Windsor Garth development proposals put on hold

Our Lady's school site

Our Lady’s school site

The proposal to build 56 additional homes on the site of the former Our Lady’s school on Windsor Garth was tonight deferred for further consideration.

Concerns were expressed about the high density of the layout, the lack of play facilities or community space, the poor sustainability features of the homes plus the need to retain the existing metal security railings.

It is likely that a refined design will be submitted to a Planning Committee meeting next year.

Public exhibitions set to unveil plans for former British Sugar site

British Sugar site

British Sugar site

British Sugar is inviting local residents to attend public exhibitions to discuss proposals for the redevelopment of the former British Sugar industrial site off Boroughbridge Road in York.

The events will take place on Thursday 28 November and Saturday 30 November and will provide residents with the opportunity to review the draft Masterplan options for the site and discuss the proposals with the project team.

City of York Council has consulted for a number of years on the future development of the site and has identified it in its Draft Local Plan for a residential-led development, which will deliver much-needed family homes.

However the Council’s Leadership is understood to be pressing for a large supermarket to be included in the development which could cause huge traffic pressures in the area while robbing the beleaguered Acomb shopping centre of vital footfall.

The exhibitions will be held at the former Manor School site, Low Poppleton Lane, York, YO26 6BB between 3pm and 7pm on Thursday 28 November and between 11am and 4pm on Saturday 30 November.

Site tours will also be offered to those attending the Saturday event.

Further information is available by calling 08448 425285. Following the exhibitions information will be uploaded to the website

Rush to spend £10 million

In 2005 the Regional Development Agency (Yorkshire Forward) budgeted to spend nearly £10 million, of central government money, on infrastructure improvements which would allow the area of land behind the York railway station to be developed.

The site – dubbed York Central – was effectively landlocked with a bridge over the freight avoidance line required before development could start.

But it wasn’t the only issue.

Much of the site was contaminated while a viable transport system to service the development proved to be elusive.

Possible access routes into York Central

Possible access routes into York Central

The funding was never released.

The major landowner (Network Rail) found it impossible to come up with a development proposal which satisfied local planners and also recovered the huge development costs involved.

Then came the recession in 2008 and the scheme, like others across the country, went onto the back burner.

With the economy now improving it is not surprising that development sites like York Central, Nestle South and British Sugar are once again on the agenda.

What is astonishing is that the Council Leadership apparently intend to spend £10 million of Council Taxpayers money on building a bridge linking Holgate Road to the derelict site, and without securing a development agreement, timetable or the planning permissions necessary to ensure a comprehensive development.

Unless a legal agreement is signed to the effect that the costs of the bridge will be repaid from development profits, then the local taxpayer will be left with the bill.

The Council has already dramatically increased the amount of money that it borrows.

These additional debts have resulted in an extra annual repayment costs for taxpayers of £1 million.

The bridge to nowhere would add another £700,000 a year to that figure.

And that money could only come from either higher taxes or – more likely – further reductions in the quality of public services.

Latest Planning applications for Acomb and Westfield Ward

Below are the latest planning applications received by the York Council for the Acomb and Westfield wards.

Full details can be found by clicking the application reference



Location:       25 Rosedale Avenue York YO26 5LG

Proposal:       Single storey rear extension

Ref No: 13/03511/FUL

Applicant:      Mr Ken Hamblin  Contact:        Mr Lee Stoyles  Consultation Expiry Date:       9 December 2013 Case Officer:   Will Steel      Expected Decision Level:        DEL



Location:       7 Beagle Ridge Drive York YO24 3JH

Proposal:       Erection of single storey extension extending 8 metres beyond the rear wall of the original house, with a height to the eaves of 2.25 metres and a total height of 3.5 metres

Ref No: 13/03540/LHE

Applicant:      Mr Robin Cooke  Consultation Expiry Date        2 December 2013 Case Officer:   Carolyn Howarth Expected Decision Level DEL


Representations can be made in favour of, or in objection to, any application via the Planning on line web site.

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

York Council in new Traveller and Showmans site search

The York Council has announced a new search for possible sites for Gypsies and a Showman’s Yard.

Showman's site Wetherby Road Knapton Withdrawn in July
Showman’s site Wetherby Road Knapton Withdrawn in July

The announcement falls sort of asking for residents suggestions.


That is a mistake given the controversy which greeted the arbitrary allocation of land announced under Labour’s draft Local Plan last April.

The Council has issued a media release saying,

An updated study is underway which will help determine suitable locations for the development of Gypsy, Roma & Traveller and Showpeople sites in York, ahead of the next stage of York’s Local Plan consultation in 2014.

City of York Council has a statutory requirement to identify needs and allocate land and so has commissioned an external study in to the Gypsy, Roma & Traveller and Showpeople Housing Needs and Site Identification which will be used to inform and help determine which sites in York are suitable to be included in the Local Plan submission draft early next year.

The submission draft of the Local Plan is expected to published for consultation in Spring 2014.

The revised study will provide an update on the North Yorkshire Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment (2007/8) and the North Yorkshire Accommodation Requirements of Showpeople (2009).

It will also build on the work carried out by council officers in the Gypsy, Traveller and Showpeople Accommodation Needs Supporting Paper (June 2013) which were all supporting documents in the recent Local Plan Preferred Options consultation.


Big office building planned for Northfield Lane

Proposed development site click for detail

Proposed development site click for detail

Official are recommending that a big office and labroratory development on the Northfield Business park get the go ahead.

The application is for a two-storey building (1,087 sq m), associated landscaping and parking. The development would provide the headquarters and laboratory for a medical company named Tissue Regenx. Tissue Regenx specialise in cell replacement, primary used in wound care, vascular, cardiac and orthopaedics.

The company’s England head office is currently at the Bio Centre at York Science Park. The new headquarters is required due to growth, the need for a bespoke research facility and the desire for the company to have its own premises.

The firm would have some 55 employees.

The site lies within the Green Belt although it is not a very prominent site.

The land is safeguarded which means that it could be developed in the future. Alternative sites are available at the York Business Park (which is not in the Green Belt).

The application fails to address the dangerous cycle route down Northfield Lane and across the A1237 to Knapton which certainly needs improved lighting to accommodate any growth.
The Council must make a special case to the Secretary of State if the development of the land is to be approved.

Hob Moor development to go ahead?

Derelict school site next to Hob Moor

Derelict school site next to Hob Moor

Apparently Council officials are recommending that the 56 home development at the Our Lady’s school site be given the “go ahead”.

This despite a large number of objections and the proposal being in conflict with the Councils own rules on development densities.

The number of homes being proposed is almost twice the number agreed by the same planning department when they published the draft Local Plan earlier in the year.

It will be interesting to see how they manage to justify that particular policy somersault!

The planning application will be decided at the Planning-Committee meeting on 21 November 2013, at 4.30pm at West Offices, Station Rise, York.

The committee will visit the site at 12:45 pm on the Tuesday (17th November) before the meeting to familiarise themselves with the proposal and residents are also invited to attend.

Residents have the right to speak at the meeting. If you wish to speak, you must register this by telephoning (01904) 552062, and ask for Laura Bootland before 5:00pm on the last working day before the Committee meeting.

The proposal has been mired in controversy since a Labour cabinet member (Clr Merrett) publicly endorsed the scheme shortly after the planning application had been submitted, but before residents had been given the opportunity to comment.

Housing growth in York – who will occupy?

Most additional homes constructed in York over the next 25 years will be occupied by inward migrants.


Births, deaths and house building click to enlarge

Births, deaths and house building click to enlarge

The latest birth rate figures confirm that less than 10,000 homes are required over the next 25 years to meet the expected natural increase in the City’s population.

Labour however plans to build 22,000 (over the next 15 years) most of which will go to people not currently living in the City.

Yesterday developers announced a plan to build 1500 homes at Huntington on a green field location

The Council’s leadership have shot themselves in the foot claiming that with births exceeding deaths in the City new homes will be occupied by existing York residents.

That is clearly not the case.

Who would occupy 22,000 additional homes click to enlarge

Who would occupy 22,000 additional homes click to enlarge

Indeed average housing building rates, over the last 10 years, have more than equalled the natural growth in the City’s population.

The increase in population over the last decade has mainly been caused by higher life expectancy, although the population did get a boost as a result of the (unrepeatable) growth in Higher Education provision in the City.

The census returns indicate an average annual increase in the City’s population of 1691 during the last decade.

There is a housing problem in the City but it stems from high rent levels in the private sector. Even after taking into account housing benefit (rent rebates), renting a home in York is relatively expensive.

Potential owner occupiers can still buy 2 bedroomed homes from £120,000.

That should lead the Council to give the top priority to providing more Council and Housing Association rented homes in the City.

NB. The Council have now accepted that their quoted housing waiting list numbers have been wildly exaggerated for the last 2 years.

House completion numbers

Large number of objections to Our Lady’s school development plans

Derelict school site next to Hob Moor

Derelict school site next to Hob Moor

Revised layout drawings have been lodged with the Council for the 56 home development proposed for the school site on Windsor Garth.

A large number of objections to the development have been lodged including these from by the Friends of Hob Moor   and the local Residents Association

Layout plan Nov 2013. Click to access

Layout plan Nov 2013. Click to access

The main objections expressed relate to the density of the development which would adversely impact on local public services.

Several residents have expressed concerns about drainage from the site which could damage the Hob Moor nature reserve.

The absence of any play facilities has been mentioned by many. (According to the Council children will be expected to walk to the facilities on Chesney’s Field – but that is on the other side of a busy road).

Layout plan Sept 2013 click to access

Layout plan Sept 2013 click to access

It has emerged that the developers want to remove the – perfectly serviceable – metal railings which surround the site and replace them with a wooden fence. Metal railings are much more durable and effective than wooden fences.

It looks like it will be a few more weeks before this application reaches the planning committee.

Council holding £4.5 million development monies

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

The York Council has banked £4.49 million in levies paid by developers in the City.

The money – obtained through section 106 contributions – was a condition of the granting of planning permission for a range of developments in the City.

It is money that must be invested in public services such as schools, transport and playgrounds to accommodate the additional demands generated by a development.

The Council has spent £2.8 million, gained from the S106 contributions, during the last 5 years.

During the same the Council has refunded £72,000 period to developers.