COUNCIL officials have come under fire for allowing weekend working to take place at York’s Derwenthorpe development.

Osbaldwick councillor Mark Warters claims the decision breaches conditions, laid down when planning permission was granted for the 540-home scheme, which prohibited work after 1pm on Saturday and at any time on Sunday.

He said such conditions were meant to protect the amenity of existing residents but they had been disregarded in a “cavalier” manner, without consultation with the parish council, surrounding residents or himself.

“The conditions were approved by planning committee in 2005 and further ratified by the Secretary of State’s planning permission of May 9, 2007,” Coun Warters said in an email to City of York Council’s planning department. “Officers should not have the delegated power to remove such conditions.”

He dismissed any assertion that only internal work was taking place.

“The arrival and departure of contractors, vans and cars will cause additional and unacceptable disruption to surrounding, existing residents all weekend,” he said.

He also had concerns that a precedent was being set for other planning applications, and said any such application in future should be referred back to councillors.

Planning consultant Jennifer Hubbard, writing to the council on behalf of builders David Wilson Homes, said all work would be internal and any plant movement would be carried out within permitted operating hours.

She said there was a “considerable imperative” to complete phase one of the development by Christmas, not only for David Wilson Homes but also the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust, the organisation behind Derwenthorpe, in relation to public funding.

Existing Derwenthorpe residents had been consulted and none had objected – indeed some had strongly supported it because they looked forward to construction being completed as soon as possible.

Mike Slater, the council’s assistant director for city development and sustainability, said there was not a permanent relaxation or removal of the condition.

“It is a temporary measure and relates to internal works only,” he said.

“Any permanent changes would require a new planning application to submitted by the developer.”