24 3HS

Installation of access ramp to front

Ref. No: 18/02849/FUL

———

183 Chapelfields Road York YO26 5AD

Erection of detached building to rear to be used as hair salon and store.

Ref. No: 18/01975/FUL 

——

Representations can be made in favour of, or in objection to, any application via the Planning on line web site.  http://planningaccess.york.gov.uk/online-applications/

NB. The Council now no longer routinely consults neighbours by letter when an application is received

Ascot Way electricity sub station application recommended for approval

Proposed sub station site

Officials are recommending that a new electricity sub station on Ascot Way be given the go ahead at a meeting  which is scheduled to take place on 10th Dec

The application had caused some controversy when first publicised as some residents feared it could lead to an increase in crime.

The sub station will reduce the width of the footpath to the rear entrance to Hob Moor school.

Meanwhile there has been no response from the Council yet to complaints about the way in which the planning application for the Lincoln Court redevelopment was handled.

Sport England asked for the all weather games area to be replaced if the existing facility is bulldozed. The condition was omitted when the planning decision was published.

Later it emerged that the Council had included a condition requiring the additional 10 flats on the site to be used for “extra care” facilities.

Extra care beds require 24/7 staffing support the provisional of which would be economically unsustainable for such a small unit.

The plan could also have significant  transport implications for the area.

 

Latest planning applications for the Westfield Ward

 Below are the latest planning application received by the York Council for the Westfield ward.

Full details can be found by clicking the application reference

—-

Address       7 Corlett Court York YO24 3LR

Proposal      Single storey side extension

Reference   18/02634/FUL

——

Representations can be made in favour of, or in objection to, any application via the Planning on line web site.  http://planningaccess.york.gov.uk/online-applications/

The Council now no longer routinely consults neighbours by letter when an application is received

Windsor Garth parking lay-by location options revealed

Local Councillor Andrew Waller is consulting local residents about the new proposals to install additional parking lay-bys on Windsor Garth.

Cllr Andrew Waller

The options are the latest in a series of plans which are aimed at reducing congestion on the narrow roads in the Kingsway/Hob Moor estate.

Several other options have been discounted either for practical reasons or because they did not represent value for money.

Residents had their  say in response to a survey conducted a year ago. Subsequently a plan to provide a lay-by outside the flats on Newbury Avenue ran into delays caused by difficulties in relocating telecoms cabinets. That plan is now expected to be implemented in the spring.

The need for better parking has become even more urgent with the Council having decided to redevelop the Windsor House/Lincoln Court area on Ascot Way. The published plans for the new buildings do not include sufficient “on site” parking space according to many residents.

The Westfield Ward delegated budget includes funding to provide up to 11 additional spaces during the current financial year. Potential locations near Kempton Close and Beverley Court have now been identified. (see plan below)

Residents have a choice of implementing option 2 or 3 this year.

Option 6 will be done as well unless there are strong objections from local residents. .

It is likely that the spaces will use matrix surfacing. This allows grass to grow though the matrix providing a “natural” appearance while also allowing “soak away” drainage.

Any work must be completed before the end of March.

Parking lay-by options in Windsor Garth area January 2019

 

 

York Council publishes “on line” map showing brownfield development land

The York Council has agreed to provide “on line” access to its map of brownfield (previously developed) building land in the City.

The accuracy of the map, which shows sites of over 0.2 ha, is in some doubt as it shows, for example, the Lowfields sports pitch as being “brownfield” This pitch has never been previously developed (the neighbouring school building site is correctly identified)

The purpose of the register is to provide information in a standardised way across all planning authorities in England, and has to be updated annually.

The Register should include previously developed land that:

  • has an area of at least 0.2 hectares or is capable of supporting at least 5 dwellings
  • is suitable for residential development
  • is available for residential development
  • is achievable for residential development

 

Brownfield land register

Front Street planning application turned down

The Council have turned down a planning application which would have seen a disused garage replaced with a small home on an alley off Front Street in Acomb.

The site was located behind 43A Front Street.

The application was criticised because of poor access arrangements.

The decision notice quotes conservation reasons for the refusal.

The report can be viewed by clicking here