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York Outer MP Julian Sturdy warns of new homes ‘disaster’
BUILDING thousands of homes on fields around York will lead the city towards economic “disaster” rather than prosperity, one of its MPs has claimed.
The ruling Labour group says this is needed to cope with population expansion. make housing more affordable and grow York’s economy.
Labour has also said the plan will formally establish York’s green belt for the first time, preventing runaway development.
However, York Outer MP Julian Sturdy told a full council meeting where he presented a 1,200-name petition on the issue: “In its current form, the draft Local Plan will not secure our green belt for future generations – it will change it irrevocably.
“The pure scale of this proposed development will have a devastating impact on our rural communities. Our rural infrastructure, already nearing capacity, will not cope with what is being proposed. Far from having a positive impact on the local economy, this plan can only end in disaster for York on the economic stage.”
Council leader James Alexander said the Government said councils must have at least five years' land supply for new homes and said a planning inspector recently said York had only four years' available.
He told Mr Sturdy: “There are many people in your constituency and across York who are looking out for homes and cannot afford them.
“Our plan includes land for where people will work – without it, businesses will suffer – so that is not an economic disaster. We’re talking about a vision for the city where people can access homes and jobs, a prosperous city rather than a stagnating one.
“If other parties think the plan is wrong, tell us where the land for these homes is, otherwise it’s opposition for opposition’s sake.”
The Liberal Democrat group questioned why the number of homes within several recently proposed brownfield developments, such as the British Sugar, Our Lady’s School and Barbican sites, was higher than their housing allocations in the draft plan.
Lib Dem councillor Nigel Ayre said unexpected “windfall” sites on brownfield land could be considered if there was “compelling” evidence they would be ready for development by 2030, but Coun Alexander said the “degree of uncertainty” over such sites made it “irresponsible” to include them now and the Local Plan could be rejected by the Government if they were preferred to land already earmarked for development.
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