A MAJOR council document, planning house building and employment land in York for the next 15 years, will open for public consultation in the next step of its progression towards becoming official policy.

Residents will have a chance to put forward their views on specific sites in the Local Plan now that City of York council’s cabinet has approved a draft to be opened up for consultation.

The council now plans to publish consultation documents for the plan within a few months and submit the plan to an planning inspector for final approval in the autumn, after further consultation.

Until the final local plan is approved York council’s own planning policies would carry very little weight if a developer challenged a planning decision at a public inquiry.

But opposition councillors have objected, with the leader of the Conservative group Cllr Chris Stewart saying his party does not accept the level of development planned for York.

The draft also includes controversial suggestions to find around 60 new traveller pitches in the city by compelling housing developers to include traveller sites on their larger developments, or paying for pitches to be built elsewhere.