Would you believe it! York Local Plan put back another 6 months.

After all the dire warnings about government intervention if a new York Local Plan wasn’t adopted in 2017, the Council is set to delay publication for another 6 months.

i-dont-belive-it

They claim the delay is due to new sites becoming available for development. Essentially these are the MOD sites on Fulford Road and at Strensall.  Potentially these sites could accommodate around 1695 homes and would reduce the pressure to build on greenbelt land.

A meeting on 5th December 2016 will receive an update report

Even after any amendments are incorporated into the plan, further consultation will be necessary while transport, delivery and sustainability  reports will have to be prepared.

Strangely the report fails to assess what central governments reaction to the increased timescales might be. Previously the City has been threatened with an “imposed” plan by London. That threat now seems to have disappeared.

In the meantime, some developers are likely to spot the main chance and submit planning applications for individual sites. The Council will be able to give little weight to its emerging Local Plan when fending off unsuitable proposals.

It could also be faced with difficult decisions on land that it owns. This would include the Lowfields school site; the development of the playing fields there having attracted objections during the consultation on the Local Plan which took place during the summer. These objections have not yet been considered although a report is expected next week on the early development of the land.

Any delay will also add to the costs faced by taxpayers who will continue to fund the salaries of those temporary bureaucrats who should by now have moved on.

All in all then an unsatisfactory situation with many householders in the City living in homes blighted by uncertainties.

The York Council needs to up its game and set more testing deadlines for the completion of this process.

Have your say on the Joint Minerals and Waste Plan for York

Local communities, developers and other interested parties will have the opportunity to have their say on where, when and how minerals and waste development may be expected to take place in the York and North Yorkshire area until 31 December 2030.

A six week consultation on the Joint Minerals and Waste Plan for York and North Yorkshire will take place between Wednesday 9 November and 5pm on Wednesday 21 December 2016.

City of York Council, North Yorkshire County Council, and the North York Moors National Park Authority have joined together to produce a plan for the area covered by the three authorities.

City of York Council’s Local Plan Working Group and Executive approved  the draft Minerals and Waste Joint Plan for consultation in October.  (more…)

York minerals and waste plan update

Fracking to be discussed by York Council committee on 10th October

Fracking dangersA joint minerals and waste plan for York and North Yorkshire will take another step forward next month, when City of York Council’s Local Plan Working Groups and subsequently its Executive, will be asked to approve the draft Minerals and Waste Joint Plan.

North Yorkshire County Council, City of York Council and the North York Moors National Park Authority have joined together to produce a new minerals and waste plan for the area covered by the three authorities.

The report also deals with the issues relating to hydraulic fracturing for shale gas (fracking) in terms of what policies would be included in the Draft Minerals and Waste Plan to deal with any potential future applications for shale gas exploration or extraction in the Joint Plan area.  The Joint Plan will help make sure a high level of protection is provided to local communities and the environment when planning applications for these forms of development are being considered.

A first consultation was undertaken within the three authority areas in June 2013 and was followed by an Issues and Options consultation in April 2014 which received 2,405 responses. Both consultations sought views on what the Joint Plan should contain and what the priorities should be.
(more…)

Last chance to have your say on York’s future housing, jobs and growth

There are only a few days left for residents, businesses, developers and landowners to help shape one of the most important strategies of our generation, by having their say on the Local Plan sites consultation.
Developers are eye land at the end of Grange Lane

Developers are eyeing land at the end of Grange Lane

City of York Council is currently preparing York’s Local Plan, which will support the city’s economic growth, protect York’s green belt, address the shortage of housing and help shape future development and employment in York over the next 15-years and beyond.

On the west of the City there are a number of controversial proposals notably the plan to build on the playing fields at the former Lowfields school site.

Residents don’t, of course, know what alternative proposals developers are suggesting although one – development  of the land a the end of Grange Lane – has become public.

Extract from Focus newsletter 1988

Extract from Focus newsletter 1988

Ironically it is almost exactly 28 years to the day since a proposal to develop land near Askham Grange was first mooted.

At that time, local Councillors were able to successfully fight off the threat and the land has remained in the Green Belt ever since.

The eight-week consultation finishes on Monday 12 September at 5pm on the Local Plan Preferred Sites document, which outlines revised figures for housing, employment and sites.

 Go online:  http://tinyurl.com/LPGrange to complete the survey and to find a full copy of the Local Plan Preferred Sites document

Email: localplan@york.gov.uk  

Telephone: 01904 552255

Get involved: on Twitter @CityofYork or Facebook @CityofYorkCouncil via the hashtag #YorkLocalPlan

Write to:  Freepost RTEG-TYYU-KLTZ, Local Plan, City of York Council, West Offices, Station Rise, York, YO1 6GA

Lowfields campaigners attending Local Plan meeting at Acomb Library tomorrow (Thursday)

Residents, dismayed by the York Council’s plan to build on the sports field at the old Lowfields school site, are planning to register their objections at a Local Plan meeting tomorrow (Thursday).

The meeting is described as a “drop in” and takes place at the Acomb Explore Library. The Library is open between 9:00am – 9.30pm

The Local Plan has been changed to allocate 13 acres of land at the site for the development of up to 137 homes.  Previous plans had restricted any development to the  built footprint of the former school itself (6.5 acres).

In a recent survey residents indicted that they wanted more of the public green space in the area conserved with the retention of a sports pitch and the provision of a nature reserve popular suggestions.

Some residents have already recorded their objections to the Councils plan to overdevelop the Lowfields site.

Go online: www.york.gov.uk/localplan to complete the survey and to find a full copy of the Local Plan Preferred Sites document

York Council views on Lowfields development. Click to view whole reprt

York Council views on Lowfields development. Click to view whole report

Developer eyes land next to Chapelfields

Chapelfields developmentAccording to papers seen by Ward Councillors, a developer is  still hoping to build on land at the top of Grange Lane. The news came only days after the Council announced that all existing Green Belt land lying between the built up area and the A1237 northern bypass would continue to be protected.

The confirmation of the existing Green Belt boundaries was made possible after the LibDems identified sufficient “brownfield” (previously developed) land to meet housing needs for the foreseeable future.

In total around 12,000 additional homes will be provided over the next 20 years under the new Local Plan

It means that building works will be concentrated on sites like the rear of the railway station.

However developers can appeal against this decision and they may have the support of the Labour party which originally tabled proposals which would have seen the City increase in size by 25%.

Local Councillor Andrew Waller has criticised the Grange Lane plans.

Aug 2016 Find out more Local Plan“Development on this site would exacerbate traffic problems in the area which are already acute at school arrival and leaving times. 

The fields between Chapelfields and the ring road provide a soft boundary between the open countryside and  the City and include some informal recreational walks.

They shouldn’t be sacrificed so a private individual can make a quick profit”.

I hope that residents will write to the Council supporting the existing Green Belt boundaries”. 

Response forms are available on the Council’s website (www.york.gov.uk/localplan ) or are available from the Council’s West Offices reception or from Acomb library.

 

York Council meeting to debate EU referendum fall out

Three of the four motions up for debate at the York Council meeting on 21st July spring directly or indirectly form the result of the referendum.

Big City smallStrangest is one from an Independent Councillor who spectacularly mixes up cause and effect when asking the government to reduce housing targets because international (in the case meaning the EU) migration will fall in the future. 

The growth in housing numbers in York is mainly driven by economic expansion targets. Many would say that the numbers included in the Local Plan are over ambitious but would the Council have the courage to scale down its job creation forecasts?

We think not.

If 13,000 (net) new jobs are created over the next 20 years, then those who will fill them are already alive somewhere. Only a very small number – because of York’s low unemployment rate – already live in the City. That means that many more will be inward migrants either from elsewhere in this country or from overseas.

The real issue is not immigration – it is getting a balance in economic growth targets which preserves the character of the built and natural environment of the City.

Residents have an opportunity over the next few weeks to have their say on how that issue can be reconciled.

Elsewhere Labour Councillors are seeking action against racist intimidation, the Tories want more on bus information systems while the LibDem Councillors will be seeking to ensure that Yorkshire keeps its current level of government funding (at risk because of EU exit).

Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to guarantee that York will still receive millions in EU funding and that the positive contribution EU citizens living in the city make is recognised.

The Lib Dems will move a motion at next week’s Full Council saying the Government should ensure that York and Yorkshire receives investment at least equal to that planned to be provided by EU programmes. Between now and 2020, the region will directly receive £661m from European programmes to support small businesses, help residents find work, and support farmers and rural communities.

The motion says that in future negotiations, the UK’s vital trading relationship with the EU should be protected and the Government should put in place a support package to help local businesses deal with the short-term economic shock and the transition to the UK’s new relationship with the EU. The Lib Dems are also calling for the rights of the 5,000 plus EU citizens currently working and living in the city to be protected. (more…)

Have your say on York’s future housing, jobs and growth

Residents, businesses, developers and landowners are being encouraged to help shape one of the most important strategies of our generation, by having their say on the Local Plan sites consultation.

City of York Council is currently preparing York’s Local Plan, which will support the city’s economic growth, protect York’s green belt, address the shortage of housing and help shape future development and employment in York over the next 15 years and beyond.

The eight-week consultation runs from Monday 18 July until 5pm on Monday 12 September on the Local Plan Preferred Sites document, which outlines revised figures for housing, employment and sites.

The council has provided a choice of ways for people to have their say, including joining officers at a number of drop-in events across the city, where they will be on hand to help answer any questions:

Acomb Explore Library

Acomb Explore Library

  • 3 August – West Offices
  • 9 August – Osbaldwick Sports Centre
  • 11 August – Dunnington Reading Room
  • 16 August – York Sport
  • 18 August – Acomb Explore Library
  • 24 August – Tesco Tadcaster Road
  • 24 August – Oaken Grove Community Centre, Haxby

The proposals include several controversial proposals including a plan to overdevelop the Lowfields school site.

On the other hand the Plan would safeguard land lying between the Westfield ward and the northern by pass from the threat of development
Football gala at Lowfields playing fields. The latest plan threaten to build on the green spaces in the area.

Football gala at Lowfields playing fields. The latest plans threaten to build on this green space.

From next week, every household in York is being sent a copy of a special edition of the council’s newsletter Our City, which provides lots of ways they can feedback during the consultation, including a freepost address.

For further opportunities to feedback, or to find out more information:

Go online: www.york.gov.uk/localplan to complete the survey and to find a full copy of the Local Plan Preferred Sites document

Pop into: any of York’s local libraries/Explore centres or the council’s West Offices to see the proposals throughout the consultation period

Email: localplan@york.gov.uk  

Telephone: 01904 552255

Get involved: on Twitter @CityofYork or Facebook @CityofYorkCouncil via the hashtag #YorkLocalPlan

Write to:

Freepost RTEG-TYYU-KLTZ, Local Plan, City of York Council, West Offices, Station Rise, York, YO1 6GA

To find out more about the Local Plan proposals read our news article here

York set to grow by 21% in size

Anyone currently planning to vote on the EU referendum on the basis that they may get more influence over their local community should Thier City or Our Citythink again. The report on the latest version of York’s Local Plan makes it clear that any population growth forecasts (including migration numbers) must be in line with government thinking. Councils cannot opt for lower figures – justified by more realistic economic development assumptions – without risking having a Whitehall written plan imposed on them.

The result is that the York Council has published a Local Plan which seeks to build an additional 842 homes in the City each year.

Most of these will go to the economic migrants who will be needed to fill the extra 15,000 new jobs (net 13,000) that the Council says will be created in the period up to 2032.  Most of these new jobs will be in professional & scientific sector (+2945) although high growth is also forecast for

  • retail (+2412),
  • administration (+1933),
  • tourism (+1847)
  • Construction (1353) &
  • Social care (+1212).

Declining industries are identified as

  • Manufacturing (-1231)
  • Public admin and defence (-587) &
  • Finance & Insurance (– 448)

The Council concludes that it needs to provide an additional 16,820 homes in the period between 1st April 2012 and 31st March 2032 (842pa). That is similar in total to the figures included in the 2014 draft when 14,816 were to be built in the period up to 2030. It is higher than the figure suggested a year ago (750).

Significantly it is also more than double the 400 a year average actually built since 2011.

So what has changed?

Then LibDem Euro MP Edward McMillan Scott with Westfield residents opposing the development of Acomb Moor in 2013. The site is scheduled to continue ion the Green Belt under plans published this week

Then LibDem Euro MP Edward McMillan Scott with Westfield residents opposing the development of Acomb Moor in 2013. The site is scheduled to continue in the Green Belt under plans published this week

The latest proposals represent an improvement on all the draft plans published since February 2011. The 2011 Plan – originated by the then Liberal Democrat controlled Council – did not involve any building on the Green Belt. In total, space for 12,075 dwellings was identified at that time.

An updated critique of Labours “Big City” approach was published 3 years ago. 

The new Plan substantially reduces (but does not eliminate) the need to build on land which has traditionally been regarded as Green Belt (and is currently protected as such). Over 407 hectares of green space will be lost under the new proposals. That compares to the Plan published in 2014 by Labour, which would have seen 911 hectares of Green Belt lost.

The new Plan (rightly) re-inserts an allowance for “windfall sites” with an assumption that around 150 of these small brownfield sites will become available each year. This is substantially less than have arisen over recent years and is therefore a very cautious estimate.

After taking into account existing outstanding planning permissions – and the number of homes built since the start of the plan period in 2012 – the Council believes it needed to identify sites for 8277 homes.

 In addition, it plans to earmark land to build a further 2540 homes between 2032 and 2037.

We will look in more detail later at the effect that this policy has had on individual sites.  However, there is some very mixed news with, on the one hand, sites like Acomb Moor freed from the menace of development, while a new threat has emerged which could lead to building on the football pitches and amenity land at Lowfields school.

Football gala at Lowfields playing fields. The latest plan threaten to build on the green spaces in the area.

Football gala at Lowfields playing fields. The latest Plan threatens to build on the football pitches in the area.

Of the 11 larger sites identified for development, seven currently fall in the Green Belt. These include:

  • The Civil Service Sports ground on Boroughbridge Road (292 dwellings),
  • Derwenthorpe Two (845),
  • Huntington Monks Cross (968) &
  • Haxby north (735).

In addition, two new communities are planned.

One is located off Wigginton Road between the City and Skelton (1348) while the other is at Whinthorpe, south of the University near Elvington (3339).  The Council papers make no mention of the impact such “villages” – and nearby large employment sites – might have on an already creaking infrastructure.

Some of the smaller housing developments and most of the employment sites are also located in the Green Belt.

Some will feel that the Council should have repudiated the Tory Governments high growth strategy a year of more ago. It may be too late to do so now.

For convenience the changes to land use are summarised below. Detailed maps can be found by clicking here

Green belt building plans

Green Belt building plans

Non strategic housing site

Non strategic housing site

Sites saved from development

Sites saved from development

Employment land allocations

Employment land allocations

York Council moves to legitimise Local Plan decision date

Big City smallThe latest Forward Plan -which indicates when key decisions are scheduled to be taken by the York Council – has been amended to include consideration of a new Draft Local Plan.

The Council has said that it will consider which sites will be allocated for new housing when its Executive meets on 30th June.

Residents were mystified when, last week, Councillors said discussion of the changes was imminent. No item had been placed on the Forward Plan and the Executive’s own agenda – which outlines the issues that will be considered at its subsequent two meetings – was also silent on the issue.

The Council has still not said when its Local Plan Working Group will meet. The all party group has not met since 30th November 2015.  It would normally meet to discuss any draft proposals before forwarding them to the Executive for approval.

We understand that Council officials are briefing the owners of major sites in the City this month. They are being told what to expect when the Draft Plan is released next month.secret decisions

Eyes will be on major sites like Clifton Gate (between Clifton Moor and Skelton) and Whinthorpe (Between Elvington and the A64) both of which have traditionally formed part of York’s Green Belt. If either (or both) were to be slated for development then huge amounts would need to be spend on infrastructure improvements. The former would require a dualled A1237, while the later would require a new access corridor because of  existing transport congestion in the area. The source and scale of the funding required must be made clear in any Council decision.

It is little short of outrageous that vested interests will find out the fate of projects worth tens of millions of pounds before ordinary residents and taxpayers are even told when they will be able to first see the proposals.