• Petition signatures top 1200
• Chapelfields residents meeting tomorrow Wednesday at Sanderson House, 7:00pm
• “Drop in” session at Acomb Library on Thursday (2:30pm to 7:00pm)
Pressure is growing on Labour Councillors to attend a public meeting and defend their plan to increase the City’s population by 40,000 (25%).
The call came after Labour delivered a highly misleading leaflet/survey form to some residents over the weekend in which they implied that the 22,000 new homes were required for people already living in the City.
The survey asks only 3 questions.
1. How important is it to build new homes? All parties agree that there is a need for an increase in the number of homes in the City. It would require around 400 additional homes just to cater for local needs (new families forming while increasing life expectancy means existing homes remain occupied). The issue is how many homes are needed, where and when? (Labour plan 1090 homes per year, mostly on land which is currently in the Green Belt).
2. They ask how important the Greenfield setting of the City is (The Green Belt issue)? Most will say that it is important. Many respondents will think that they are endorsing the existing Green Belt boundaries (these are protected by regional policies and will continue to be unless, and until, the Council gets revised boundaries approved at a Public Inquiry)
3. Having softened people up, Labour then ask whether residents support their Local Plan proposals? The overwhelming evidence so far is that most residents do not support increasing the size of the City by 25%. Many are horrified at those parts of the Plan which would lead to the destruction of its Greenfield setting. Some will also be sceptical about the assumptions made about economic growth. 1000 additional jobs per year is a figure that is unlikely to be achieved consistently over a long period, while lack of an affordable transport and public service improvement policy, may be the final nail in the coffin of the high growth option favoured by Labour.
In reality the Councils own papers admit that the majority of occupants of the new homes will be economic migrants from other countries. Around 700 (2/3) of the new homes would be occupied by migrants each year.
Page 14 of the ARUP report says, “Population growth in York between 2010 and 2030 is ultimately driven by the scale of international migration into the authority”
That is not to say that immigration is a bad thing in principle. Migrants sometimes take on jobs that local residents, for one reason or another, shun. New blood can with bring with it innovation, motivation and fresh thinking.
But it is the unprecedented scale, and timescale, of the population change that threatens York’s unique character.
It is not surprising then that residents are demanding that a public meeting takes place at which Labour Councillors can be challenged on some of their more obviously bogus claims.
In the meantime, residents are reminded of the importance of registering individual objections to the published proposals. This can be done by emailing email@example.com (website – www.york.gov.uk/localplan)
Comments can be made – and larger scale maps viewed – at the Acomb Explore Library on Front Street this Thursday 20th June between 2:30pm and 7:00pm. We understand that some “pro Green Belt” residents will be lobbying this “drop in” session.
Please let us know if you require additional petition forms and copies of ehe window poster (below)