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New Row Over Plans for 1,500 Homes in Earswick

Earswick 090714

7:20pm 9th July 2014

A new row has broken out over plans for 1,500 homes in Earswick between opposition Conservatives and Labour-run York Council.

Conservative Paul Doughty, who represents Strensall Ward, has accused developers of being “misleading and aggressive” in their attempts to promote the site to people living in the village, which is set to be included in York’s proposed Local Plan. 

Paul Doughty told Minster FM:

The proposed development site has until now been identified as part of the greenbelt and has only very recently emerged as potential building land as potential ‘safeguarded land’ put to be put aside for future development as part of the Local Plan Further Sites consultation.  It has not yet been accepted as part of the plan and along with the people of Earswick I have been very unhappy to have this development presented to the village as basically a “fait accompli”.  The developers themselves have stated that, in the event they get approval, the earliest the work would go ahead would be 2016/17, and yet their presentation to villagers on Monday was very much in the spirit of presenting a development ready to be built.  Who can blame residents for their anger and confusion and the feeling that was quoted by one resident in the media that “there was nothing we could do about it”.

“This project has considerable hurdles to overcome prior even reaching the starting blocks.  It is on what is presently identified as greenbelt land.  The proposal is for up to 1,500 houses, which will completely overwhelm the existing village of 360 homes.  The infrastructure plans are inadequate.  It is very wrong to imply that these are minor issues which can be smoothed over with a few public relations exercises.  I also blame the Labour administration for creating an atmosphere of “done deals” regarding the Local Plan, by paying no attention to the overwhelmingly negative response by residents to their proposed Local Plan during last year’s consultation period.  Is it any wonder that developers feel emboldened when it is obvious that Labour plans to push through its plans for unsustainable numbers of houses and urban sprawl despite the views of the vast majority of York residents?"

But the Deputy Leader of York Council, Labour's Tracey Simpson-Laing has hit back, accusing her opponents of not understanding the scale of the housing problem in the city. She told Minster FM:

Landowners and developers have a right to engage with the public on the development of land and were they not to do, the Conservatives would be up in arms so they can’t have it both ways.  Whether a site is suitable or not requires engagement with the local community and that is exactly what is happening. York needs new homes – 1% of property in the city is currently affordable to the average income family, what answer have local Conservatives got for these York families other than to move out of York?

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