YORK Planning Committee’s decision to build 102 houses in Strensall was an appalling, politically motivated decision.

The parish council and local residents made valid objections on drainage, highways, infrastructure provision and, most tellingly, that the Local Plan has not yet been finalized, so the site is still in the green belt – as the planning officer acknowledged. Lib Dem, Conservative and Green councillors spoke in support of objectors, yet Labour councillors voted unanimously to ignore everything said.

Their justification for “special circumstances” to allow a green-belt site to be developed was that York does not have a five-year supply of building land, so this permits the local plan to be pre-empted for “sustainable” development, which this site isn’t anyway.

There are already enough planning consents on brownfield sites to last five years and these should be developed before any greenbelt land is sacrificed. Since the same test also applies to almost every other greenbelt site, Labour has rendered the local plan no more than a charade to make residents think they have been consulted.

Tony Fisher, West End, Strensall, York.


• I WELCOME MP Julian Sturdy’s call for a national debate about planning policy relating to new housing on areas liable to flooding (The Press, February 22). This was exactly the point I made when proposing that the planning committee defer the application for 102 houses on greenbelt land at Brecks Lane, Strensall.

Despite widespread local opposition, development was approved on a currently waterlogged site. The officer report advised that Yorkshire Water said the sewers should connect to existing sewers but “from the information supplied it is not possible to tell if the whole scheme will drain by gravity to the network”.

However, another condition requires that the development should not be raised above adjacent land to prevent runoff affecting existing housing. Conditions also require council approval of the detailed drainage scheme, but no doubt the developer will want to avoid additional costs of non-return valves and/or a pumping station. Neither applicant nor council planner could answer whether recent floods equated to “one in 30” or “one in 100” year storms referenced in the planning conditions.

We need a moratorium on any new housing on water-vulnerable locations pending expert analysis of the unprecedented 2014 floods.

Coun Andy D’Agorne, Green Party, Broadway West, York.


• LEAVING the City of York Council planning committee on February 20, I was dismayed and livid with the decision to allow 102 homes to be built on greenbelt land off Brecks Lane outside the village perimeter in Strensall.

The vote was nine to seven in favour. There are, coincidentally, nine Labour members on the planning committee. These councillors have paid little or no regard to the impact this development will have on the village, drainage issues locally, the distance from village amenities and the surrounding road infrastructure.

Not to mention the local primary school. This is at capacity, with no guarantee that children from the new builds can be accommodated. Some might say political dogma has been given precedence over children’s education and common sense.

With this decision, villagers, the parish council, Julian Sturdy MP and myself have all been ignored. The weak and tenuous reasons given for “very special circumstances” will have wide ranging implications and the Labour authority will treat this test case as carte blanche they desperately seek to concrete over the greenbelt, to hell with what residents think.

Coun Paul Doughty, Conservative, Strensall ward, West End, Strensall.