CONTROVERSIAL plans for two travellers' sites in York are set to be abandoned, while potential new sites for housing schemes have been revealed.

City of York Council’s Local Plan has outlined the prospect of 22,000 new homes being built across the city, many on green belt land, with an original list of possible sites being published last year. The authority is now about to launch a second consultation on other sites which may be included for housing and other uses.

A report which will go before the council’s Local Plan Working Group and the Labour cabinet on April 23 has also seen officers recommend dropping plans for travellers' sites in Dunnington and on Malton Road, both of which have sparked local opposition, and new housing sites have been named.

Potential new housing sites are:

  • Morrell House elderly people’s home in Clifton
  • The Old School playing field in New Earswick
  • To the north of Escrick
  • Off Stockton Lane on land opposite Ashley Park and Galtres Avenue
  • Connaught Court in Fulford
  • The Old Vinery in Cinder Lane in Poppleton
  • Haxby Hall elderly people’s home
  • Off Boroughbridge Road near the Outer Ring Road roundabout

It said the proposed Dunnington site, on land off Common Road, is mainly in a flood zone and would be unsuitable for the scheme. It also said creating a travellers' site on the section of the land which is not prone to flooding would have “a significant adverse effect on the village’s character and setting” and would “encroach” on the surrounding countryside.

The site on Malton Road is also set to be dropped because the land would be too expensive.

Officials have also said the existing Osbaldwick site should not be expanded beyond the six extra pitches already planned, although three pitches for travelling showpeople could be created at a site called The Stables, in Elvington, and seven more pitches for travellers may be set up at a separate site on Elvington Lane.

The report said York is likely to need 66 more pitches for travellers over the 15-year lifespan of the Local Plan, which runs up to 2030, and the current proposals would leave a shortfall of 59, as well as a need to find five more plots for showpeople. It said “further site or policy options” will have to be looked at.

The Local Plan is expected to be in place by the start of next year and the council said it would formalise York’s green belt for the first time, but the amount of housing already proposed for greenfield sites has been heavily criticised since the proposals first emerged a year ago.

Any blueprint will have to be deemed “sound” by the Government, with the council saying the alternative is for planning decisions to be taken out of York’s hands.

Sites for possible “employment use”, such as business parks, have been identified to the south of York Designer Outlet, in Elvington and near Poppleton Garden Centre, while land at Knapton Moor and near Towthorpe and Stockton Commons has been listed as having the potential for “renewable energy” schemes. However, these would be solar energy projects, not wind farms, which have been proposed at other sites around the edge of York.

More land next to the University of York’s Heslington East campus could be set aside for any future expansion, as well as for use by Science City York.

Land near the Outer Ring Road’s Wigginton Road roundabout and a site near the Designer Outlet may be considered for new Park&Ride sites, with a site near Askham Bryan being looked at as the location for a freight transhipment centre which would prevent lorries having to enter the city.

The authority said the first Local Plan consultation drew more than 14,000 responses, the most ever seen in York. Coun Dave Merrett, cabinet member for transport, planning and sustainability, said: “It’s important to test the new sites which came forward during the consultation, as well as previously-rejected sites with the new evidence, to enable these to be given equal and fair consideration.

“Public consultation is an important part of the Local Plan process and members of the public must have the opportunity to have their say on any significant changes to sites which have emerged.”

If approved by the working group and then the cabinet, a six-week consultation would begin as soon as possible.

>> Read the council report here.  Documents are also available to view at the council’s West Offices HQ and libraries.

A “final preferred options” draft Local Plan will also be consulted upon later this year before going to the Government for examination.

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