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

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.

Latest planning applications Acomb and Westfield

Below are the latest planning application received by the York Council last week affecting the Acomb and Westfield parts of the City. Full details can be found by quoting the application reference on the “planning portal” web site.

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.

Location: 30 Chestnut Grove York YO26 5LE Ref No: 13/02012/FUL Proposal: Single storey side and front extension Applicant: Mr And Mrs Pope Contact: Mr Howard Berry Consultation Expiry Date: 16 July 2013 Case Officer: Heather Fairy (Mon – Wed) Expected Decision DEL

Garages being demolished near 42A The Green in Acomb

Garages being demolished near 42A The Green in Acomb

Location: 42A The Green Acomb York YO26 5LR Ref No: 13/01286/CAC Proposal: Demolition of existing dwelling within the conservation area Applicant: Tower Estates Ltd Contact Michael Powell Consultation Expiry Date 16 July 2013 Case Officer: Victoria Bell Expected Decision Level DEL

NOTE: This is the fifth planning application affecting this property in the last 2 years.

Most applications have been withdrawn but permission was granted to demolish the garages to the rear.

Workers are on site doing that now.

As this is a Conservation Area, we would have expected that a planning application for a new use would have been considered at the same time as any proposal to demolish existing buildings.

Activity at former care home on The Green in Acomb

76 The Green

76 The Green

The former “Knavesmire” care home was closed over 4 years ago and has been advertised for sale with GVA since then.

Recently the “for sale” sign has been removed and a “protected by occupation” notice has appeared.

Some external works are underway although no “change of use” proposal has as yet been submitted to the planning authority.

The site currently holds a Class C2 (Residential Institutions) planning consent.

Care home works The Green Acomb

76 The Green is a substantial (0.61 acres) 3 storey detached former Rectory, constructed in the 1880s and subsequently converted for use as a care home along with a 1980s single storey extensions to the side and rear.

Accommodation comprises 27 bedrooms.

Externally the property is bordered by mature trees with car parking to the front and garden/patio areas to the rear.

York Green Belt IS protected

As Labour become ever more desperate in their attempts to justify their “high growthLocal Plan, one mantra that keeps being repeated in that York “doesn’t have a Green Belt”.

In fact, York has had a (draft) Green belt for several decades. There are many planning decisions (important precedents) which revolved around development being refused because of its effect on the Green Belt.

The Green Belt received regional recognition – and protection – in the “Yorkshire and Humber Regional Spatial Strategy” (RSS) which was adopted in 2007.

Although the RSS was overtaken by the Localism Act (the present governments attempt to give more power to local communities), the York Green Belt boundaries were quite specifically recognised and protected when the new legislation was enacted.

Details can be found on this Government web site</a>

The government’s explanatory note reads,

Section 109 of the Localism Act 2011(1) abolished the regional planning tier by repealing Part 5 of the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009(2) (which only applied in relation to England). This includes the removal of the responsible regional authorities. Section 109 also made provision to revoke or partially revoke, by order, the eight existing regional strategies.

This Order makes use of those powers to partially revoke the regional strategy for Yorkshire and Humber, which comprises The Yorkshire and Humber Plan Regional Spatial Strategy to 2026 (“the RSS”) and the Regional Economic Strategy for Yorkshire & Humber 2006-2015. Policies in the RSS which relate to the Green Belt around the City of York are retained. The Key Diagram from the RSS is retained insofar as it illustrates the retained York Green Belt policies and the general extent of the Green Belt around the City of York. The Key Diagram can be found after page 214 of the RSS. A copy can be obtained from the Planning Directorate, Department for Communities and Local Government, Eland House, Bressenden Place, London, SW1E 5DU

So unless and until it is changed the Green Belt around York remains protected.

Existing York Green Belt boundaries. click to enlarge

Existing York Green Belt boundaries. click to enlarge

The protected (draft) Green Belt boundaries are the same as those that Labour Councillors (and others) voted in favour of in the summer of 2011 (see map left)..

The word “draft” only disappears from the description of the York Green Belt when a Public Inquiry has been held and a government Minister has approved a new Local Plan.

In 2012 Labour withdrew the proposed Local Plan from the Public inquiry after doubts were raised about the credibility of the policies contained in it regarding out of City centre shopping facilities (post the Monks Cross planning decision).

The existing Green Belt boundaries continue to be protected.

Labour should stop trying to frighten residents into thinking otherwise.

York Council to opt out of planning freedoms. Blow to new homes hopes.

empty shops

The Council has revealed that it intends to opt out of changes to planning laws which would have allowed building owners to change use from commercial to residential without the expense involved in submitting a planning application.

The move is likely to be a blow to those hoping to bring empty commercial properties back into use.

The Council say that demand for city centre business premises is buoyant in York.

Their case can be read here

The number of people on the council housing waiting list in York is now 4720

York residents asked to monitor wildlife in their garden. Newts blamed for inconvenience.

A new report has been published this month which looks into “what we all can do to ensure that York’s habitat and wildlife, including endangered species, are protected from extinction”.

Newts at Monks Cross

The York Council says, “Residents can help by completing fact sheets about wildlife activity in their gardens at– in the ‘download documents panel’.

You’ll be hard pressed thought to find a form see here Clearly, after recent events, spotting Great Crested Newts these days earns rather fewer ISpy points than might have been the case a couple of decades ago.


Local Plan consultation flop – leaflets not delivered in Chapelfields… at least!

Local Plan consultation leaflet

Reports are coming in the that the “Local Plan” consultation leaflet hasn’t yet been delivered in parts of York.

Several Chapelfields residents apparently only found out about the plans – which include a controversial proposal to build a Showman’s Yard on nearby Wetherby Road – when the Residents Association delivered a public meeting invitation last week.

It is unclear whether any other areas have also been excluded from the delivery which was made with a “Local Link” magazine in early June.

More details of the Council’s plans can be found on their web site and a public exhibition is taking place at Acomb Library tomorrow (Thursday) between 2:30pm and 7:00pm

Save the Green Belt – Residents demand local public meeting

• 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 (website –

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)

Green Belt campaign logo