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Hope of cash to help kick-start troubled projects
YORK could be in line for a multi-million pound windfall that would kick-start some of the city’s biggest stalled developments.
All three schemes have been plagued by delays, caused partly by high infrastructure costs, but also by the national economic crisis.
City of York Council has submitted an application to the Government’s Critical Infrastructure Investment fund, hoping to obtain money to pay for infrastructure works at the sites.
Darren Richardson, the council’s director of city and environmental services, said the council hoped to hear back from the Government by the end of March. He said: “The funding, if awarded, would be prioritised against whichever current site would benefit most from it.”
The bid was discussed earlier this week when council leader James Alexander and officials travelled to Whitehall to meet Local Government Minister Nick Boles.
A council spokesperson said the funding could help to reduce flooding risks on a low-lying stretch of the A19 at Fulford, which has been closed three times in the past four months by flooding from the River Ouse and Germany Beck, causing diversions, delays and disruption.
The A19 is set to be raised above flooding levels as part of Persimmon’s plans to build an access road into the Germany Beck site, where it wants to build 720 homes.
However, Verna Campbell, of Fulford Parish Council, has claimed previously that the benefits of an end to flooding on the A19 would be outweighed by weeks of chaos while the road is raised, followed by the daily extra congestion caused by cars from 700 extra houses using the route.
Fulford Councillor Keith Aspden said residents feared the development would make flooding even worse, and he has called for an urgent meeting between local residents, the council’s flood risk team, community planners and the Environment Agency, which he says is likely to be held in February.
A Nestlé spokesman said that the Cocoa Works – the former factory site at the southern end of its York complex which has outline planning permission for a mix of residential and commercial development – has not yet been sold and continues to be marketed.
Andrew Bowes, managing director at Persimmon Homes Yorkshire said: “Persimmon Homes remain fully committed to the development of the Germany Beck site and have not sought any additional funding to assist in bringing the development forward.”
A council spokeswoman said the authority was working with Network Rail on masterplanning the stalled redevelopment of the York Central site on a teardrop of land behind York Railway Station, and exploring avenues of investment, including the latest bid.