YORK’S council leader has backed Government plans which would smooth the path of major developments by cutting the time and opportunity for legal challenges.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said disputes over large-scale projects will be fast-tracked through a new planning court, with specialist judges working to fixed time limits.

York has seen a number of prolonged attempts to block two of its biggest schemes in recent years, the 655-home Germany Beck development and the Derwenthorpe project.

James Alexander, leader of City of York Council, said: “Due process should be followed and people should have the right to appeal, but legal challenges one after the other must end.”

“I would like to see the debate move from some people being against the development of homes at any cost to working in partnership with councillors and developers to ensure new homes meet the needs of local communities.”