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Plans for 22,000 New Homes in York To Be Put to Public


6:20pm 30th April 2013
(Updated 9:02pm 30th April 2013)

Controversial plans for 22,000 new homes for York are going to be put to the public after York Council's cabinet approved a public consultation on the issue.

Council leader James Alexander said the city currently doesn't have a greenbelt and there would be uncontrolled development unless plan goes ahead as national planning rules would come into force. There hasn't been a plan for York since 1956 and he stated the last Local Plan was withdrawn as parts of it "did not stack up". He claimed there is a homes crisis in the city and stated people are giving up hope of buying or renting in York.

He continued by saying prices are rising due to supply and demand adding brownfield sites would not meet current demand, let alone future needs. He stated housing costs are increasing far faster than wages and people are being priced out of York.

The council leader said people born and brought up in York can't afford homes and says he's on the side of aspiration.

He challenged the other parties to publish their alternatives in the next eight weeks while the proposals are put to the public..

He said that he doesn't believe new homes would reduce house prices but thinks that would be a good idea if they did.

Opponents made a range of arguments against the Local Plan:

  • Matthew Clements from Heslington was the first speaker and said he's "horrified" by scale of development on York greenbelt.He is calling for plans for new Holme Hill development to be made public saying it would be as big as Pocklington.He believes people in the new village would commute to Leeds due to traffic problems in York.
  • Cllr Ann Reid is concerned the papers assessing how many homes are needed in York and more detailed plans haven't been made public.She says some sites where new council houses would be built have not been put into the report.She says she is sceptical about whether the plans for new homes can be achieved.
  • Cllr George Barton had two points - that people opposed to the plans are not NIMBYs and Conservatives will encourage people to get involved in debate. He asks for opponents to be respected and all views across the city. He closed by saying "And finally - keep your hands off our greenbelt".
  • Cllr Mark Warters ays the public consultation is a "pretence" and says it will be a nightmare in wards which don't vote Labour. He added that he'll be here long after senior politicians have "moved on to new political careers" and also accused senior council officers of moving on to other jobs elsewhere. Cllr Dave Merrett objected to the comments but Cllr James Alexander intervened to allow Cllr Warters to continue, and he accuses the council of wanting to turn York "into inner city Leeds".
  • Cllr Andy D'Agorne says housing targets are too high with no evidence they can be delivered sustainably, he adds new homes have to be energy efficient to help cut fuel poverty and CO2 emissions. He also asked how the existing transport system can cope saying most people in the new homes will need to get about by car. He's also calling for more reports to be put into public domain and accuses council of creating an economic "mini boom".
  • Cllr Jenny Brooks says people in Dunnington want land off Common Lane to be used for a car park and playing pitches. Dunnington has 11 cricket and 18 football teams adding the FA want to invest in Dunnington but they need the land. She continues saying a community facility at Dunnington could be lost and is asking for the land to be changed and asks that people in the village are listened to.
  • Cllr Keith Orrell says plans for Huntington would be a 50% increase in housing for area and adds its not the only project planned. But he says the existing developments of 140 homes are working with the community but they would impact on the area. He says there was "disbelief, horror and amazement" when the Local Plan was made public.He continues saying that developers will go to green belt land first and brownfield sites won't be developed which he claimed could put an extra 3,000 cars on the road in Huntington stating the quality of life will be diminished.
  • Cllr Carol Runciman says the Local Plan is of "vital importance" for people outside city centre. She says there has been 1% growth in population pa between 2001-2011. She added plans don't take into account those who don't commute to places other than York and stated houses to the south west of York will appeal to those who want to commute to Selby and Leeds and says roads need to be improved. She asked for local people's views to be taken into account and says the local plan should be looked at again.
  • Cllr Ian Cuthbertson asked if roads in Haxby and Wigginton, which were built in the 1970s can cope. He also criticised the accuracy of the plan stating the planned new Haxby station is in the wrong place on the map and says there needs to be more dualling of Outer Ring Road to cope with transport pressures. He adds part of the countryside could be lost to housing.
  • Cllr Paul Healey queried the population and job growth projections in the report. He referred to a November 2011 study which says 73% of population growth in North Yorkshire was due to international migration, 16% to migration within the UK and 10% from growth within the county. He stated 9,000 of York's population increase came from students. He also stated 16,000 new jobs could go to 40,000 new people and not people already living in York. He stated that York has a low wage problem not a jobs problem and continued by saying adding more people won't fix that.



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