ALMOST 300 new homes will be built in York after two huge developments were approved tonight.
Controversial plans for 102 homes on fields in Strensall were given the go-ahead on a 9-7 vote by City of York Council's planning committee. The councillors also backed a 195-home scheme that will kickstart the £130 million city-centre Hungate project.
Linden Homes North's £12.4 million Brecks Lane scheme drew opposition from 122 residents, York Outer MP Julian Sturdy and Strensall councillor Paul Doughty.
Objector Michael Parish said the village's drains could not cope with more new development, and resident Scott Anscomb said Robert Wilkinson Primary School would be unable to take more pupils without children's education being harmed.
He raised fears about traffic and pressure on local services, saying: "We have a village which thrives, we make it work, but this development is a step too far."
Coun Doughty said the scheme was "premature" ahead of York's Local Plan being adopted and arguments for allowing it on a greenfield site were "extremely flimsy and tenuous".
After the narrow decision, he said: "I am not just dismayed, I am livid."
He said some councillors paid "little or no regard to the impact this development will have on the village, drainage on site and the surrounding road infrastructure".
Steve Irving, representing Linden Homes, said: "We don't believe this site is in the green belt, but even if it was, the reality is that York has a significant housing land shortfall - less than five years' supply - and that means a presumption in favour of sustainable development."
The Hungate scheme, approved by 11 votes to 5, will now be revived after work stalled following the completion of its first phase in 2009. The overall 720-home scheme may take until 2024 to complete, with its second stage also including space for shops, restaurants and bars.
Hungate (York) Regeneration Ltd spokesman Richard Cook said: “The development will bring much-needed homes of a high level of sustainability and quality to this historic site within the city walls.
“We believe the central location in York and proximity to key transport links, shops and restaurants will also be appealing to prospective buyers."
The developers warned in 2012 that it might be impossible for them to restart work on the Hungate site unless a new deal was agreed with the council over afforable housing and payments towards community facilities, but submitted a planning qpplication for the second phase of work last year. It will include one, two and three-bedroom flats around a central courtyard.
Council leader James Alexander said tonight: "This homes boost is great news and shows the market has confidence in York - it is further evidence that York is somewhere developers can do business."
He said the council had asked for 30 per cent of the Strensall homes to be affordable and for 16 per cent affordable housing on the Hungate brownfield site and that this showed a "flexible approach" by the authority.