Only 2 rough sleepers in York

The report into homelessness in York – which slightly mysteriously disappeared from a recent meeting agenda – has finally been published.

The report covers the last financial year. It reveals that the number of rough sleepers had reduced from 9 to 7 when the annual census was completed last November. However, the new COVID measures meant that that number had reduced further  to 2 by the end of March.

Housing performance and demands stats

The number of households leaving in temporary accommodation also reduced from 66 to 62 while none had been accommodated in Bed and Breakfast accommodation for over 6 weeks.  The numbers presenting to the Council as homeless increased from 61 to 99.

There were 1597 households on the housing waiting list at the end of the year. The numbers have remained static for several years.

A copy of the full report can be read by clicking here

It markedly fails to mention the number of empty Council properties in the City or what is being done to reduce void times.  286 homes became available for re-letting last year compared to 284 the previous year.

The number of new build affordable houses also increased (see table)

Homelessness is likely to increase in the City as unemployment increases in the wake of the health crisis. This may be exacerbated as the rent freeze also comes to an end.

Affordable homes in York…. Council report adds to confusion

Under the last Labour Government Council house building reached a, post second world war, low.

Under the last Labour Government Council house building reached a, post second world war, low.

Following our article yesterday,  on section 106 affordable homes and other infrastructure requirements, the Council has now published a working group report on the issue.

The report talks only of “rural sites” of 10 homes or less being affected.

The government guidance however refers to all small sites.

We think that it is time to try something new to stimulate the house building market in York. The government guidance offers an opportunity to do that. If 800 additional homes were built each year, then inflationary pressure on house prices would reduce- benefiting everyone. 

We do also need more affordable homes in the City.

The Council should change its policies and buy up empty properties in the City and add them to the rental pool.


Housing figures to be questioned as Tories try to “sack” Cabinet member


Two questions have been tabled for Thursdays York Council meeting, which may shed some light on the demand for affordable housing in York.

The questions spring from the decision to remove over half the applicants who were registered on the waiting list in September.

The impact of this major decision – which was taken behind closed doors – will be questioned by Liberal Democrat Councillor Ann Reid.

She has tabled the following question,

“Does the decision to remove 2400 applicants from the Housing Waiting List, which means there are now officially fewer residents in housing need, mean there will be lower affordable house building targets?”

Last week the government announced that developers would, in future, not have to provide a fixed number of affordable units on developments of 10 homes or less.

In addition, Councils will be able to borrow money to acquire more social housing.

The Labour Leadership’s claim, that the additional homes that they plan to build in and around the City over the next 15 years would be occupied by local residents, is also being challenged.

The following question has been tabled.

“What proportion of the 22,000 additional homes that the Cabinet Member feels should be built during the next 15 years under Labour’s Local Plan proposals, does she believe will be occupied by York residents and their families and how many by inward migration?”

Meanwhile Conservative Councillors are trying to force the resignation from the Cabinet of Cllr Tracey Simpson Laing.

Acomb Council branch office closed by Councillor Simpson Laing

Acomb Council branch office closed by Councillor Simpson Laing

They have put down a motion of “no confidence“, but cite only the Councillors failure to provide additional affordable homes in the City.

While housing building rates over the last 3 years have been disappointing, and the failure of the Council to buy on the open market to supplement the rented stock lamentable, the more serious shortcomings of the present administration are in danger of being overlooked.

Labour only have themselves to blame though, as they tried a similar “no confidence” stunt in 2008.

House prices in York

Shelter has issued another report claiming that there are not enough “affordable” homes for families to buy in York.

This is probably true but not to the extent that is claimed.

As with much other research data the figures are bedevilled by the use of average income figures.

It matters little what percentage of properties on the market are “affordable”. The key figure is the gross number available.

The key to whether there are “enough” affordable homes for sale rests with much more simple question.

What income would a family with 2 children need to be able to afford to buy a 2 or 3 bedroomed property in the City?

Foxwood Lane to rent

Foxwood Lane to rent

Terrington Court to rent

Terrington Court to rent

Front Street to rent

Front Street to rent

Crombie Avenue for sale

Crombie Avenue for sale

Hatfield Walk to buy

Hatfield Walk to buy

Bramham Avenue to buy

Bramham Avenue to buy

There are numerous properties currently advertised for under £100,000 in York. Most are, however, flats and are unlikely to appeal to families. (click images right and left for details)

• The cheapest 2 bedroomed house is advertised at £112,500 (Bramham Avenue)

• A similar 2 bed terrace in Kingsway West is advertised for £116,995.

• The cheapest 3 bedroomed house is available in Hatfield Walk for £124,950.

• A 3 bedroomed property in Barkston Close will cost £130,000

• The cheapest 4 bedroomed property can be found in Crombie Avenue for £165,000.

• A 4 bedroomed bungalow in Coniston Close in Rawcliffe is advertised at £177,000

• The cheapest 5 bedroomed property can be found in Osbaldwick Lane for £200,000.


• On the rental market a 2 bed terrace on Front Street can be had for £495 pcm

• The cheapest 3 bedroomed property is in Terrington Court in Strensall

• The cheapest 4 bedroomed property available to rent can be found on Foxwood Lane at £750 pcm.

It is the price of (privately) rented property that is the biggest issue in York at present.

This is partly influenced by the boom in student lets.

A number of new student halls of residence have recently been given planning permission in the City including the Press site.

There has been a boom in planning applications this year with many brownfield sites set to produce many more homes than were included in the draft Local Plan assumptions.

House sales in York picking up

There has been an increase in the number of properties sold in York over the last quarter.

In west York, a 1 bedroomed terraced property in Invicta Court sold for £103,000. A 2 bed semi in St Stephens Square fetched £116,000 while a 3 bedroomed semi in Thoresby Road went for £125,000. In Coeside £217,500 bought a 3 bedroomed detached.

Homes currently for sale include:

2 Bedroomed flat Helena Mews £110,000 click for more details

2 Bedroomed flat Helena Mews £110,000 click for more details

1 bed flats in Vyner House priced from £95,000

2 bed flat on St Stephens Square at £65,000

2 bed flat on Foxwood Lane for £110,000

2 Bed semi in Minter Close for £144,000

3 Bed house on Kingsway West for £135,000

• Those with a very large family might be interested in a £395,000 6/7 bedroomed property in Thanet Road

While at the other end of the price range a new 5 bedroomed property in Dalton Terrace will set you back £595,000

The cheapest property that we could find in York is a 1 Bedroomed flat in Buckingham Street currently advertised for £55,000

To Rent

Baker Street 3 bedroomed house £625 PCM click for more details

Baker Street 3 bedroomed house £625 PCM click for more details

2 bed terrace in Hanover Street is advertised at £575 pcm

3 bed in Baker Street is advertised at £625 PCM

4 Bed in Danebury Drive is advertised at £695

The cheapest (private sector) property available to rent in York at present is a 1 bedroomed end terrace in Eccles Close Rawcliffe available at £300 per month.

195 new apartments for Hungate

A planning application for the next phase of the Hungate development has been submitted to the Council.

Click here for details

Hungate phase 2

The Foss side application – a mix of 1, 2 and 3 bedroomed flats – is unexceptional save in one respect.

No offer is made of affordable units either on site or off site.

Instead a viability study is being prepared which will indicate “at a later date” what – if any – “affordable units” can be provided.

A precedent for a zero affordable contribution was established by a planning inspector who determined a York planning appeal recently.

The design of the flats proposed suggests that they would not address social housing needs anyway (although most of the waiting list is now made up of residents seeking 1 bedroomed accommodation).

If this means that payment to the Council, in lieu of homes, is planned then that could be a step forward.

As we have pointed out previously, there are many properties for sale in the City for around £100,000.

If the Council was a “cash in hand” purchaser they could buy up some of these and make an immediate impact on the housing waiting list.

The last batch of Hungate properties were relatively expensive (starting at over £200,000 for a small flat).

So the willingness of the developer to proceed with the next stage does provide further evidence that the country’s economic recovery is gaining momentum in York.

Council housing sites – Freedom of Information request now reveals the sites that were considered.

When the Council announced its preferred list of locations for new Council houses 5 months ago, it refused to reveal which other possible locations had been considered.

Now a Freedom of Information request by Cllr Ann Reid has forced the Council to reveal the identity of the sites.

Green Lane garage site

Green Lane garage site

The sites under consideration were:
Green Lane garages (Westfield Ward)

Viking Road garages (Acomb Ward)

Infill land on Maple Avenue. (Bishopthorpe Ward)

Infill land to the rear of 21 – 51 Fossway (Heworth Ward)

The sites eventually selected were

Fenwick Street 9 Apartments
York Road, Haxby 4 Houses
Beckfield Lane 27 (Houses & Apartments)
Chaloners Road (Garage Court) 11 Apartments (possibly 8)
Hewley Avenue (Garage Court) 6 Apartments
Newbury Avenue (Garage Court) 9 Apartments

The Planning committee will consider the Beckfield Lane application next week. Thursday, 5th September, 2013 2.00 pm George Hudson Board Room – 1st Floor West Offices (F045)

Details here.

The application includes 9 “affordable” houses and 9 “affordable” flats. In total 27 units will be built there. There have been several objections to the plans