More gloom as latest York Draft Local Plan unveiled

Transport gridlock a possibility, as City set to grow in size by over 20%

Yet another set of proposed changes to the Council Draft Local Plan have been published by the York Council. If accepted at a meeting taking place next week the number of extra homes to be built in the Area could increase from an estimated 867 dwelling a year to as many as 1070.

Officials blame inconsistent national population projections for the indecision.

Developers eyeing stables on Tadcaster Road

If accepted, they higher figures could mean more Green Belt land being developed in the Metcalf Lane, Wigginton Road and Elvington Lane areas. The racecourse stables land on Tadcaster Road is once again under threat while developers want to build a whopping 1575 dwelling at Galtres Farm near Huntington

The York Central (brownfield) figures could also increase from 1500 to between 1700 and 2500 units, with more offices also planned for the site.

The main impact of any increase in  house building, and associated economic development, will be on the Cities, already creaking, transport systems. Increases in traffic congestion levels could be as much as 25% on some roads.

The 20% increase in the City’s population – over just 20 years – has never been effectively explained or challenged by Councillors. The effect that such high growth rates will have, on the character of the City, is considerable.

Many fewer people have responded to the Councils latest consultation than previous exercises.

Residents now have “consultation overload” and are fed up with raising the same issues time and time again without receiving any convincing response from the authorities.

Lowfields – Plan to build on sports pitches

A prime example is the campaign to conserve the playing field and sports pitches at Lowfields. 80% of respondents oppose the Councils plan to develop the field, yet their views are being ignored.

The stage is now held by vested interests.

Land owner, developers and their agents are squabbling over the available cake. Large profits depend on the outcome of the Local Plan deliberations

There will be a final period of is=consultation shortly. The results of the consultation will then be placed before an independent inspector at an “Examination in Public”.

That will give ordinary residents an opportunity to air their views in what should be an impartial forum.


Councils traffic projections Jan 2018

New flats set to get go ahead

Clifford Street

Officials are recommending that 14 Clifford Street be converted for restaurant use into flats. There will also be two new offices provided in the building.

The plan has generally been welcomed although a nearby nightclub has expressed concerns that the flat dwellers may be subject to a noise nuisance.

Elsewhere officials are recommending that the owners of 25 and 26 Barbican Road be allowed to convert the houses into a block containing 12 apartments.

Carlton Tavern decision

Planning permission, to demolish the Carlton Tavern and use the site for an elderly persons home, was refused last night.

In effect the Planning Committee reversed a decision taken a couple of months ago when the Chair had to use his casting vote to determine the issue.

This prompted threats of a Judicial review of the process.

The applicants now have a right of appeal against the latest decision, so it is likely to be several months before the fate of the building is finally clear.

Carlton Tavern – planning rerun recommendations published

Officials are recommending that permission be given for the Carlton Tavern pub to be demolished and replaced with a care home.

A planning committee meeting taking place on 13th December will vote again on the issue following threats of a legal challenge to a decision to approve the proposal taken at its October meeting.

At that time the committee chair had to use his casting vote to determine the application.

The officer report now clarifies their interpretation of national and European guidance.

Over 150 objections to the plan have been recorded.

Planning applications – Gremlins on Council planning portal

It looks like last weekends update of the Council “planning portal” has gone badly wrong. The site should list all planning applications received (validated) by the Council during the preceding week.

Since the weekend (when the site was down for “maintenance”) the applications for the weeks commencing 13th and 20th November have disappeared. Some have reappeared on the current weeks list (27th Nov).

Taking the Westfield Ward as an example the site suggests that no applications have been “validated” since 7th November.

The issue is important because residents wishing to object (or support) particular planning applications have only a limited time to record their views. That time is being eroded.

The matter has been raised with senior Councillors and officials at the Council but the Authority has yet to make a statement about what has gone wrong and what is being done to remedy the failure.


Citywide review of green and recreation space provision

At last nights the City of York’s Executive call-in meeting regarding the sale of Willow Lodge, the Liberal Democrats called for a review of green and recreational space provision across York.

It was announced during the call-in, that the highest bidder for the sale of Willow Lodge had reduced their offer for the purchase of the land. The decision will need to come back to the Executive for a future report, after assessment of the commercial bids.  This report would itself be subject to the same possibilities of a call-in.

In a separate vote, Liberal Democrats Councillors called on Council Officers to undertake a review of green and recreational space, when considering future decision on developing Council land.

Cllr Andrew Waller added:

“There is a growing interest in public open space, whether it is playing fields or small recreational sites, which provide a break in the urban development of York.  All residents in York should feel that they are being considered when decisions are taken on developing Council land.

Carlton Tavern – re-run of planning meeting expected on 13th December

It looks like there will be a re-run of the debate and vote on the future of the Carlton Tavern. The Planning Committee (on the casting vote of the Chairman) agreed last month that the pub be demolished to make way for an elderly care home.

Various sources on social media are now claiming that the Council will look again at the proposal following threats of a Judicial Review by a national amenity society.

Council officials have, apparently, agreed to further clarify the planning advice that they gave the committee.

Quite whether this will make any difference remains to be seen. It is at least a possibility that different Councillors may attend the meeting making it possible that a different conclusion will be reached.

We will see.

It seems that the Council is caught between a rock and a hard place.

Last day for objections to the “Lowfields Green” development

The deadline for objections to the Councils “Lowfields Green” planning application has now passed.

The Action Group opposing the proposal to build on the playing field part of the site have submitted a comprehensive objection. A copy of their objection can be found via their Facebook page

Most of the representations of support for the scheme seem to be generated by the  communal living project (Yorspace) although there is general support for the plans for specialist accommodation for the elderly.

None of the representations in favour of the Councils proposals come for people living near Lowfields (or indeed from the Westfield/Acomb area more generally)

The only unconditional message of support for the Council plan has been lodged by Bob Towner – a former Director of Housing at (you guessed!) the City of York Council!  He says local people should use Hob Moor for recreational activities.

Further examination of the artists impressions of the proposals reveal a regimented design, the likes of which haven’t been seen since the 1960’s.

Lowfields Green – a candidate for the least imaginative architecture award?




Severus Hills housing proposal set to be refused planning permission

It looks like residents are set to win their battle to prevent the development of a key site near Lindsey Avenue.

Yorkshire Housing want to build 43 affordable homes next to the landmark water tower.

Severus Hills comprises a 1.66 hectare partially wooded site occupying a prominent hill top location to the north west of the City Centre. It was formerly occupied by a, partially below ground, reservoir.

The site is a notified SINC (Site of Interest for Nature Conservation) on the basis of providing a calcareous grassland habitat.

Now planning officials are recommending that the application be refused. 159 letters of objections had been received by the Council.

Officials conclude that the development would “by virtue of its overbearing nature would give rise to substantial harm to the residential amenity of adjacent properties within Howe Hill Close”

The planning meeting is taking place on Thursday


Latest planning applications for 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


99 Front Street York YO24 3BU

Proposal              Crown reduce Sycamore tree up to 2.5m in a Conservation Area

Reference           17/02666/TCA


26 Askham Lane York YO24 3HA

Proposal              Single storey rear extension

Reference           17/02601/FUL


Representations can be made in favour of, or in objection to, any application via the Planning on line web site.

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