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York Council Accused of 'Playing Politics' Over Local Plan

Sturdy Local Plan 130513

5:39pm 13th May 2013
(Updated 2:41pm 14th May 2013)

York Council has been accused of "playing politics" over it's proposed Local Plan.

The 300 page document outlines plans for 22,000 new houses in York by 2030; it also revealed plans for an expansion in the number of wind farms and travellers' sites.

It was agreed by the council's cabinet to put the plans to the public on 30th April.

Since then there has been heated debate at a series of public meetings in the York suburbs with people concerns about new house building, wind farms and travellers' sites in their neighbourhoods.

York Outer MP Julian Sturdy held a meeting in Upper Poppleton over the weekend and said:

“It goes without saying that I am deeply concerned about a number of the proposals within the Council’s draft Local Plan. Not only have they been playing politics, by dumping all of the City’s unwanted developments on York’s greenbelt and causing great distress among my constituents, they have also been decidedly slow in notifying those who will be affected by their ill-thought through plans. The message coming out loud and clear from my meeting on Saturday is that local residents won’t stand for it. I’m glad to see that so many people from across my constituency are coming together to form action groups to build strong objections to the proposals.

“As the Council dither on how they will consult the public, I will, in my role as the York Outer MP, be doing my utmost to ensure that all of my constituents are aware of what is at stake and what they can do to stop the proposals from getting the rubber stamp. I will therefore be hosting a series of public meetings around my constituency and publicising them widely to help get the message across. My challenge to the Council is to listen and to act upon the views of my constituents, who understandably feel that they’ve been forgotten by their local authority.”

York Council Leader James Alexander responded by saying:

“The Local Plan is about the long term future of York and delivering much needed homes current York residents and their children can afford. If Julian disagrees with this he should say where he would build the homes and not ignore York’s homes crisis."

“Many would have more sympathy with his political call to arms if he actually had a credible alternative plan, but he doesn’t. He advocates no Local Plan meaning unrestrained development across the entire draft green belt due to policies recently introduced by his own government. He should be open and honest with his constituents about the consequence of not having a credible plan rather than attack what for the first time will establish York’s first green belt."

“Julian’s comment regarding playing party politics is the ultimate irony.”

Richard Wood, assistant director of City and Environmental Services, said: “The council will be carrying out an extensive 8-week consultation targeted at all areas of the city for residents and businesses. This will be a comprehensive but cost effective consultation. Full details will be available on www.york.gov.uk/localplan.”

The consultation will be running from Wednesday 5 June to Wednesday 31 July.

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