York Council set to reject bid to build on Green Belt land in Acomb

1.1 The site occupies part of an agricultural field on the south side of Boroughbridge Road (A59), positioned at the edge of the suburban area on the west side of the city.

There is housing to the east; Trenchard Road being closest, and Muddy Boots nursery to the west of the site.

Beyond the site, there is further agricultural land to the west and then a petrol station and commercial unit positioned at the junction where the A59 meets the outer ring road.

To the south is agricultural land between the suburban edge and the outer ring road.

Opposite the site on the north side of the A59 is the former Civil Service site, which has planning permission for housing development (266 dwellings approved under application 14/02979/FULM).

The site is within the general extent of the Green Belt.

The development plan for the area is the Upper and Nether Poppleton Neighbourhood Plan. Within the plan the site is designated as being within the Green Belt.

The site is also within land identified as Green Belt in un-adopted local plans – the 2005 Draft Local Plan and the 2018 Publication Draft Local Plan (DLP).

The application proposes 60 dwellings, with a single access point for vehicles from the A59 and associated public open space in the centre of the site and opposite the A59. The vehicle access would be opposite the approved access for the housing site at former civil service site.

The application (click) is recommended for refusal at a meeting which is taking place on 3rd December.

NB. The same meeting will have a second go at determining a planning application for the Castle Mills Car park site. This is a proposal from the Council itself and was deferred to allow further input from the professional advisers. It would see 106 apartments built and is recommended for approval.

British Sugar Site

Much of the British Sugar development site on Boroughbridge Road has now been levelled. It remains unclear when construction of the long delayed homes will start.

In the meantime one resident has commented that some of the trees on the site – scheduled for retention because they provide a wildlife habitat – seem to have disappeared. The Council has been asked to investigate.

The old Manor school site does not seem to have been affected,.

Council must get to grips with planning system

Today’s announcement of a plan to build on greenbelt land between Acomb and Poppleton highlights the problems that lockdown is bringing for the planning system in the City.

An application for a major new development on Boroughbridge Road has been submitted.

The Councils Local Plan never got beyond the preliminary stages of a hearing in public before restrictions caused proceedings to be suspended.  

As so much of the Plan depends on – now impossibly unrealistic – assumptions about economic growth and the demand for extra housing that will bring not surprisingly some objectors are calling for a new plan to be developed.

But that would leave the City without a basis on which to judge individual applications for a period of 5 years or longer. It would also involve enormous cost which the taxpayer can ill afford. It isn’t even certain when revised ONS population figures could be published reflecting what is now called he “new normal”.

The “new normal” won’t be clear for at least a year.

Against that background, some developers are spotting the main chance and seeking to exploit the chaos in the planning system. Losing large chunks of the Green Belt to avarice would be a disaster for the City.

The Council only has itself to blame. They bounced their own Lowfields development – much of which is being built on playing fields – through the system before it could be subject to a proper public inquiry. The Council may, therefore, find it difficult to defend its position, if significant numbers of appeals are lodged against planning applications even if they have been rejected locally.

This also raises the issue of the role of the planning committee.

At least on “meeting” of the committee will be held later this month (21st May at 10.30am) to consider an application at the hospital. Many of its members will not be allowed to participate in what will be a “remote” meeting.

Instead what the Council terms a proportional sample will make decisions (Cllrs (Cullwick, Chair, Pavlovic, Vice Chair,  Ayre, Hollyer, Perrett, Kilbane and D’Agorne). The “proportion is based on the relative strength of the political parties represented on the Council. However planning decisions should not be determined by party political priorities. Each application should be judged on its merits.

Several Conservative and Independent members are therefore being excluded from the process, ostensibly on the basis that the more who log in the greater the risk of technical failure.

It may be that the hospital application will prove to be uncontroversial. The only outstanding application is for  the erection of vascular imaging unit on Wigginton Road. The application was submitted last August. The only significant issue appears to relate to drainage.

But there are other controversial proposals in the pipeline. The Acomb/Poppleton proposals may be the tip of the iceberg.

A more inclusive way of making decisions is required.

NB. We were sorry to learn of the passing recently of Rachel Macefield who was the lead planning officer for the Council on the York Local Plan. Our condolences to her family and friends.

Appeal following collision in York

Police in York are appealing for witnesses and information about a road traffic collision on Boroughbridge Road.

Appeal following collision in York

It happened at 9.45pm on Thursday 31 October 2019 at the junction of Boroughbridge Road onto Beckfield Lane.

It involved two vehicles, a Nissan Quashqai and a Suzuki Ignis.

Immediately after the collision, the driver and occupants of the Suzuki Ignis left the scene.

We are requesting the public’s assistance to help establish the full circumstances surrounding the incident.

In particular, we are appealing for information about who was driving the Suzuki or any one who saw the driver leave the scene

The four occupants from the Nissan were all taken to Hospital with slight injuries but later discharged

Anyone with information that could assist the investigation should contact North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 2, and ask for PC41 Ellison. You can also email david.ellison@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk

If you wish to remain anonymous, you can pass information to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Please quote the North Yorkshire Police reference number 12190201298

Large development on York Green Belt agreed

Homes to be built on former Civil Service Sports Ground

Miller Homes have won a planning appeal which will see 266 homes built on Green Belt land. The site lies between Millfield Lane and Boroughbridge Road. 30% of the homes to be built will be classified as “affordable”

The results of the planning appeal went against the views of local conservationists . Consequently a key greenfield site will be lost following the ruling by the planning inspector.

The decision will effectively sever the green wedge which currently separates the City from Poppleton.

The York Council did not resist the appeal which was made against “non determination”. The application had been outstanding since 2014

Objectors had hoped to put their case to the inspectors who will be looking at the Councils draft Local Plan over the next few weeks.

The inspector concluded that there would be a “considerable loss of openness if the proposal was agreed”.

Conditions imposed by Inspector

The decision – taken with the plan to develop the former school and sugar factory sites on Boroughbridge Road – will have a major impact on transport in the area.

Hopes that more land would be allocated for open space and a park have received a major setback.

The Inspector concluded  “that very special circumstances exist to justify inappropriate development in the Green Belt”.

It is unclear how the costs of the inquiry will be met.

Major York brownfield site gets development boost

City of York Council welcomes a decision by the Secretary of State to set new conditions which will help unlock the former British Sugar site and other unused brownfield sites in the city.

Taking into account York’s emerging Local Plan and the Upper and Nether Poppleton Neighbourhood Plan, the Minister of Housing, Communities and Local Government has said that allocating 20% affordable housing to the site off Boroughbridge Road is reasonable.

Because of the scale of the development, the Minister has recognised that delivering that percentage would not be viable in the initial phases of development. So the recommendation proposes that a minimum 3% provision would be made with additional affordable housing provided based on reassessment evidence for each phase.

Labour Councillor told to remove propaganda from Council noticeboard

A Labour Councillor in York has been told to remove party political literature from a Council owned noticeboard in Front Street.

The Acomb Councillor had posted a leaflet, on the publicly funded board, attacking LibDem and Conservative Councillors over the siting of a new park in the Boroughbridge Road area.

The leaflet says, “The Tory and Liberal Democrat coalition in charge of the Council has completely ignored the petition (collected by Cllr Barnes asking for a public park at the old Manor school site) riding roughshod over the views of local people and trying to shoehorn ever more housing into an area that they know already has a shortage of open space” etc.

The leaflet goes on to advertise a public meeting at which the local Labour MP will be present.

A Code of Conduct governs how local Councillors are expected to behave. The Code specifically states ” When you use or authorise the use by others of the resources of the Council you must ensure that such resources are not used improperly for political purposes (including party political purposes)”

Now Cllr Barnes has been ordered to remove the leaflet by lunchtime today (Friday).

The issue of where the new park, planned for the Sugar Works development on Boroughbridge Road, should be located has engaged residents for  over 5 years.  Ironically the preference for a central location emerged following consultations by the then Labour controlled Council in 2012.

In 2013, the Council sold the old Manor School site to developers. No conditions were placed on the sale but the expectation was – and remains – that an access road would bisect the field.

The history of the site seems to have largely escaped the notice of several current Council members.

The first opportunity to consider Cllr Barnes petition will come next Wednesday when the Planning Committee will decide on its reaction to plans tabled by the developers.

In the meantime, Councillors are being urged to make sure that public noticeboards contain only factual information. Some are also being encouraged to use a little soap and water to keep the boards clean!



Carlton Tavern to be demolished

..as Council prepares to oppose development plans for former Sugar Works on Boroughbridge Road

Planning committee Councillors voted last night to approve a proposal to demolish the Carlton Tavern and replace it with an elderly care facility.  Ironically the decision was taken on the casting vote of a Chairman who would not have been in that position had he not been arbitrarily removed from his Executive post in September by the Council Leader.  With a different Chair, the decision might have gone the other way, although the applicants would no doubt feel that they would have had a good chance of winning the inevitable subsequent appeal.

Next up, in an important series of planning decisions pending on the Acomb side of the City, is consideration of plans for the Sugar Works and former Manor school site on Boroughbridge Road.

The Council has dithered for over 3 years in getting this, apparently ideal, brown field housing site off the drawing board. The owners finally lost patience and have appealed to the Secretary of State to intervene on grounds of “non-determination” by the York Council. The planning application was first submitted in 2014.

Consultation had started in 2013

Bizarrely the Planning committee must now formally say whether they would have approved the application had it been presented to them.

They are being asked to consider “the development of the site comprising up to 1,100 residential units, community uses (D1/D2) and new public open space with details of access (to include new access points at Millfield Lane and Boroughbridge Road and a new link road, crossing the Former Manor School Site) and demolition of the Former Manor School buildings”

Officials are recommending that the proposal be opposed.

They list many deficiencies in the plan while acknowledging that the site was slated for housing development in the Draft Local Plan tabled in 2011 (by the then LibDem led Council), by the Labour Council in their 2014 Draft Local Plan and again by the new Coalition administration last year.

The main reasons for refusing the application are listed as:

  • Inadequate financial contributions toward pre-school, primary school, secondary school funding and off-site sports provision
  • The absence of any affordable housing

There has been a lot of talk recently about allocating the former Manor School playing field as a public park. In 2012 the then Labour controlled Council identified the need for a more central area of public open space as part of a “community hub” on the site.

Over 9 ha is identified in the current proposals for this purpose (In addition an “off site” new cricket pitch will be provided).

In 2013 the Council sold the former Manor School site, including the playing fields, to ABF – the current planning applicants. The sale was not conditional.

At the very least, the planning meeting should determine whether centralised or peripheral open space is the desired way forward for this development.

NB Proposals to develop the Lowfields playing fields will go before the Planning committee in January.

Applications are also expected soon for the former Oakhaven elderly persons home site on Acomb Road, the adjacent police buildings and for the redevelopment of Windsor House in Ascot Way

Police appeal following recent burglary on Boroughbridge Road in York


North Yorkshire Police is appealing for witnesses and information about a commercial burglary that occurred in York.
It happened on A59 Boroughbridge Road, York between 10pm on 26 May 2017 and 8am on 27 May 2017 and involved a Mercedes Sprinter flat bed van VRM KN59 GSU being stolen from Oaktree Nursery. Other high  value items were also stolen.We are conducting enquiries and are requesting the public’s assistance to help determine the full circumstances surrounding the incident.

Anyone with information that could assist the investigation should contact us on 101, select option 2, and ask for Leon Dryden. You can also email Leon.Dryden0090@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk

If you wish to remain anonymous, you can pass information to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Please quote the North Yorkshire Police reference number 12170091337