Hob Stones homes occupied

Families have finally been able to move into the new Hob Stones development on Windsor Garth. The development was over 18 months behind schedule. 

There is still a lot of tidying up to do and people living in nearby flats have complained about damage to grassed areas and inadequate road repairs.

These issues are being followed up by local Councillors.

The building compound area will need major remedial worki

The building compound area will need major remedial work

There has been a lot of damage to grassed areas although this one opposite the new development could provide additional car parking spaces

There has been a lot of damage to grassed areas although this one opposite the new development could provide additional car parking spaces

Some carrigeways have now been resurfaced

Some carriageways have now been resurfaced

Although we have reported a ,lot of detritus in the gutters

Although we have reported a lot of detritus in the gutters

On Hob Stones itself the new play area has not been completed.

On Hob Stones itself, the new play area has not been completed.

....but it appears that the developers have pulled back for their threat to remove the security railings from the northern boundary. The railings are still there and in need of a coat of paint. They should make life more difficult for criminals

….but it appears that the developers have pulled back from their threat to remove the security railings from the northern boundary. The railings are still there albeit in need of a coat of paint. The railings will make life more difficult for criminals

More delays at Windsor Garth “Hob Stones” development

Hobstones building workThe media are reporting that there will be further delays before the “Hob Stones” development will be occupied. The development, located on the former Our Lady’s school site next to Hob Moor, has been branded the unluckiest development in Yorkshire.

The school closed in 2012

The high density development was subject to objections from local residents and amenity groups when it sought planning permission in 2013.

Building work started in May 2014.

Still no sign of repair to the carriageway in Windsor Garth

Still no sign of repair to the carriageway in Windsor Garth

Later the appointed building contractors went bust adding another 18 months to the development timetable.

Now it appears that some of the houses, and an access road, have not been built in the correct positions.  Although the variances are claimed to be very small it means that a retrospective planning application will be needed to regularise the situation.

This will mean a further delay of about 3 months before the homes are occupied.

The development has been heavily criticised by neighbouring residents who have lived with a “nightmare” of poorly parked vehicles, road damage and congestion caused by building trucks for the last three years.

At the time of writing no revised planning application had been submitted by the developers Yorkshire Housing to the York Council.

A tale of two communities

If anyone needed more proof that an effective partnership between the Council and residents can make a difference to a community, then they need look no further than the Kingsway and Cornlands neighbourhoods in the Westfield ward.

Kingsway abandoned noticeboard

Kingsway abandoned noticeboard

For many years the Kingsway residents, acting through the KARA organisation, liaised with local Councillors and officials.

Some three years ago the Council chose to totally ignore the representation that KARA made about a couple of planning applications which not only threatened public service standards in the area but also put the adjacent Hob Moor at risk.

The Council chose to ignore its own draft Local Plan and almost doubled the number of houses being built on the former Our Lady’s school site (now called “Hob Stones – which itself in recent weeks has slowed as one of the contractors went into administration).

Nearby the Council, despite a tangible lack of parking space in the estate, chose to build on a garage site in Newbury Avenue.

Again local representations were largely ignored.

Dumped mattress in Kingsway area

Dumped mattress in Kingsway area

The Residents Association were disgusted and threw in the towel.

Without an active Residents Association the Council then chose to end the regular skip visits to the area.

Fly tipping and dumping increased and a downward spiral began.

The most poignant symptom of the decline is probably the KARA noticeboard which has not been updated for nearly two years.

Fortunately the area now has new Councillors who will no doubt begin to re-establish a working relationship with the local community.

They could make a start by getting the noticeboards updated and the skip service restored.

Cornlads Road notiocebaord up to date

Cornlands Road noticeboard up to date

Ironically a small – but active – residents association, in the adjacent Cornlands area, manages to keep its two noticeboards bang up to date.

Mystery surrounds future of York “Hobstones” development as builder Southdale goes bust.

The new development at the former Our Lady’s school site has been hit by the failure of its building contractor.

Hobstones building work

All the “for sale” units have been reserved and work is well advanced.

Media reports say that Southdale have gone into administration but the effect – if any – on the controversial Hob Moor development is unclear.

The developers – Yorkshire Housing – have not issued a statement nor has the York Council which claimed to have facilitated the development

There is no information on the Hobstones web site

Last November Southdale described the development as;

“Fourteen of the 55 homes at Hobstone will be for sale and the rest of the homes will available to rent at below market rates to families on average or low incomes.

Located on the site of the former Our Lady’s Primary school the houses look out onto Hob Moor. Built by Southdale and designed by award-winning architects Brewster Bye, the homes offer high quality energy, efficient accommodation with decent sized rooms and tasteful fittings”.

The for sale units proved to be popular with prices around £170,,000.

The development became controversial when the Labour Council almost doubled the number of units to be built on the former school site with local residents voicing concerns about “over-development” and fearing an adverse impact on Hob Moor and local traffic volumes.

Hob Moor nature reserve being dug up

Farmer forced to remove cattle from nature reserveOLS and sewer connection (2)

Work is taking place on Hob Moor to install a new drain. The system will serve the new development on the former Our Lady’s school site.

It is understood that the work has forced a farmer to remove his cattle from the moor.

The development has always been unpopular with many as it was almost twice the size originally envisaged.

In addition the impact on traffic in the area is expected to be significant with many fearing that lack of parking space could cripple the estate. Already narrow roads like Ashford Place and Ascot Way are bearing the brunt of  noise and vibration. from construction traffic.

However concerns about the Hob Moor nature reserve have been ignored by the Labour dominated planning committee when the developer has come back with several requests for modifications to their plans.

We understand that concerns have been raised with English Nature

Inadequate drainage in the area was one concern which led to a significant change to the site height about a month ago


Our Lady’s school site – now developers want to pull down railings

click for larger map

click for larger map

Developers plan to tear down Our Lady’s housing site railings.

They say it will improve “permeability”

Retention of the railings was considered to be important by local residents, and supporters of the Hob Moor conservation area, as it provided some guarantee that domestic use would not creep onto the moor.

The railings will also provide good quality security for the gardens of the residents of the new homes.

The railings are relatively new and have a longer life than the proposed close boarded wooden alternative.

Details can be found by clicking here

The Council have not given a date by which residents objections must be received although they hope to determine the new planning application (using delegated powers) on 25th June.

Concern about Hob Moor development


After only a few days work on site, residents are already raising concerns about the timing and scale of work being undertaken on the development at the former Our Lady’s school site.

Most concerns related to the removal of mature trees during the nesting season. It appears though that the trees removed so far are in line with the permission granted by the Planning Committee for the scheme, although confirmation of that – and any impact on bats which are known to roost in the area – is awaited.

Some work was apparently taking place on Saturday afternoon. Working hours were restricted by the planning permission.

Another issue raised was the width of the access road from Windsor Garth which is currently narrower than is normally required for access to new developments (5 metres).

Former Council Leader Andrew Waller has written to senior officials at the York Council raising concerns.

The former school buildings are due to be demolished over the next few weeks.



Hob Moor – development work starts on Our Lady’s school site

Our Lady's school site clearance started

Our Lady’s school site clearance started

Builders have moved onto the Our Lady’s school site and have started to fell trees.

The Our Lady’s school buildings will be demolished within the next 3 weeks.

School to be demolished in a few days time

School to be demolished in a few days time

Work has already started to provide an electricity power supply to the new housing development.

The whole scheme, which involves the erection of 55 new homes,  is expected to take about 12 months to complete.

The building contractors have said that all site traffic will follow the Kingsway West/Ascot Way/ Ashford Place/Windsor Garth bus route to access the site.

Crumbling road surfaces on Windsor Garth

Crumbling road surfaces on Windsor Garth

Residents remain concerned about the poor state of the roads on the route, and in particular the rapidly deteriorating road humps, although whether it would be worth completing permanent repairs before the heavy traffic moves on, is open to question.

Hob Moor Windsor Garth development recommended for approval

A further report on the planned housing development on Windsor Garth has now been published for the Planning meeting which is taking place on 19th December 2013.

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

The application has been updated to reduce the number of properties by one, incorporate a small play area and retain the existing railings around part of the site. These changes were notified to interested parties on 4th December.

These changes are welcomed.

However the Council is reducing its S106 requirements to reflect the on site “open space” provision but – without explanation – also scraps the payment of a commuted sum in lieu of the provision of school places. It seems most unlikely that the forecast demand – and supply of – school places has changed significantly since the original plan was considered in October.

Para 4.6 of the report says, “It is intended to retain the existing peripheral boundary fence suitably modified and colour coated to lessen its visual impact”.

This is welcome although the plan submitted by the applicants suggests that the railings will be removed for a section to the north of the site. There would seem to be no reason why this section should also not continue to enjoy the protection of the railings.

We feel that it is important that a condition be added requiring that all plant, wishing to access the site, must utilise existing (bitmaced) links and that no vehicles be permitted to use Hob Moor for this purpose.

Any access from Hob Moor would result in extensive damage which would take years to rectify.

Outstanding issues

• The density remains high. It is inappropriate to compare it to the surrounding area which is largely flats (and which are inevitably relatively high density)

• No adequate arrangements have been made to address the reduction of “on street” parking spaces for the link road (adjacent to Kempton Close). Alternative off street parking spaces should be provided for displaced vehicles.

• The playground is welcome. However it should be surrounded by railings, to prevent dog fouling, and be made capable of being secured at night (by residents) should it become a source of anti social behaviour.

• The developer should do more to reduce the running costs of the homes. Energy conservation – and micro generation features -are increasingly important for those with limited incomes.

Hob Moor development to go ahead?

Derelict school site next to Hob Moor

Derelict school site next to Hob Moor

Apparently Council officials are recommending that the 56 home development at the Our Lady’s school site be given the “go ahead”.

This despite a large number of objections and the proposal being in conflict with the Councils own rules on development densities.

The number of homes being proposed is almost twice the number agreed by the same planning department when they published the draft Local Plan earlier in the year.

It will be interesting to see how they manage to justify that particular policy somersault!

The planning application will be decided at the Planning-Committee meeting on 21 November 2013, at 4.30pm at West Offices, Station Rise, York.

The committee will visit the site at 12:45 pm on the Tuesday (17th November) before the meeting to familiarise themselves with the proposal and residents are also invited to attend.

Residents have the right to speak at the meeting. If you wish to speak, you must register this by telephoning (01904) 552062, and ask for Laura Bootland before 5:00pm on the last working day before the Committee meeting.

The proposal has been mired in controversy since a Labour cabinet member (Clr Merrett) publicly endorsed the scheme shortly after the planning application had been submitted, but before residents had been given the opportunity to comment.