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14,000 have a say on future of York
THE controversial vision for how York will be developed over 15 years has drawn more than 14,000 opinions.
Public consultation results, including the opinions of English Heritage, Natural England and neighbouring councils, will be discussed by a council working group next month. Almost 5,000 people sent views, with thousands signing petitions opposing elements of the plan.
Labour has said the plan will give York its first official green belt, as well as preserving the city’s control of its planning policy, and says 1,090 new homes are needed annually to cope with population growth and make housing more affordable. Opponents say the figure is too high and will destroy the city’s character.
In a report, development officer Claire Beech said the overall scale of development was a major reason for opposition. The choice of development sites, travellers’ sites and the location and number of wind turbines were also contentious.
Council leader James Alexander said the number of responses was a consultation record for York, which illustrated the "magnitude" of the blueprint.
He said: “The importance of the Local Plan cannot be underestimated – it will affect all future generations.
“We still have some time to go before the plan is adopted, but we recognise that the biggest challenges for York are the city’s need for affordable housing for residents, delivering more jobs, and protecting York’s unique built environment for future generations. Through the Local Plan, we hope to achieve this.
Coun Dave Merrett, cabinet member for planning, said the plan would safeguard “historic and green heritage” and make the best use of brownfield development sites.
However, Coun Joe Watt, the Conservative Local Plan spokesman, said: “The weight of the response confirmed the strength of feeling residents have for the future of York and the need to preserve its special character.
"I will be calling on James Alexander to respect the citizens of York and respond positively to their concerns and wishes.”
Liberal Democrat leader Keith Aspden said responses showed pivotal organisations had concerns about the draft Local Plan, and had also revealed the "depth of opposition" among residents to Labour's housebuilding targets. He said: "It is now time for Labour to listen to these views and rethink their plan."
All 4,945 specific responses will be published and the public will give their views on a “submission draft” before a final consultation. The plan will then go to the Government and be adopted in 2015 if approved.
How organisations reacted to proposals
York’s setting would be “compromised” by a 5,580-home development at Whinthorpe, next to the A64 between Heslington and Wheldrake, and development of land north of Clifton Moor. Developments at Metcalfe Lane, north of Monks Cross, and Moor Lane in Woodthorpe could also be damaging and needed a “more robust assessment”.
Protecting York’s “historic environment” should be “the principal factor which shapes the future growth of our city”.
NORTH YORKSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL
Supports defining the green belt but concerned the number of new homes could outstrip economic growth, causing more commuting. More information needed about how the transport network would cope.
Local Plan must make sure developers build in areas with the lowest flood risk. Does not address water quality and resources, or the protection of rivers. Must “enhance” as well as “protect” the environment. Support more green infrastructure, but “room for improvement” in the draft plan as it “lacks direction”.
EAST RIDING OF YORKSHIRE COUNCIL
Generally supports the plans, especially moves to make sure commuting into York from neighbouring areas doesn’t grow. Less positive about Whinthorpe development, and suggests that expanding existing settlements is a better idea.
HAMBLETON DISTRICT COUNCIL
Few issues affecting their area in the plan, and pleased to see York meeting its own growth needs without relying on neighbouring areas. Some worries about developments north of Clifton and their effect on the A1237 ring road.
Supports the sustainable transport plans and many of its policies, but said there needs to be more evidence. It has also expressed “serious concerns” about traffic impact around concentrated developments - like Whinthorpe or Metcalf Lane.
Two housing sites – Moor Lane, Woodthorpe and Whinthorpe – are close to SSSI sites, and plans for gipsy and traveller sites in Dunnington may damage a nearby nature reserve. Renewable energy plans have not had proper ecological assessments.
Several proposed new stations, including at Haxby and Strensall, could increase journey times by up to nine minutes on the Scarborough line, and Network Rail says the need to speed up that journey might outweight any benefit.
RYEDALE DISTRICT COUNCIL
Would like more focus on the economy on the Ryedale border, especially around FERA, Sand Hutton.
SELBY DISTRICT COUNCIL
Concerns about Whinthorpe. Wants more information on the plans and access routes to Selby. Welcomed park and ride plans for the Designer Outlet, but does not want to see that area developed as a leisure centre above Selby town centre.21 petitions signedMORE than 9,000 signatures have been collected on
21 petitions opposing aspects of York's Local Plan.
THE petitions – four of which gathered more than 1,000 names - were set up after the development proposals were published by City of York Council.
The biggest petition was organised by Ann Reid, Liberal Democrat councillor for Dringhouses and Woodthorpe, calling on plans to build thousands of homes on green belt land to be blocked. It was signed by 2,302 people.
Dunnington Parish Council collected 1,323 names to prevent a travellers’ site being created in the village, and 1,084 signed another petition by Coun Reid concerning the development of land between Wetherby Road and Knapton, while 1,036 signatories said a travellers’ site should not be built off Malton Road.
Other petitions included plans for thousands of homes in Huntington and New Earswick, housing and renewable energy schemes in Copmanthorpe, and the plans for Moor Lane in Woodthorpe. In total, 9,022 people signed paper petitions about the Local Plan, some of which have already been discussed at a full council meeting.
Four e-petitions were also set up, two of which have closed after being signed by 1,279 people. Two are still running and, at the time of the Local Plan Working Group report being written, had 1,118 signatures.
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