Council misled Lowfield residents

Two virtually identical planning applications were dealt with by Council officials last week.

Both concerned details of the current development taking place at Lowfield.

Both related to “alterations to bedrooms, house types, elevations, roof mounted PV, masterplan revisions, finished floor levels and boundary treatments”

2019 proposal was withdrawn on Tuesday. The 2021 proposal was approved on Wednesday

The second application additionally extended the permitted hours of working to include Saturday afternoons.

The first application (originally submitted in 2019) was withdrawn on Tuesday.

On Wednesday the new application was approved by officials using delegated powers.

The applications had been described as “non material amendments”. Given that the applicant, and the planning authority, were both the York Council, this give rise to claims of unfairness.

It is unlikely that affected neighbours understood what was going on behind closed doors.

Apart from the Saturday working proposal, the biggest concern relates to the the boundary fencing arrangement. Most residents had originally expected that the existing railings – which are in good condition and date from the time that the site was a school – would be retained.

The Council then proposed to remove the railings and substitute a close boarded fence.

Many neighbours feared that the removal of the railings would damage their adjacent gardens.

Rubbish accumulates between different fence layers

The latest plan involves the retention of the railings with a close boarded fence also being erected on the development side.

Double (or triple) fencing has not been a success elsewhere.

Maintenance is difficult.

Close boarded fences are an obstacle for wildlife.

They also squander the opportunity to use natural hedging which has environmental benefits.

The double fencing idea is, of course, also more expensive. Those facing a £295,000 bill for a three bedroomed semi might well have preferred the option to have a discount (and a boundary hedge).

Sadly this is another example of poor public relations on a controversial development which is now hopelessly behind schedule.

The damage to roads and verges in the existing Lowfield area is appalling while the noise nuisance now seem likely to extend into more of the weekend.

The issues are known to local Councillors.

The Lowfields Facebook page can be accessed by clicking here

Significant changes to Lowfields Plans

Planning applications (see below) have been submitted which would see changes made to the Lowfields development. Many are relatively minor although some may cause concern for neighbours

Working hours

Saturday working until 3:00pm will be allowed on parts of the site. A Council official has already agreed to these changes which will permit work to continue on internal works, external paving and brick laying.

Officials say that the proposal is in line with government relaxations in the wake of the pandemic and lockdown restrictions.

The concession lasts until 2nd June 2021.

Proposed boundary arrangements
York Council Email

The perimeter railings are now to be retained. This proposal will be welcomed by many. The railings are generally in good condition and offer enhanced security protection.

Likely to be less welcome is a plan to install a 1.8 meter high closed boarded fence immediately behind the railings. While this may improve privacy, such arrangements have not proved to be successful elsewhere (Hob Stone, Cornlands Road/Redder Rad snicket).

The are maintenance problems for both sets of fences. Progress for mammals like hedgehogs is obstructed by close boarded fences, while an opportunity for compensatory planting is missed.

Undergrowth inevitably builds up between the two layers which is difficult to control.

We will be writing to the planning authorities to say that the inner fence should be replaced with screen planting, which would be better for both wildlife and for the environment.

Boundary treatments
Other changes

A complete list of changes is reproduced below.

The ridge and eves heights on the houses are being reduced while photovoltaic cells are being installed to generate power.

There still has been no statement from the Council about the future of the site reserved for “public buildings” or of the Yorspace communal living plots.

Residents reject plan to fence off Chesneys Field

Chesney’s Field development plan

A Council proposal, that part of the Chesney Field amenity area should be fenced off, was criticised at a meeting of the Foxwood Residents Association last night.

Of those attending the meeting, only Council officials spoke in favour of the plan.

Now a formal representation has been made to local Councillors in the hope that the scheme can be quickly dismissed as an option.

This would allow other aspects of the project to move forward. These may include the provision of a trim track or “outdoor gym”.

Residents urged the football club that wants to erect the fencing and a storage container, to look to an arrangement with the Acorn Ruby Club who operate on an adjacent, and secure, site already.

The matter is likely to be discussed again at a Ward Committee meeting which is taking place next Tuesday at the Bowling Club (7:00pm)

Chesney Field Council decision on 19th October UPDATED


EARLIER: Despite overwhelming opposition to the proposal to fence off most of the Chesney Field public open space, the York Council is set to discuss the plan at a meeting of its Executive taking place on 19th October.

The same meeting will also consider selling off land at Burnholme and plans to provide sports pitches on land at the “Askham estate” on Tadcaster Road.

However it is the proposal to erect 1 metre high railings, on the public open space on Foxwood Lane, that is likely to attract the most controversy.

Chesney’s Field Interpretation board unveiled last year

Council fencing plan

Public meeting

The Foxwood Residents Association is organising a public meeting to discuss the issue. It will take place on Wednesday 20th September starting at 7:00pm. The meeting will take place at the Foxwood Community Centre and will be attended by those Council officials who favour the railings plan.

Local Ward Councillors have now completed delivering a door to door survey to households in the Foxwood area seeking views on the Council’s plans.

Of those who have responded so far

  • 124 (72%) do not want to see the amenity area fenced off
  • 48 (28%) support putting railings round up to 60% of the area

These was no support for securing the whole of the site.

Most respondents said they had no objection to the current arrangements where football and rugby pitches are marked out on the area and rented on a seasonal basis by local clubs.

There was no opposition to plans to level the 2 pitches.

There was strong opposition to siting a shipping storage container on the open space, although some said they had no objection to one being located in the Thanet Road sports area (Acorn Field) behind the landscaping mounds.

Additional trees were planted on Chesney’s Field

Views about the provision of a trim track or outdoor gym were mixed. Some favoured provision of such a facility (which is not dependant on the area being fenced off) on Chesneys field although others felt the provision would be more appropriate on the Acorn field, where there is already a significant amount of sports infrastructure (and which is already secured with 2 metre high railings).

Residents were asked where provision for the local football club, which faces eviction from the Council owned pitches at Lowfields, should be made. The majority of respondents said that the Lowfields plans should be redesigned to allow the existing pitches to remain.

Others pointed to the Councils promise to provide an alternative on Tadcaster Road, while some asked if the joint use of pitches on the Acorn Rugby field was possible (given the projected cost of the project which is put at £40,000)

Foxwood residents, who have so far not completed the survey, can do so “on line” at