“Save Acomb Moor” representations lodged with York Council

Campaigners, who are aiming to stop part of Acomb Moor being developed, have submitted their formal objection to the Councils draft Local Plan.

A full copy of the objection can be read here http://tinyurl.com/Save-Acomb-Moor-Issue-1

Residents have until tomorrow evening (Wednesday 31st July) to email their comments on the plan to localplan@york.gov.uk

The “Save Acomb Moor” objectors make several key points:

The transition from rural into an urban landscape
Vehicles leaving Askham Lane and turning into Foxwood Lane continue to have a rural perspective on one side of the road. The other side is softened by the “ravine”, which runs down the length of Forrester’s Walk, which is heavily planted.

The topography of the land
Even 2 storey houses would be immediately visible on the north side of Foxwood Lane to traffic because of the height of the development at its most western point.

View of Minster from Acomb Moor click to enlarge

View of Minster from Acomb Moor click to enlarge

The need to preserve the skyline of the City
Views of the City would be obstructed by houses built on Foxwood Lane opposite Foresters Walk
This is the ridge high point when viewed from Foxwood Lane (near Otterwood Lane north junction), Askham Lane and the A1237.
The issue would be acute in the winter when there is little tree and hedge cover.

The need to avoid dominance of nearby properties
There is a 5 metre rise on the site. Any buildings on the Foxwood Lane high point (opposite Foresters Walk) would dominate existing buildings and those built on the low part of the site. The shape of the site means that opportunities to preserve privacy through layout would be limited

The requirement for informal open space
While the field in question remains in private ownership, there is an established PROW across it. It is likely that continued use over the last 30 years has established a further PROW around the boundary. This would further limit development opportunities.
The area enjoys only limited access to semi rural grassland and the loss of even part of this field would further reduce recreational choice in the area.

Conservation of flora and fauna including the contribution made to the green wedges in the area
Council officials seem to have dismissed the ecological significance of the field in question without producing any evidence that the area has been studied. Similar grassland in the area has been found in the past to have sustained significant, sometimes unique, forms of flora.
The well established hedges provide cover for wildlife providing a link to Acomb Wood and beyond; following the green corridors which open up onto Hob Moor.
The area should be subject to a full ecological study

Drainage issues
While it is acknowledged that proper drainage would be a relevant issue to be considered when a detailed planning application was submitted, there are concerns about the low part of the field being waterlogged during the winter.
Local sewer capacity is inadequate to take additional surface water drainage and it is unclear how the run off for the hard surfacing associated with 40 homes, could be accommodated.
Householders to the east are concerned that such a development would lead to gardens being flooded on a regular basis. There appears to have been no economic assessment conducted on the costs of ameliorating such concerns.
Within the last 5 years the have been serious flooding issues affecting homes on the central section of Foxwood Lane caused by inadequate drainage.

The Council are likely to start debating the representations that have been made in the autumn.

”Get York Building” report to be published

The controversial survey on barriers to house builidng in York discussed by the York Cabinet last year may finally be made available to the public.

Behind closed doors logo

In response to a question from Ann Reid, the newly charmless Cllr Laign has said,

“I would remind Cllr Reid that the findings from the GYB consultation were summarised in the report considered by Cabinet in February.

The conversations with individual developers, as she should realise being an experienced Councillor, often touched on commercially sensitive information and as such has been deemed confidential and it is not appropriate for this to be shared with the wider public.

However, it is acknowledged that not all the information from developers is commercially sensitive and I have asked officers to prepare a redacted version”.

New questions on Our Lady’s school development

Further research suggests that Yorkshire Housings plans, to shoehorn 56 new homes onto the site of the former Our Lady’s school, could involve densities of 82 dwelling per hectare (dph)

Our Lady's school site

Our Lady’s school site

This far exceeds the guidelines set out in the Council draft Local Plan.

Even City centre locations – where blocks of flats increase densities – rarely exceed 80

The Local Plan recommendations on housing densities are:

• City Centre and City Centre Extension Zone: 80-100 dwellings per hectare

York urban area: 50 dwellings per hectare This includes site like Our Lady’s

• Major Expansion Areas and New Settlements: 50 Dwellings per hectare

• Suburban area (incl. Haxby & Wigginton): 40 dwellings per hectare

• Rural and Villages: 30 dwellings per hectare

The published draft local plan envisaged 29 dwellings on the site.

The latest drawing also suggest that the playing fields will be built on while the nature reserve, established by the school, is also threatened.

We know that Council officials have been consulted on these controversial proposals.

It remains to be seen why they have been allowed to progress to the public consultation stage.

Leaflets advertising an exhibition of the proposals are being circulated. It will take place between 3pm – 6pm on Tuesday the 30th July, 2013 at: Acorn ARL Sports and Social Club on Thanet Road.

Our Lady’s school site development – more details

We understand that a leaflet is to be circulated in the area near Our Lady’s school on Windsor Garth giving more details of the planned development there.

Residents, who were expecting to see a plan for 29 new homes (as included in the Councils new draft “Local Plan”) now find that 56 units are proposed.

That’s represents a 93% increase

Proposed layout Click to enlarge

Proposed layout Click to enlarge

Even a casual glance at the plans suggests that the homes are being shoehorned into the site. High density developments like these tend to bring their own problems resulting from neighbour disagreements.

A very liberal interpretation of the “footprint” of the existing (school) buildings is also being taken.

There are some big issues here with the impact of the “big growth” option having on local roads, sewers and other public services.

The problem is exacerbated by the Council’s plan to build on the nearby Newbury Avenue garage site.

House profiles click to enlarge

House profiles click to enlarge

The exhibition of the proposals will take place between 3pm – 6pm on Tuesday the 30th July, 2013 at: Acorn ARL Sports and Social Club Thanet Road YO24 2NW

All the homes will be for rent with most social housing (Yorkshire Housing Association)

The notice being given to local residents is also very short given that we are entering the major holiday period.

No planning application has, as yet, been submitted.

Latest Planning applications Westfield

Below are the latest planning applications received by the York Council last week. There were no applications in the Acomb Ward.

Full details can be found by clicking the application reference

Location: 6 Middleton Road York YO24 3AS Ref No: 13/02396/LHE Proposal: Erection of single storey extension extending 4 metres beyond the rear wall of the original house, with a height to the eaves of 2.300 metres and a total height of 3.300 metres Applicant: Mr And Mrs Thomas Contact Coral Windows Consultation Expiry Date 12 August 2013 Case Officer: Elizabeth Potter Expected Decision Level DEL

Location: 66 Slessor Road York YO24 3JG Ref No: 13/02384/FUL Proposal: Two storey and single storey side extension and erection of boundary wall (resubmission) Applicant: Miss Lisa Swift Consultation Expiry Date 12 August 2013 Case Officer: Heather Fairy (Mon – Wed) Expected Decision Level DEL

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.

What a difference a week makes


Last week the Press followed up our story about the York Council objecting to a government initiative which would have seen empty City centre property brought into residential use.

The Council leader James Alexander said then, “There is a real concern that, in the present economic climate, some property-owners may take only a very short-term view and seek to dispose of existing office accommodation for residential uses.

Former Liberal Democrat council leader Steve Galloway said the authority’s move was “likely to be a blow to those hoping to bring empty commercial properties back into use”, as his party opposes plans for thousands of new homes on green belt land through the council’s draft Local Plan.

Coun Alexander claimed the Lib Dems were suggesting such housing conversions as a “misguided” alternative solution to York’s “homes crisis

A week later and we see a breathtaking double reverse somersault with twist as The Press reveals that as many as 800 additional flats could be converted out of unused commercial space in City centre buildings


The local newspaper reports, “The Press can reveal the city has been awarded £450,000 to help convert the upper floors of the old White Swan hotel in Piccadilly into 18 flats, and hundreds more city-centre flats could now follow elsewhere, to go some way to easing the city’s housing crisis”.

Council leader James Alexander said the work between various organisations on the White Swan project, coupled with the study’s conclusions, “provides evidence of a wealth of potential accommodation for people or businesses which supports our ambition for new homes and jobs, as outlined in the Local Plan”.

He said the council’s role on the White Swan indicated its willingness and innovation to help turn city-centre premises into homes.

The building’s upper floors have been empty for more than 30 years, but talks are now ongoing between the council, the White Swan’s owners and the Fabrick Group, which runs the Tees Valley Housing Association.

Show them you care about our Green Belt – attend tomorrows meeting

What is called a “drop in” meeting has been called by the Council tomorrow to discuss their plans for major development in the Green Belt in and near the Westfield Ward.

Meeting details – Thursday 11 July 2013 between 4.00pm-7.00pm in The Oak room, The Gateway Centre, Front Street, Acomb.

Many “Save the Green belt” supporters are likely to attend the event at about 5:30pm.

Cllr Lynn Jeffries has agreed to present the “Save Acomb Moor” petition to the Council at its meeting on 18th July.

Save Acomb Moor 2

Top Euro MEP meets “Save the Green Belt” campaigners

Edward McMillan-Scott MEP met local green belt campaigners yesterday during a visit to Foxwood Lane.

Edward McMillan-Scott  (second left) talks to local residents in Foxwood Lane

Edward McMillan-Scott (second left) talks to local residents in Foxwood Lane


The meeting took place next to a field which is threatened with development under Labour’s draft “Local Plan”

Campaigners plan to submit individual objections to the proposals which are out for public consultation during the period leading up to 31st July.

Objections should be emailed to localplan@york.gov.uk

Local Plan - developments affecting Westfield Ward click to enlarge

Local Plan – developments affecting Westfield Ward click to enlarge

Meanwhile the Westfield Ward Labour Councillors have been forced to announce a public “drop in” session in response to calls for a local public meeting on the issue.

The meeting will be attended by Cllr Williams who voted in favour of the plans to develop Green Belt land at Foxwood Lane and establish a “Showman’s Yard” at Wetherby Road.

The meeting is scheduled to take place on Thursday 11 July 2013 between 4.00pm-7.00pm in The Oak room, The Gateway Centre, Front Street, Acomb.

Copies of an A3 “Save the Green Belt poster” are now available as are spare copies of our petition form.

Bonding Warehouse plans revealed

Bonding warehouse

Bonding warehouse

The Bonding Warehouse may be turned into a restaurant and/or offices with the upper floors becoming 4 apartments.

A planning application, being considered on 4th July, also includes the erection of an “external access tower and bridge link to Skeldergate” as well as a new “mansard” roof to the southern part of the building

Details of the proposal – which is recommended for approval – can be found by clicking here

The building has been empty since 2000. In spite of the implementation of a “tanking” scheme inside the ground floor of the building to minimize the impact of flooding, the building is deteriorating and is highlighted as being “at risk” in the Central Historic Core conservation area appraisal.