Lowfields problems continue

No response yet from the site liaison officer following residents’ concerns about delivery arrangements at the Lowfields development site.  Concerns about the impact that the large spoil mountains are having on the local environment have also still to be addressed.
Spoil mountains growing at Lowfields

At a planning committee meeting earlier in the week some progress was made on the plans to create 5 new parking spaces on Tudor Road.

The Lowfields Action Group Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/LowfieldsActionGroup/ reports that officials have confirmed that the contractor responsible for building the new access road will also construct the parking spaces as part of the same contract. Although they said that the work would be done “at the same time” no planning condition was included requiring the 3 new “on street” parking spaces to be constructed before the existing ones are lost.

The Council as both the owner and developer of the site could have offered a unilateral agreement on this but failed to do so.

Cllr Andrew Waller was the only Westfield ward representative to speak up on behalf of residents. He said that the parking spaces to the rear of 108 Tudor Road were too close to the property. He also asked that improvements be made at the Tudor Road /Gale Lane junction.

The discussion about the Yorspace development was a disappointing.  Councillors completely failed to challenge the claim that the proposed homes will be “affordable”. The developer claims they will be “affordable” The Councils own housing officer has confirmed that they will not.

This contradiction remains unexplained.

A Freedom of Information request on a related issue is still outstanding. A response is due on Monday,

No convincing answers given on car parking arrangements. The 12 spaces will not be adequate to cater for the needs of all occupiers and visitors. Overflow parking will therefore further compromise space on Tudor Road, Green Lane and Kingsthorpe. The developers say that occupiers of the building “will not be allowed to own a car” and that all vehicles using the provided spaces will be “communally owned”.

We doubt very much whether they will be able to enforce such a rule.

The only good thing to come out of the debate was an offer from the developer to look again at boundary treatments. They seem to be backing away for the idea of removing the railings. The railings offer good security while permitting the movement of small mammals like hedgehogs.

Waste material mountains growing on Lowfield site

The local residents action group has protested about the policy for storing excavated materials on the Lowfield development site. Mountains of waste are gradually growing on the Green Lane boundary.

Residents say they were promised consultation on the strategy for dealing with excavated materials. If they were to be stored on site – in preparation for reuse later in the building phase of the work, then assurances were needed about their short and long term effects on drainage in the area.

Waste materials piled 8 metres high on Lowfields site

Now several neighbouring residents are looking out onto 8 metre high piles of concrete rubble.

Concerns were also recorded about the effect that the work would have on the local ecology.

Verges being damaged

A lorry visiting the site today damaged verges near the site entrance.

This has led to renewed appeals for better advanced notice of deliveries and their likely impact on “on street” parking.

Yorspace” development set to get planning permission

…but concerns remain about parking, security, affordability and funding

Council officials are recommending that 19 homes, to be built by the “Yorspace” cooperative on part of the Lowfield site, should be given planning permission.

Yorspace plans

A report to a meeting taking place on 20th March reveals that objections to the plan were received from local residents and the Save Lowfields Playing Field Action Group  who were concerned about the height of the buildings, security, inadequate car parking, boundary fences and the lack of affordable housing in the proposal.  Some residents have questioned the actions of the Council in selling the plot of land, which is located near little Tudor Road, for 1/3 of its market value.

The latter objection has been reinforced since it was revealed that there will be no “affordable” units provided on the site. Rents will be at commercial levels. The rent on a one bedroomed flat will be around £520 pcm rising to over £880 pcm for a 4 bedroomed house. These are comparable to the rents charged by private landlords in the area.

It will be for the Councils auditors to say whether the sale is a legitimate one but, given the numbers on the local housing waiting list, it is difficult to see why the Council did not either develop the land itself (as it is doing elsewhere on Lowfields) or ask a Housing Association to take the project  on.

In either case rents would have been around half the commercial level.

One issue that has not been resolved is the proposal to restrict the number of off-street parking spaces to 12. This is less than one per property. Many 4 bedroomed homes now have 2 or 3 vehicle owners living in the property. The concern is that “overspill” car parking will put further pressure on spaces in Tudor Road, Kingsthorpe and the rest of the new Lowfields development.

The developers hope the availability of good bus services in the area will reduce car usage. However, the number 4 service only travels one way down Tudor Road.

Any parent will know the pressure that teenagers, upon reaching driving age, can exert as they seek to get their first personal transport. So the cooperatives “issue resolution processes” are likely to be fully tested if they seek to restrict car ownership at their properties.

The planning committee meeting is taking place on Wednesday 20th March at 5:00pm at West Offices. Residents may make representations by registering to speak at the meeting &/or by Email to Christopher.elliott@york.gov.uk

More parking spaces to be provided on Tudor Road

The Council has relented in the face of pressure from local residents and has agreed to provide an additional 3 off street parking spaces on Tudor Road.

Location of proposed additional verge parking spaces on Tudor Road

The original plans only showed two spaces being provided in the rear garden of a block of flats. Now this is being increased by three. They will be constructed on the verges about halfway down the road.

The plan goes some way to compensating for the three spaces which will be lost when the access road for the Lowfield development is constructed.

Even two extra spaces will not be enough to satisfy the pent up demand which is already apparent in the area with verges and forecourts being pressed into service as impromptu parking areas.

The parking problem is likely to get worse when the new development is occupied. The “Yorspace” section of the development site has been criticised as it will only provide 12 parking spaces for 19 new homes. This may force some occupiers to park on Tudor Road

Separately the Council has now revealed that the “Yorspace” homes will not be categorised as “affordable”.  This calls into question why the land for the development was sold by the Council at a heavily discounted rate. The discount means that taxpayers will effectively be subsidising the occupiers of the properties although in some cases they may be relativity wealthy individuals.

 

 

Bats and hedgehogs at risk through Council developments

The Council has now published on their web site the comments of their Ecology and Countryside officer on the plan to extend Lincoln Court.

Comments of Council ecology officer March 2019

Contractors are currently ripping out the hedge on the school boundary of the site.

The officer states that a replacement hedge must be provided as part of any redevelopment.

There are also concerns about the displacement of bats.

One item, relating to the movement of small mammals like hedgehogs,  will be of particular interest to local residents who are concerned not just about this proposal but also the plans for the nearby Lowfields site.

There a developer (Yorspace) is planning to replace the existing railings with a close boarded fence. Effectively such fences hinder the free movement of hedgehogs

The Ecology officer hasn’t commented on the Lowfield proposal although the wildlife issue has been highlighted by the Lowfields Action Group as part of their objection.

 

Latest planning applications for the Westfield Ward

 Below are the latest planning applications received by the York Council for the Westfield ward.

Full details can be found by clicking the application reference

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17 Pheasant Drive York YO24 2YD

Proposal      Fell Oak tree protected by Tree Preservation Order no. 26

Reference   19/00316/TPO

——

 Former Lowfield School Dijon Avenue York

Erection of 5no. apartments, 5no. two bedroom housing units, 6no. three bedroom housing units, 3no. four bedroom housing units and a shared common house/amenity block and associated infrastructure to form community housing development |

18/02925/FULM| 

The Save Lowfields Playing Field Facebook page points out that a significant amendment to the plans for the “Yorspace” development has been submitted.

They say The Yorspace developers have submitted new plans for their 3 storey “communal house” building. In effect they raise the height by incorporating angled solar panels. This would make the building even more dominating and intrusive. (There are other ways of incorporating solar energy harvesting)”.

Only a couple of days to record objections to this proposal are they are hoping to have it determined at the March Planning Committee meeting.

——–

Representations can be made in favour of, or in objection to, any application via the Planning on line web site.  http://planningaccess.york.gov.uk/online-applications/

The Council now no longer routinely consults neighbours by letter when an application is received

Planning updates – Lincoln Court and Lowfields

  • MUGA

    We understand that the Foxwood Residents Association have formally objected to the Councils plans to “replace” the children’s all-weather games area on Kingsway. The objection stems from the Councils proposal to build “fitness equipment” on Chesneys Field during the summer. The Association points out that no consultation has taken place over this proposal which could intensify the use of what is Public Open Space. When a similar idea was mooted 2 years ago, the preferred site for a fitness track was judged to be the Thanet Road Sports Area. The Association have suggested that the Council seek a partnership with the Acorn Rugby Club which could see a new 3G games area provided. Sport England have also objected to the Council’s plans

  • The Yorspace proposals for the Lowfields site have been criticised by the local Drainage Board. They are asking for further details of how surface water runoff will be handled. They point out the fact that – for the whole site –  water run off is likely to be more severe than occurs from the existing greenfield use. There are already some problems with flooding in the gardens of some properties in the Green Lane and Tudor Road area.
  • Separately the Lowfields Residents Group has objected to plans which would see the number of off street parking spaces reduced near 108 Tudor Road. They are also concerned about the traffic implications of building a new access road onto the Lowfields site

NB. The contract for “enabling works” at Lowfields was awarded to NMCN. It is valued at £260,000. The end date for the contract is 19th April 2019.

Lowfields residents update newsletter. Parking plan criticised as inadequate

The Lowfield Residents Group have criticised the Councils plan to provide only 2 alternative off street spaces to replace a parking lay-by on Tudor Road.  They are circulating a newsletter to affected residents (see below)

The existing 4 space lay-by will be lost when the Council, starts work on providing a new access road into the Lowfield site.

Part of the garden of an adjacent flat block (108 Tudor Road) is being used to provide 4 spaces but residents point out that Tudor Road, along with the adjacent Gale Lane, has on street parking restrictions.

This means that the Tudor Road bays are heavily used.  Occasionally drivers park on the garage forecourt opposite causing an obstruction.

More parking spaces are required.

At the other end of Tudor Road (low numbered) a communal housing experiment will see only 12 parking spaces provided for 19 properties. Some of the properties have 4 bedrooms. The occupants of similar properties elsewhere often have 2 or 3 cars.

All in all, we don’t think that the Council has got its transport and parking policies for the development right yet.

Ironically The Press is today running a story saying that life expectancy in the Westfield Ward is the lowest of any in the City.

We’ve pointed out to the Council that its relentless attack on open space and sports provision in the area is partly to blame.

Loss of the football pitch at Lowfields  is a major factor as is the threat to the bowling green on Front Street, the erosion of the Hob Moor playing field and the loss of the Kingsway all weather games area.

The playing field associated with Our Lady’s school has, of course, already been built on.

Latest planning applications for the Westfield Ward

 Below are the latest planning applications received by the York Council for the Westfield ward.

Full details can be found by clicking the application reference

—-

Former Lowfield School Dijon Avenue York

Conditions 15 and 22 of 17/02428/FULM.

These relate to plans to remove trees from the site and break up hard surfaces

Ref. No: AOD/19/00033

——

108 Tudor Road York YO24 3AZ

Construction of 2 parking spaces to rear served by new vehicular access from Tudor Road

This is also connected with the Lowfields development. It involves the provision of 2 new parking spaces to the rear of the flats. The spaces in the parking layby on Tudor Road will be lost when the new site access road is constructed.  The access road will be used by construction traffic

Ref. No: 19/00128/GRG3 

NB. These applications may be subject to objections from the Save Lowfields Playing Field Action Group. They have a Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/LowfieldsActionGroup/ on which local residents can make comments. There are currently 5 detailed planning applications/condition approvals for Lowfields which are awaiting determination


Representations can be made in favour of, or in objection to, any application via the Planning on line web site.  http://planningaccess.york.gov.uk/online-applications/

The Council now no longer routinely consults neighbours by letter when an application is received

More on Lowfield plans – public “drop in” tomorrow

The Council says that it will hold a public “drop in” at Acomb Explore Library between 4:30pm and 7:00pm tomorrow (Thursday 7th February) to react to criticisms of its plans to start work on the Lowfields school development later in the month.

The scheduled work involves felling trees and removing hard surfaces.

Some residents commenting on the “Save Lowfield Playing Field” Facebook page say that they have not received notification of the event. Others say that a limited hours, mid-week, event prevents shift workers from attending

The letters that the Council say that they have delivered are reproduced below.

The plan to schedule tree felling works during February is surprising as the planning condition covering this work has not yet been approved.

Residents have until the middle of the month to record their objections with the expectation that local Councillors will “call in” the proposal for consideration by a planning committee. Details of the planning conditions application can be found via this link.  

Objections should be sent by Email to planning.comments@york.gov.uk quoting ref AOD/19/00001

Residents have commented that there are a lot of questions to be answered about the site preparation work, which is scheduled to be completed by May.

These include

  • working hours,
  • noise,
  • access routes for heavy lorries and
  • contractor parking arrangements.

The Action Group says that it expects the findings of an Ombudsman’s enquiry into allegations, that the Council misled residents and Sport England over their plans, is due to be published this week.

The Action Group may also be giving evidence to the Local Plan public inquiry which is due to start shortly

Trees to be felled shown in red

Housing by type and tenure