It seems that the unmet demand for new homes – which built up during lockdown – has resulted in high demand and rising prices in York. The City has been named as one of “the” places to live in a succession of media surveys and that is one of the reasons for some sections of the housing market – in some neighbourhoods – are seeing a lot of activity.
It is a market that the York Council may be eager to exploit. It has several new developments in the pipeline including the huge York Central site, Duncombe Barracks, Castle Mills, Lowfields and the Burnholme Hub.
The latter two illustrate some of the challenges.
Neighbours of the Lowfield Green site have never been happy with what they view as an overdevelopment. A sports field will be built on without any compensatory public open space being provided.
But it is the pace of development, which is one of the current major concerns.
An FOI response has revealed that the Yorspace communal housing group have still not completed the purchase of their allocated plot (located in the south east corner of the development).
The site was used as a location for a spoil heap for about six months and the subsequent removal of this remains the only work completed in the immediate area.
Residents were promised that – from start to completion – the project would take a maximum of 3 years. A long time to suffer the drone of nearby heavy plant and increased traffic, but nevertheless the promise provided light at the end of the tunnel for neighbours.
It is 18 months since the builders arrived. So far there has been no progress on providing any community facilities or the promised retirement home.
Prospective purchasers are likely to be discouraged by the prospect of living on a building site for several more years.
More information can be found on the residents action group Facebook page
A similar situation could arise at Burnholme. As explained last week, a planning application for this development will be determined on Wednesday.
The background has changed over recent days with anti-social behaviour problems escalating at the nearby Derwenthorpe development and within the Burnholme Hub itself.
We understand that the library has been a recent target for vandals.
All in all, that suggests a rethink of security across the whole neighbourhood is needed.
Expecting new residents to park their cars at remote locations simply adds to the risks.
City of York Council is extending the opening hours of Hazel Court Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) from Monday 8 March.
This will bring forward the later opening hours, which were due to start in April – for strictly essential journeys only. The new opening times will be:
Mondays to Saturdays: 8.30am to 7pm
Sundays: 8.30am to 4pm
In recent weeks, there has been a huge demand for the HWRC site, with an increase of around 30 per cent in visits, which has resulted in queuing problems in the area.
The extended opening hours hopes to address this issue and in addition to this Yorwaste, who manage the sites, have made further adjustments to make on site bays clearer and have increased the number of garden waste and cardboard skips.
Traffic monitoring will be in place at sites and due to safety concerns regarding queueing outside of the sites, residents may be asked to leave and return at another time.
In addition to this, traders are permitted to use Harewood Whin to dispose of their waste too. For more information on this visit www.yorwaste.co.uk/commercial-waste/ . Commercial waste tipping times are will remain the same Monday to Friday, between 8.30am to 4.30pm, not at weekends.
The York Council has confirmed that the new LNER Community Stadium will not now be completed until 2021. The latest problems, for the jinx hit project, apparently relate to drainage. Remedial works will take several weeks to complete.
At one level this makes little difference, as spectators are not allowed into sports events at present. It might, however, prevent York City switching their (behind closed doors) matches to the new stadium pitch which, in turn, could delay their leaving Bootham Crescent.
The start of the Rugby League season is also creeping closer while tickets for the Rugby World Cup games – now less than a year away – are already on sale.
A further threat to the project is now emerging.
The complex operator GLL – who also run the Council’s Energise sports centre in Cornlands Road – have said that the COVID restrictions have impacted on their finances. The suggestion is that this will mean job losses and possibly the permanent closure of some facilities. GLL are a social enterprise company with operations across most of the country.
The sports centre and pool at Monk Cross – although completed several weeks ago – have yet to open.
With the cinema also now closed, units like the NHS centre and library locked up and “no takers” for the restaurant units, the whole business plan for the complex now looks increasingly shaky.
“The construction of the York Stadium Leisure Complex is practically complete but with some fairly significant works remaining to the estate highway. The core building fabric works are now complete, with only a small number of trades still working on site to progress the final stages of minor works, known in the industry as ‘snagging’”.
“For the York Stadium Leisure Complex to open to both the public, and all tenants, the Stadium must, amongst other things, gain all required safety and licence certification.
The systems test has now been held and work is now ongoing from that in order to finalise the safety certificate and safety documentation.
There are likely to be a number of financial issues and settlement of claims to resolve after the stadium is completed, that will take a number of months to resolve and these may result in some financial impact to the Council.
There are also a number of other COVID related matters to finalise however opening is still expected across the stadium and leisure site in autumn 2020”.
These comments help to explain the media comment last week which said that a York City match scheduled for next week (v Chorley on 6th October) could not take place at the stadium.
Leaving COVID restrictions aside, there is some speculation about whether Bootham Crescent can be brought back into use as it also needs to have a up to date safety certificate.
After a successful final friendly match yesterday (a 0-3 success at Notts County), City face a trip to Warrington on 3rd October. Spectators are not allowed at matches in Warrington at present (click)
Such restrictions are also likely to apply in York at the scheduled beginning of the National League North (NLN) season, with some clubs planning to “stream” matches to supporters. Such a facility requires the agreement of the broadcast license holder and of the football authorities.
We understand that Clubs have not as yet received confirmation from the government that the lost income, from playing behind closed doors matches, would be refunded. In the NLN, clubs with part time players are only liable for wages after the first game of the season has been played. So clarification is now urgently required (York City have a full time playing squad).
As for the potential additional liability on the Council, it remains unclear whether this relates solely to the floorspace which the Council agreed to underwrite, and which currently remains unlet.
If it is anything more than that, then taxpayers should be told how much the scale of the additional risk is now.
The Council has budgeted to invest £14.4 million in the project. A Section 106 (developer) contribution of £15.3 million has also been allocated.
York City FC will pay £2 million towards the £42 million total cost of the development when they sell Bootham Crescent.
Building work is still continuing at the site of the LNER Community Stadium at Monks Cross. It seems that it will be some time before all the buildings can be brought into use.
The main area of concern remains the stadium itself. The authorities failed to stage the required test events before the lockdown led to a suspension of most work.
The test events – of varying capacities – are a prerequisite for the issue of asafety certificate. Without a certificate the stadium can’t be commissioned.
It is something of a paradox that – because of social distancing regulations – initially only a proportion of the capacity would be used. The (National League) football season is due to start at the beginning of October. That is only seven weeks away. Players will recommence training shortly and it is customary to stage friendly matches in the immediate run up to start of a season.
There is little clarify from the government at this stage about how social distancing might limit crowd numbers.
Some sports commentators have said that as few as 1 in 5 seats might be occupied.
Therein may be the rub for York City.
Social distancing is potentially much easier in an all seater stadium like the one at Monk Cross. If 20% of its 8512 seats were occupied then this would be enough to accommodate all season ticket holders plus a few more.
York City’s average attendance, during the last fully completed season (2018/19), was 2443.
In the same year the York Knights Rugby Team attracted 2125.
If one in three seats could be occupied (essentially respecting a 1 metre social distancing guideline) the all regular supporters could be accommodated.
Some other teams in the National League North have announced plans to ground share at stadiums with a larger capacity to accommodate all who wish to attend.
Hopefully the Council and its partners have plans in place to quickly finish off the remaining building work and find a way to open the stadium albeit possibly with a reduced capacity.
Labour have “called in” the decision to move forward with the York Central development. It casts new doubt on a project which has yet to receive detailed planning permission.
Labour cite post pandemic economic concerns as one of the justifications for shelving the project. They also question the conditions attached to the governments £77 million investment in the plans (see below). They apparently believe that the ambitions of the “House of Lords” have not been accommodated.
Meanwhile, the York Central Partnership has welcomed the government’s confirmation of the £77.1m funding to help to unlock the homes, better paid jobs and community spaces on the brownfield site.
The Minstry of Housing, Communities and Local government has written to the City of York Council to confirm the arrangements for the funding, which will be awarded to Homes England and Network Rail as the major landowners on the site. Under the arrangement, City of York Council will be reimbursed for the money it has committed to keep the project moving.
The funding is a major piece in a £155m funding package put together by the council working with fellow York Central Partnership members Homes England, Network Rail and National Railway Museum to fund the infrastructure works to unlock the brownfield site. The first phase of this work will include the access road bridge and spine road through the site, a pedestrian bridge on Water End and a rail link to the National Railway Museum.
Councillor Keith Aspden, leader of City of York Council, said:
“This is fantastic news for York. Our early investment and continued commitment, even during the pandemic, was essential to secure this investment.
The funding is a vital step to unlocking a £1.16bn boost to our economy, and delivering a new generation of jobs and hundreds of affordable homes, when York needs it most.
The York Central Partnership is delivering where decades of proposals have failed. Our shared vision for an ambitious development which delivers cleaner, greener growth and a fairer economy in York underpins the entire project, and we will keep playing our part to make York Central deliver for the whole city.
It’s also yet another important milestone following outline planning approval last year, funding agreements with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and the York and North Yorkshire LEP.
This is the result of a lot of hard work by the York Central Partnership, and further demonstration of our commitment to an ambitious scheme which will give York the jobs and homes it needs as the outline planning application for York Central includes proposals to build up to 2,500 homes, including affordable homes, and a commercial quarter creating up to 88,000m2 of high quality office space. “
It also includes:
pedestrian and cycle route provision into and through the site
low levels of parking spaces
high sustainable design standards built into the design guide
around £15m developer contributions to deliver the sustainable transport infrastructure ensuring more bus passengers, cyclists and pedestrians.
This £155m funding package also includes £23.5m of a total of £37.2m from the West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund and Leeds City Region Growth Deal, which will also fund the ambitious plans to transform the front of the railway station.
The West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund has been part-funded through the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Growth Deal, a £1 billion package of Government funding to drive growth and job creation across the Leeds City Region. The aim is to create around 20,000 new jobs and add £2.4 billion a year to the economy by the mid-2030s.
City of York Council has also received a Local Growth Fund contribution of £6m from York and North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership and agreed to borrow £35m to be repaid using retained business rates from the York Central Enterprise Zone.
The Yorkshire Water’s work on Tudor Road, which is intended to provide services to the Lowfields development, continues to make slow progress.
Tudor Road and the public footpath were blocked for a couple of weeks from 15th June. Work on the main carriageway continued until early July. It was expected that delivery lorries to the Lowfields development site – which had been using Dijon Avenue – would then return to using the authorised Tudor Road entrance.
That hasn’t proved to be the case with lorries still trundling down Dijon Avenue each day. It seems the 2 month duration will pass before there is any relief.
Meanwhile the section of the site reserved for the Yorspace communal housing scheme has been taken over by Wates builders. They have established a spoil heap there and are also storing other materials on the site. Apparently the cooperative still haven’t actually completed the purchase of the land and it remains unclear whether the promised homes will ever actually get built.
We were unable to collect household waste from Kingsway West in Westfield due to access issues. We’ll attempt to collect this household waste on Thursday 23 July, access permitting. Please present your containers for collection by 7.00am.
We were unable to collect recycling from parts of Heworth due to vehicle issues. We’ll collect this recycling on Thursday 23 July. Please present your containers for collection by 7.00am.
We were unable to collect garden waste from parts of Heworth and parts of Acomb due to vehicle issues. We’ll collect this garden waste on the evening of Wednesday 22 July, or onThursday 23 July. Please leave your containers out for collection.
We were able to collect all outstanding waste from Tuesday 21 July.
After a few good days, when most collections were completed on schedule, vehicle unreliability resulted in delays yesterday according to the Council. They report;
Latest waste service update Tuesday 21 July
All household waste collections have been made.
We were unable to collect recycling waste from Chapelfields and parts of Bishopthorpe due to vehicle breakdowns. We’ll return for this waste on the evening of Tuesday 21 July. Please leave your containers out for collection.
We were unable to collect garden waste from parts of Chapelfields, Askham Lane and Tang Hall due to vehicle breakdowns.
We’ll return to Chapelfields and Askham Lane on the evening of Tuesday 21 July. Please leave your containers out for collection.
We’ll return to Tang Hall on Wednesday 22 July. Please present your containers for collection by 7am.
We have collected all the outstanding recycling and garden waste from Monday 20 July and Friday 17 July.