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Arguments Continue Over Public Involvement in York's Local Plan

Local Plan Council 120413

7:32pm 2nd May 2013

Every home in York should get a leaflet about the city's Local Plan, according to opposition Lib Dems.

It was decided on Tuesday to put the York Local Plan out to public consultation.

By 2030, 22,000 new homes are proposed as well as an expansion of travellers sites and wind farms.

Carol Runciman, Liberal Democrat Leader on City of York Council, commented:

“There is no major area of York that is left untouched by these plans, whether it is proposals for 2,000 houses in Huntington, wind turbines in Heworth Without or a travellers site near Dunnington. Given this, the Council has a duty to contact every household in York explaining the proposals and how residents can get involved in the consultation.

“At the very least this should be a leaflet delivered to every house – this is what happened when the Lib Dems ran the Council. Residents need the information to oppose development they consider unsuitable, but just as importantly to support development they think is suitable or suggest viable alternatives. The consultation do cuments should also go to the cross-party Local Plan Working Group to ensure that the information provided to residents is fair and balanced.

“It is also imperative that all the information is made public. At the moment we have seen the recommended sites, but not details of the other sites suggested by landowners but rejected by council officers. We have seen the council report saying that we ‘need’ to build 1090 houses a year, but not the detailed research which supposedly supports this claim. All this should be in the public domain so that councillors and residents can properly scrutinize Labour’s plans.”

But the city council has responded, with council leader James Alexander stating:

"York Lib Dems had eight years in council control to pass a Local Plan to define a green belt and protect it for the first time and they failed. National legislation from their Government means we have to satisfy higher housing targets and in a city with a housing crisis, my Labour colleagues and I morally agree with this. The Local Plan will be formulated in full consultation with the public and with the Local Plan Working Group. I repeat my challenge that if the Lib Dems disagree with Labour's plan for new homes they should explain their alternative”.

Senior officers say their plans for a full consulation are in place and more background documents will be made available.

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.”

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