A £12.4 MILLION housing development next to a York common could be given the go-ahead today, despite intense local opposition.
The plans by Linden Homes North for 102 homes on grassland at Brecks Lane, in Strensall, have been recommended for approval when City of York Council’s planning committee meets, but 122 residents, one of the city’s MPs, a parish council and the area’s city councillor say it should be rejected.
They claim applying to build on a green belt site is “premature” because York’s Local Plan development blueprint is still in its early stages and has not been approved by the Government, and brownfield sites should be developed first.
Opponents also say the scheme is too large. They claim Strensall’s roads, schools and local services will not be able to cope, the land is prone to flooding and the area has seen too much development in the last 40 years.
The site is 500 yards away from Strensall Common, which is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Conservation Area. Yorkshire Wildlife Trust said the development could put “extra pressure” on the common and those living there should be reminded of its importance.
The trust also says while Linden Homes North should pay for more wardens, dog-mess bins and education events. Natural England has not raised any conservation concerns.
In a report, council planner Diane Cragg said that as the site was within York’s currently unofficial green belt, “very special circumstances” would be needed for it to be built on. She said this requirement was met by York’s need for housing land and affordable homes.
In addition, the site had been earmarked for potential development in the past, and developing it would not conflict with national planning policy on protecting the countryside from “encroachment”.
Linden Homes North has said the scheme would make “a significant contribution” to meeting housing demand in York, boost the local economy by about £2 million a year, create 80 jobs a year during construction and provide public open space, and “the harm arising from the development is small”. If permission is granted, work would start soon and be finished by mid-2017.
Among the objectors are York Outer MP Julian Sturdy and Strensall councillor Paul Doughty, while Strensall with Towthorpe Parish Council said Strensall was “a village not a town” and lacked “many basic facilities and infrastructure to support the current number of residents”.