So are York house prices “going through the roof”

The media re reporting today that there has been a substantial increase in house prices in York over the last year. Well has there?

Actual sales figures confirm that only recently did house price levels recover to match those seen pre-recession in 2007.

House prices were level for 6 years before trending up from 2015.

This year median prices have been volatile but recently trended downwards. The median price for a flat in the City is now £168,000 but good properties are still available for under £150,000.

Retirement flats are available from around £80,000 . You can get a 2 bed terraced property needing restoration for £110,000

Houses are taking around 90 days on average to sell, with 2 and 3 bedroomed properties till the most sought after.

Labour politicians say with one breath that we need a Local Plan – the latest draft would see around 850 additional homes built each year – but then delay the adoption of the plan by “calling it in” for further discussion.

Few will have forgot that, when Labour took control of the Council in May 2011, one of the first things they did was halt the implementation of a Local Plan which was on the brink of adoption.

6 years later and the prevarication continues.

So, we need less exaggeration from the headline writers and more commitment from the politicians if we are to have a working Local Plan and with it controls on City development.

That remains a worthy and urgent objective

Latest Local Plan forecasts 20% growth in size of York by 2032

Papers published for a meeting taking place on 13th July say that an additional 19,000 homes should be built in the City before 2032.

Of the target of 953 dwellings per year, around 80 per annum (10%) have been added in order to make housing more “affordable”.

The papers are coy about where the additional 35,000 residents will come from.

Previous drafts have identified immigration as the main source of new labour, although this seems to be in conflict with the present governments polices. Around 2000 inward migrants have arrived in the City in each of the last five years.

A map of the proposed land allocations can be viewed by clicking here

Proposed land allocations – click to access

Hopes that the identification of more building land at threatened MOD sites (Fulford Road and Strensall) would reduce the pressure to build on green fields sites, like the Lowfields playing fields, have been dashed. Officials are recommending that the additional 1392 homes that could be built there over the next 15 years will simply add to the target housing  completion rate (satisfying the increased annual building target of 953 homes per year).

Average housing building rates in York have been about 700 pa over the last 5 years, although last year over 1100 homes were completed. Most homes built in York over the last decade have been erected on what are known, to the planng world, as “windfall sites”; meaning they were not identified as housing development land in local plans.

House prices and building rates

There are currently 3758 planning permissions for homes which remain unimplemented.

The Local Plan remains vague about how growth of the order proposed can be accommodated without serious -and very costly – improvements in infrastructure (notably, transport and healthcare).


The new proposals have little direct impact for the Westfield area. None of the land between the existing built u-p area and the northern by pass is slated for development.

However officials have changed the proposals for the development of the playing fields at Lowfields. They are incorporating the plans favoured by some Councillors which would see the number of dwellings built increased from 137 to 162.

There were 10 objections to development of the Lowfields playing field (including Sport England) while only 3 representations were made in support of the Councils plans.

Extract from Council report covering Lowfields devlopment




Local Plan – September start for more consultation as MOD land set to be reserved for 1392 homes

 Labour set to oppose building more homes in York

Labour’s Local Plan proposals 2013

York councillors are to be presented with an update on progress with technical work on the Local Plan when they meet next week.

A report will be considered by the Local Plan Working Group on Monday 10 July before it is taken to the Executive on Thursday 13 July.

Councillors will be asked to approve the production of a comprehensive draft plan over the summer, ready for public consultation in September.

This will lead towards the publication of a final plan early next year.

Since the last major update, work has been ongoing to assess the impact of the release of three Ministry of Defence (MOD) sites in York which are to be sold off.

Councillors will be advised the MOD land at Imphal and Queen Elizabeth Barracks could be suitable for future housing development, potentially providing 769 and 623 dwellings respectively. Labour have already said that they oppose providing additional homes on these sites preferring to build on Green Belt land (see left)

The third MOD site, Towthorpe Lines, is not deemed suitable for housing but could be considered for employment use instead.

The Local Plan Working Group and Executive will consider issues associated with how land might be provided in the future for both new housing and employment development as well as setting a long-term green belt boundary for York.

Housing numbers. click to enlarge

The council has already consulted on the local plan ‘preferred sites’.  This happened for a ten-week period in 2016.  Over 2,250 responses were received from individuals, housing developers and stakeholders.

The next step is to produce a full draft plan.  Councillors will be asked to approve this.

It is expected that further consultation take place in September.  Pre-publicity would start in August when details of the proposals would be sent to residents in a special, York-wide, edition of the ‘Our City’ council newspaper.

The results of the consultation will be shared with the working group and Executive in January before a final version of the Local Plan is prepared.  It is anticipated this would be subject to final formal consultation in February 2018 and could be submitted to government in spring 2018.


Council snubs Lowfields residents

Lowfields plans

Lowfields plans

The York Council is being recommended at a meeting being held on 7th December to go ahead with the development of the playing fields on the former school site in Lowfields. There are no major changes from the layout presented for public consultation in September, although the Council says that steps will be taken to stop vehicles short cutting through the new Dijon Avenue to Tudor Road access route.

There has been broad support from respondents for the Elderly Persons Home, bungalows and apartments which will be provided on the east (Green Lane) side of the site.  These will be located on the “footprint” of the former school buildings.

Otherwise the Council has ignored or suppressed the results of public opinion surveys undertaken on the future of the playing fields. 

However, the latest scheme would, in addition to the 52 older person’s units, see as many as 110 houses shoe-horned onto the sports field including 17 self-build and “community build” plots. This would make the development one of the densest in sub – urban York.  A large number of independent builders would be involved meaning that the development timetable could be fragmented over a period of 5 years or more (building work would be scheduled to start in Autumn 2018).

The plans still involve the relocation of the GP surgery from its present site on Cornlands Road.  A relocation of the recently refurbished Acomb Police depot from its purpose built Acomb Road premises is also planned.

Both would mean much more traffic entering and leaving the area.

The uncompromising stance of the Council comes at a time when sites for over 1600 additional homes have recently been identified on redundant MOD land in the City. This news caused the Council to put back its “Local Plan” preparation by 6 months. In turn this means that the objections registered on the sports field development will not be considered before next week’s meeting.

The Council’s move appears to be dictated by the need to generate £4.5 million from the sale of the site. The York Council’s financial position is precarious following decisions to fund a new £12 million sports centre at Monks Cross and a £4.7million “health and well-being” project on the Burnholme school site.

If approved on Wednesday, the proposals will still have to gain planning permission.

There are strong legislative safeguards for playing fields (of which there is a shortage on the west of the City).

The Council leadership will therefore have a far from easy ride if they persist in trying to develop the Lowfields sports fields without broad public support.

Residents are organising a petition opposing the development of the sports field


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.


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.

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: to complete the survey and to find a full copy of the Local Plan Preferred Sites document


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: 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 ( ) or are available from the Council’s West Offices reception or from Acomb library.