Front Street phone mast controversy rumbles on

The controversial application to site a 20 metre high phone mast on Front Street was due to be determined this week. 

2020 application decision

A similar application was turned down last year because of the impact such a mast would have had on the nearby Conservation Area.

Today we learn that applicant has decided to appeal against the decision.

All in all, there are better less intrusive locations for masts of this height.

One option would be the nearby car park. 

Latest application for new mast

Spark lease still outstanding

Contrary to the claims made in a Council report published yesterday, it appears that the owners of the SPARK Container village on Piccadilly HAVE NOT signed a new lease.

The revelation comes in a response to a Freedom of Information published today.

SPARK were controversially offered a new lease at a meeting which took place on 14th February. They had been due to vacate the site in June.

Following complaints from neighbours and against a background of non compliance with planning conditions, the Council sought to place new restrictions on how SPARK could operate the business. (see below).

It has now emerged that SPARK has settled outstanding 2020 Council debts to the value of £23,333

The development was granted a 2 year extension to its planning permission earlier in the summer.

Spark has been operating on a “tenancy at will” basis since June.

The Council says, “The Council are in discussions with Spark over the provision of the new lease following the grant of a Tenancy at Will earlier in the year, which is still in force”.

The long term future of the 17/21 Piccadilly remains unclear as the health crisis and economic recession makes early redevelopment unlikely.

It has been suggested that the site could be used as a terminus for a disabled friendly zero emission transport system which would ferry less ambulant visitors around the City centre.

This use – which might also offer residential or workshop opportunities at first floor level – could help to ease pressure on the nearby Castle car park.

Bootham Crescent redevelopment set for approval

Planning application to be determined on 13th August

Council official are recommending that planning permission be granted to build 93 houses on the site of York City Football Clubs existing stadium. The Club is expected to move to a new stadium at Monks Cross later this year.

Proposed housing layout

The development, which has been in the pipeline for over a decade, will comprise 12 one bed, 33 two bed, 37 three bed and 11 four bed properties. Of these 18 (20%) will be classed as “affordable”.

The plans incorporate a heritage proposal agreed with Historic England which acknowledges the significance of the football ground over the last 90 years.

It consequently incorporates the following elements that will give distinctive character to the development and evidence the site’s past use –

  • A memorial garden and a retained section of the west stand. The retained section of terrace along with evidence of the location of the centre circle within the landscaping will allow for orientation and evidence of the previous layout of the site.
  • The ‘proposed flag location’ annotated on the site plan relates to the flag present at the football ground (in a similar location). Historically the flag was lowered gradually towards the end of the game.
  • The west brick boundary wall, which predates use of the site by the football club will be retained (it will be lowered removing the blockwork).

The report goes on to say,

The retained terrace and tunnel will provide a lasting legacy of the stadium and create a focal point for memory and orientation. The location of the retained terrace and tunnel matches the desired position on the halfway line at the midpoint of the Popular Stand and in front of the POS. The precise length of the section will be determined by conservation, engineering and health and safety considerations but is not expected to exceed 6m.

The preferred location for the memorial garden is around the base of this
structure to provide discreet location for remembrance. The side walls of the terrace could be used to support memorial plaques etc, while caskets and ashes could be buried at the base of the walls. Some existing metal fencing and gates in the Popular Stand could be appropriated to secure the perimeter at the top of the terrace and ends of the tunnel. Similarly, the
wooden picket fence in front of the Popular Stand should be reclaimed to border the memorial garden.

Centre circle

The idea of recreating the centre circle in the middle of the POS is applauded, it would be in alignment with the retained section of terrace and provide a further place for orientation.


The flagpole was originally located between the south-east corner of the pitch and the stadium entrance. It is suggested that the new flagpole is erected as close as possible to this original location, and that it flies a replica of the club flag as a permanent and symbolic reminder of fans’ allegiance to Bootham Crescent. Its proposed location does not exactly match the original position, but it is as near as possible in the proposed layout. Ideally, like the centre circle, it should be slightly further south and east, closer to the new entrance.

Any development will not take place until both the football and Rugby Clubs have moved to the – much delayed – new stadium. Commissioning work there is still apparently held up by the after affects of the pandemic. Social distancing regulations currently make it impossible to stage large scale trial events there, an essential prerequisite for stadium certification.

Details of the planning committee report can be found by clicking here

Station front plans revised

Revised plans have been submitted to improve York Station Front with the removal of Queen Street Bridge and a reorganisation of the transport interchange in front of the station.


Following comments raised throughout the 2019 Station front planning process, revised plans to transform York Station Front have been submitted for consultation. This will see an addendum added to modify several areas of the original planning application, following further consultation with partners, residents and station users.

The key changes to the scheme include:

  • A redesigned multi-storey car park. After consulting with English Heritage, plans for the car park have been revised to better respect the heritage of the railway and York RI. This will also move all the station parking into one area making it better visually.
  • The layout of parcel square has been redesigned so it is more in keeping with station heritage, and in conversation with existing parcel square tenants to give them a prime location in the remodelled station.
  • Five on-street parking spaces removed from Queen Street to allow a safer cycle route to promote active travel, whilst reducing congestion around the station.
Multi storey car park
City walls link
Station frontage

A lot more detail including an interesting historical analysis of the station site can be read by clicking here

For more information about the station front visit

People can share their views and submit comments on the application at using ref. 19/00535/FULM and 19/00542/LBC

Anger as Clarke Telecoms refuse to reconsider 5G mast blight

Planning application for 19 metre high Bellhouse Way 5G mast submitted

Despite a hostile response from local residents and Councillors to the informal soundings taken about their huge telecoms mast plan for a site near the Community Centre, Clarke Telecom have now submitted a formal planning application. Click here

Height comparisons and site plan

 Ironically, it comes on the day that the government announced that the mast user, the Chinese company Huawei, would be barred from involvement with the 5G roll out in the UK. Sources say this will put back the 5G timetable by between 2 and 3 years.

A 19 metre high mast in the middle of a residential area (twice the size of the existing mast) would tower over nearby trees, buildings and even lampposts. The ugly equipment antenna  would not be shrouded.

The new equipment cabinets would further obstruct the footpath outside the community centre and would exacerbate problems with anti-social behaviour and trespass.

By far the best option would be for any mast to be located on the Thanet Road Sports area. A site off Foxwood Lane could be found which would have less impact on either peoples homes or leisure buildings.  Existing masts on Thanet Road and Bellhouse Way could then be rationalised to one location which would avoid existing problems with sight lines being blocked for vehicle drivers.

Should this not be possible, then an alternative location, on the opposite side of the road from the Community Centre, would be preferable. This site takes the form of an inset which is currently occupied by cycle hoops (which could be moved into the park).

Suggested alternative location if the mast has to be on Bellhouse Way

Clarke Telecom representatives have offered a series of largely bogus reasons why this site could not be used. An area equivalent to the requirement for the cabinets and pole base has been marked out by the Residents Association. This demonstrates that the proposal could be accommodated with minimal intrusion into the park. If necessary, the railings could be realigned. Any affected trees could be replaced elsewhere in the park.

It is even more important these days that public footpaths be kept clear of clutter as we need to allow plenty of space for “social distancing”. This would mean removing the grass verge if the Community Centre site were approved.

Problems have occurred over the years with youths and criminals climbing onto the cabinets to gain entry to the adjacent car park, centre, and private houses beyond.

Any new mast which may be deemed as essential should be placed next the park where the natural vegetation would help to screen the unsightly utility boxes.

The current proposal represents a visually unacceptable blight on a residential area and should be rejected by the York Council.

Residents wishing to object to the proposal can do so either “on line” through the planning web site or by Email to quoting reference 20/01183/TCMAS

Spark set to get government lifeline?

Containers arrived in Sept 2017

The controversial Sparks container village development on Piccadilly looks set to benefit from a government planning decision.

The temporary planning permission for the site – granted 3 years ago- included the following condition

This (approved) use (of the site) shall cease and all associated structures shall be removed from the site by 1 July 2020; unless prior to that date the consent of the Local Planning Authority has been obtained to extend the period of the permission

The containers should, therefore, by today have been off the site.

Officials at the Council have – not for the first time – failed to enforce the conditions attached to the planning permission.

They say that on 22nd June, the government issued a press release that stated

Sites with consent that have an expiry date between the start of lockdown and the end of this year will now see their consent extended to 1 April 2021”.

Officials go on to say, “At the time of writing (the planning report) the associated legislation regarding this is not yet in force (and consequently we do not know the details of this change). It is assumed this legislation will extend the lifetime of the existing permission into next year”.

Council planning officials go on to say,

However should this legislation not be in force by the time of committee, the recommendation will be approval subject to the legislation coming into force to automatically extend permissions that have expired during lockdown

The meeting is taking place (remotely) on 9th July. Background papers can be viewed by clicking this link

There are continuing concerns from neighbours about noise at the site while objections about the appearance of the  development also continue to be lodged.

Whether the managers of the site will be able to satisfy the conditions placed on an extended lease – which include financial sureties – remains to be seen.

Much of Sparks incomes derives from alcohol sales. The hospitality sector in York, and elsewhere, is facing a difficult 12 months.

Some sources speculate that as many as 40% of city centre cafes and bars may close unless there is an sustained (and unlikely) increase in visitor numbers.

We may, therefore, yet see the site become available for early redevelopment although major investments are going to be difficult to broker in the wake of the coronavirus crisis and the expected economic recession.

NB. The meeting is also being recommended to approve plans for a 168 bedroomed hotel on the other side of Piccadilly. Click

Hospital planning application published

As forecast yesterday, a “remote” planning meeting will determine an application next week which could see the York Hospital extended.

The background papers can be found by clicking here. The application is recommended for approval

The applications says,

Planning permission is sought for an extension to the southern elevation of the hospital to provide a vascular imaging unit (VIU). The proposed development would be 14.2 metres in height and would be sited on land currently used as a car park (resulting in the loss of 40 staff parking spaces) the building would be three storeys internally. The access to the building would be internal and externally from the east elevation. Vehicle access would still be provided between the proposed building and the footpath to the south. The proposed materials will be brick to the south and east elevations and grey cladding to the north and west elevations.

The catchment for the proposed unit would be York District, Selby District.
Hambleton, Ryedale and east Yorkshire, Bridlington and Scarborough). The unit would be used by a variety of departments and would be run and staffed by Radiology and its core activity is undertaken by the vascular and cardiac specialists.
The type of procedures include: diagnosing problems with blood flow (aneurysms etc), insertion of balloons, stents, pace makers etc. The extension will provide a Hybrid Theatre on the first floor (with associated Post Anaesthesia Care Unit) and Vascular Labs (and ancillary accommodation) on the ground floor to provide solutions for a number of clinical services across Radiology, Cardiology and Vascular Surgery. The existing VIU unit consists of two labs with a shared control room, prep/recovery space, nurse station/reception and ancillary spaces.

The applications will be the first to be held using the Councils “Remote Meeting” protocol. Under this reaction to “lockdown”, only half the planning committee have been invited to attend and vote on the plans. A virtual – on line – meeting will hear any public representations made using a, pre arranged internet based, link.

The Council has been asked to find a more representative, and accessible, arrangement for dealing with future – more controversial – planning applications.

Direction signs project update – planning applications submitted

Further to yesterdays story, about the Council/BID project which will see £700,000 spent on new City centre direction signs, planning applications have now started to appear on the Council web site.

This one is for two “finger” signs on Ouse Bridge

There is a backlog of controversial planning applications building up at the Council. Normally they would be dealt with at public planning committee meetings.

We understand that a meeting may be scheduled in a few weeks time to discuss an application at the hospital. In the interim, the best that objectors can hope for is that “on line” remote meetings will be scheduled.

York Central planning application submitted

The York Central Partnership has submitted a planning application for the first phase of infrastructure works to unlock York Central

The plans include:

  • new access road for the site
  • bridge over the East Coast mainline
  • tree planting and landscaping

The York Central Partnership has submitted a planning application for the first phase of infrastructure works to unlock the York Central site and allow development to start, following extensive consultation held in February and March. The Partnership will now work, including through the planning process with City of York Council, to achieve a positive outcome in these exceptional times.

The partnership made up of Network Rail, Homes England, City of York Council and supported by the National Railway Museum is developing proposals to regenerate the 45 hectare site, one of the largest city centre brownfield development sites in the UK. This planning application will create the necessary access to the site, so that it can be unlocked to provide homes, employment opportunities, a new park and other facilities.

The first Reserved Matters application proposals include:

  • New access routes throughout the site, including 1.85km (1.1 miles) of segregated cycle and pedestrian pathways
  • A new bus lane on Cinder Street and routes for two park and ride services to run through the site
  • A new bridge in weathering steel, the same material is used on the new Scarborough Bridge foot and cycleway, across the East Coast Mainline
  • A £4m shared pedestrian and cycle bridge added to the Water End bridge
  • New streets and access points, including a Leeman Road link road, change to Leeman Road tunnel and Marble Arch
  • A new rail siding which will be used by the National Railway Museum
  • Mature tree planting along the routes, and new pathways and landscaping through Millennium Green

While the timing of any development is now likely to be impacted by the current lock-down, most concerns are likely to relate to the absence of a new dedicated cycle access in the Leeman Road tunnel area.

Leeman Road tunnel issues not resolved.

The current proposals involve a shared access route using the existing, sub standard, structure. One way working would impede public transport services.

There are similar access concerns for cyclists in the Wilton Rise area.

NB. The applicants promised to include the responses made by residents to their last public consultation, which took place in February, when they submitted this final planning application. They do not appear to have done so. Instead there is a sanitised version which fails to address many of the points made

Hydro electric power generation scheme at Naburn set to be approved

The Councils planning committee is being recommended to approve an application which would see York see its first modern hydro electric power generation on the river Ouse.

The generators would be sited near Naburn Lock.

The proposal comprises two Archimedes screw turbines, a multi-species fish pass, a turbine house building, hydraulic channels, trash screening and access improvements. The scheme is expected to generate a peak power output of less than 500kW and an average annual energy production of 1.2 GWh. The applicant states that this is sufficient to power around 310 homes and provides an effective CO2e saving of around 620 tonnes per year.

The intake would be situated within the island Application Reference Number: 18/02552/FUL Item No: 4b bank just upstream of the weir, with water passing through coarse trash screening before arriving at the sluice gates and turbine house. The screw turbines would discharge into an outfall channel that re-joins the main river just downstream of the weir. A new fish pass will be constructed along the left-hand side of the hydropower scheme.

Naburn Lock is located on the River Ouse in a rural location to the south of Naburn village. The construction of the locks took place in 1757 and 1888 and has created an island upon which is located the workshops, stores and offices associated with the operation and maintenance of the lock. There was formerly a water mill on the island (constructed between 1813 and 1817) which fell out of use around 1955 and was demolished in 1958.

The locks themselves are listed at Grade II (“Old and New Lock”). Directly to the east lies the Naburn Banqueting House, a vacant Grade II listed building, together with the lock keeper’s house. Access to the site is along a single track road from Naburn Lane, which also serves the Naburn Lock caravan park, located to the east.

Naburn Lock is accessible to members of the public and there is a car park and information board at the end of the access road.

The application will be determined on 16th January