Lowfields care home set to be ditched

It looks increasingly likely that the Council will abandon its attempt to find a developer who is prepared to provide and run an elderly persons care home on the Lowfields site.

Current Lowfield development plan

Part of the old school building section of the site has been reserved for the provision of a new care home since 2010.

It was announced earlier in the year that no tenders had been received for provision of the home

The Councils own resources are tied up in other projects including the Lincoln Court redevelopment (see below).

A report to a meeting next week says that the greatest demand for older people is for independent living one bedroomed flats and bungalows. Some of these are already schedule to be built at Lowfields but it seems that more may now be provided on the reserved care home site.

Such a decision would be in line with the plans announced in 2010 but it is unlikely to impress those who have been affected by the indecision of the last 10 years. .

A Council report published yesterday says,

The planning approval for the Lowfield Green development includes outline approval for an 80-bed care home. It had originally been envisioned that a care home developer would be procured to build on the site, with the Council buying 25 dementia and Nursing care beds back at the Council’s Actual Cost of Care rates.

A procurement exercise to deliver this failed to attract any compliant bids.

At a similar time, Officers were completing research with our older residents about their accommodation preferences.

This research highlights residents desire to live independently with care and support available where needed. Officers have since been working to establish how best to develop Older Persons’ Accommodation on the site, which will support those with care needs and also complement the surrounding high-quality mixed tenure accommodation.

A report is expected to be presented to the executive in spring 2020”.

Care home site

The change of approach is the latest in a series of reverses which have affected the controversial development. Residents strongly opposed building on the sports pitch at the site.

The Council responded by offering inducements including a local Police station and health centre. Neither materialised.

Plans for a “communal” housing development are also in delay.

Work on building houses on the sports pitch section of the site are expected to start in January, although its is now thought that building works, across the whole site, may continue for 5 years or longer.  

We revealed yesterday that the Council is also set to abandon its plans to build a new care home on the Oakhaven site.

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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Co-operative Retail Services Ltd 6 Beagle Ridge Drive York YO24 3JQ

Replacement of existing refrigeration plant and redecoration of shopfront 

Ref. No: 19/02476/FUL 

The planning application states, “The proposed replacement plant is to facilitate ongoing sustainability initiatives within the Co-op Group providing smaller, quieter, and more efficient plant across local convenience stores. The shop front redecoration work is to facilitate ongoing sustainability initiatives within the Co-op group providing maintenance, upkeep and branding requirements across the local stores.

The new replacement plant will have minimal visual impact on site as it is to be installed within the existing fenced compound at the existing location to the rear service yard. The shop front redecoration will improve the visual impact on site providing freshness to the existing deteriorating and discolouring paintwork to the façade, window and door frames”.

Plans for improvements to Coop on Beagle Ridge Drive

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Former Lowfield School Dijon Avenue York

Condition 3417/02428/FULM 

Ref. No: AOD/19/00391 

NB. Condition 34 of planning permission ref 17/02428/FULM reads

“34 Prior to the commencement of the development hereby authorised above foundation level a scheme for the provision of affordable housing units within the development shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority.

The development shall thenceforth be undertaken in strict accordance with the details thereby approved prior to the first residential unit being occupied”.

Strangely the papers published for this specific application on the Councils planning web site do not include a listing of the affordable housing units or their distribution on the site, although these details are available elsewhere.

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Lincoln Court Ascot Way York YO24 4RA

Variation of condition 2 of permitted application 19/00083/FULM to provide additional windows and alter fire exit arrangements within the north eastern elevation and stairwell and external air conditioning unit at first floor level on eastern elevation. 

Ref. No: 19/02440/FUL 

Lincoln Court

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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/

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

This is going to annoy people living in Westfield

“Yorspace” – the organisation trying to build “communal homes” on the Lowfields site – have announced that they still haven’t achieved their fund raising target.

Doubtful if anyone thinks this is “great news”

For the second time in 6 months, they are extending the crowd funding deadline – this time to the end of January 2020.

This will add to the overall development timetable for the whole site.

There are concerns that the (minimal) play and open space provisions on the development will not be available when new residents move in.

The main Council development is not now expected to start on site until the new year.

The playground is scheduled to be used as a building compound by Yorspace – shades of the situation a few hundred metres away where the Kingsway all weather pitch has become a builder compound.

There are other similarities with Lowfields as at both sites sports facilities have been lost without adequate replacements being provided.

Latest planning applications for the Westfield Ward

Includes key details for Lowfields building site

 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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Former Lowfield School Dijon Avenue York

Conditions 5, 8, 12, 21, 24, 35, 36 of 17/02428/FULM 

Ref. No: AOD/19/00365 

These documents include plans for:

Open space masterplan

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2 Bramham Avenue York YO26 5BE

Two storey side extension following demolition of existing side extension (revised scheme) 

Ref. No: 19/02325/FUL 

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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/

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

Wet weather hampering local building projects

Unfortunately the current spell of wet weather is slowing progress on local building projects.

Proposed new football pitches near Sim Balk Lane are a little damp at preesnt
Work on the new disabled centre on Ascot Way is progressing
No sign of progress at Lowfields. Residents had been promised a revised development timetable following delays with the care home contract, Yorspce etc but none has been forthcoming
There are still hopes that the bungalows on Newbury Avenue will be completed before the end of the year. They are currently three months behind schedule.

Demand for additional housing reducing

According to sources within the York Council, the the Office for National Statistics new population projections published yesterday, may have major implications for York Local Plan assumptions.

. The new projections have substantially reduced population growth expectations.

The 2018-based population projections show growth over the next 10 years (2019-2029) is expected to be 31% lower than predicted four years ago in the 2014-based projections.

This equates to 1,270,000 persons and would have serious implications on housing need across the country.

Although of course the government decided to ignore this evidence last time around, and may do so again once these are translated into household projections.

The majority of growth (57%) over the next ten years is expected to in those aged over 75. This is an increase from 50% in the 2014-based projections. This will have implications on the type of housing being planned for as well a potential labour force deficit in the longer term.

The draft York Local Plan claims that nearly 1000 new homes a year would be needed over the next 20 years.

The figure is an exaggeration.

It increasingly looks like the figures agreed for the 2011 draft of the Local Plan (575 additional homes a year) were spot on.

In the meantime green spaces are being developed unnecessarily. There is plenty of brownfield land available to satisfy demand

Shocking that the Council hasn’t realised that its house building programme should concentrate on providing flats and bungalows aimed at older people.

Lowfields playing field has been wrecked

In turn this would have freed up larger homes for families.

Sadly its probably too late now to be of any help on sites like Lowfields which is an ideal site for older residents being within walking distance of good local amenities. .

The new figures may also explain why some sites that are ready for development – for example the land adjacent to the Barbican – continue to be derelict.

The public examination of the draft York Plan starts in a few days time.

Self build plots on market at Lowfields

The UK’s first-ever council-led development of custom-build plots with some specifically designated for first time buyers, will welcome bids from buyers from 1 November.

The six custom-build plots are part of a larger mixed-use development of 140 new homes at Lowfield Green by City of York Council.

The development is controversial as it has seen a valued green open space – used for sporting activities – built on. Residents – who formed their own action group to oppose the plans – are also concerned about delays in the overall development timetable.

Two of the plots have been restricted for first time buyers only, as they offer a more affordable option, and are designed to help people on to the property ladder. This supports the council’s pledge to offer a breadth of options to a range of lower-income households and is in addition to shared ownership of homes from the open market as well as council-owned homes. 40% of all the homes at Lowfield Green will be affordable and Homes England helped fund work done to prepare the site for development.

Idealised image of self build homes

Custom-build plots are serviced with all required utilities – electricity, water and telephone cable – as well as with road access to enable buyers to get on site. With outline planning permission already secured, construction can begin immediately after detailed planning has been granted.

All plots are large enough for a detached home of between three and five bedrooms with an integrated garage if needed. They also benefit from south-facing back gardens and uninterrupted views of the new village green to the front. This former secondary school site has been sensitively master planned around a new green open space to contribute towards creating an attractive new place to live in the city.

To support this innovative self-build project, City of York Council has engaged Custom Build Homes – the UK’s leading enabler of custom build housing – to deliver aspects of the development process including; consultancy, pre-agreed mortgage lending as well as leading the sales and marketing for the site.

Bidding for all 6 plots opens on 1 November and all bids need to be in for 29 November. Prospective purchasers will have the opportunity to view the plots, with the first viewings to be arranged by appointment only, on the morning of Saturday 9 November. All bids will be assessed and, if no suitable applications have been received by first time buyers, the allocated plots may be offered to other applicants. More detail is available by visiting lowfieldgreen.custombuildhomes.co.uk

All serviced plots can be seen and bid for at lowfieldgreen.custombuildhomes.co.uk or email lowfieldgreen@custombuildhomes.co.uk for more information.

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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Rivington House 3 Ridgeway York YO26 5DA

Single storey side extension to extend existing garage to front 

Ref. No: 19/02086/FUL 

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24 Kir Crescent York YO24 3DF

Conditions 3 and 6 of 17/01440/FUL 

Ref. No: AOD/19/00335 

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Hop And Glory Ltd 43 Front Street York YO24 3BR

Change of use of retail unit (Use Class A1) to cafe (Use Class A3) with associated works 

Ref. No: 19/02075/FUL 

Hop and Glory to become cafe

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63 Beaconsfield Street York YO24 4NB

Erection of single storey extension extending 4.464 metres beyond the rear wall of the original house, with a height to the eaves of 2.5 metres and a total height of 3.5 metres. 

Ref. No: 19/01707/LHE 

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Former Lowfield School Dijon Avenue York

Conditions 4, 15, 17, 18, 22 and 29 of 17/02428/FULM 

Ref. No: AOD/19/00334 

These applications refer mainly to Health and Safety plans. In addition they indicate the phasing of the development, location of site compound/car parking and proposed access routes. (see drawings below)

Access routes

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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/

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

Residents anger over Council plan to remove security railings

Local residents in Lowfields are objecting to plans to remove the railings which protect their garden boundaries.

The plan by the Council to replace the railings was first revleaed on tyhis site at the weekend.

According to their Facebook site, the Lowfields Residents Action Group is leading a campaign to get the Council to consult neighbours on their plans.

Their main concerns are about the appearance of a new fence, its impact on the natural environment, damage to existing landscaping and the money which would be wasted if the existing railings – which are in good condition – were junked.

Separately the Council has announced today that it will commence construction work on the site in two weeks time.

It is writing to residents telling them about a consultation meeting which is taking place next week and which will involve the Wates building contractors

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The Residents Group has responded saying, “We think this is pretty short notice for a consultation event.

The letter includes an evasive reference to “Yorspace” who we understand are still struggling to find funding for their communal living site.

It also pointedly doesn’t admit that the Council have failed to find a developer for their proposed elderly persons care home.

Nothing more either, on the public buildings (Health Centre and Police station) which seem less and less likely now to happen.

This means that there is no chance of building work on the whole site being finished within 2 years”.

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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7 Bachelor Hill York YO24 3BD

Single storey rear extension 

Ref. No: 19/02030/FUL 

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Former Lowfield School Dijon Avenue York

Non-material amendment to permitted application 17/02428/FULM – Alterations to bedrooms, house types, elevations, roof mounted PV, masterplan, FFL’s & boundary treatments 

Ref. No: 19/01856/NONMAT

This application contains a large number of details changes to the Lowfield plans. Some were submitted as long ago as August but have not been subject to local consultation. Many are minor in nature or will have little impact on the existing local community. Some are more far reaching including a proposal to remove the existing perimeter metal railings and replace with a wooden boarded fence.. Leaving aside the additional costs involved in such a proposal, the railings are valued by some neighbouring house owners as they offer good security. They also allow wild animals such as hedgehogs to move freely around the neighbourhood. We think that individual neighbours should have been consulted on these changes.

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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/

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