MORE than 200 residents from Elvington and Wheldrake packed into a public meeting to discuss radical new housing and travellers site proposals for their villages.

The meeting, in Elvington village hall, was organised by York Outer MP Julian Sturdy to give residents a chance to discuss the proposals for their villages in the council's latest local plan documents.

A consultation is due to start in the next few weeks about the "further sites" which have been added to the proposals.

They includes three areas of "safeguarded" land around Elvington and Wheldrake which could be ear marked for development in the future, as well as the controversial Whinthorpe township developments, more potentially safeguarded land next to the Whinthorpe site, and sites for gypsies, travellers and travelling showpeople.

Mr Sturdy said: "Let us be under no illusions, the villages of Elvington and Wheldrake and the surrounding areas are facing completely unsustainable and inappropriate development of a scale virtually unseen anywhere else in the ‘Local Plan Further Sites’ document.

"Understandably, the primary focus of the meeting was the completely unsuitable allocation of greenbelt land for Travellers’ pitches in the village."

An action group is now being set up to fight the "unsustainable" plans, he added.

Cllr George Barton, Conservative councillor for Wheldrake, was also at the meeting, and said the scale of proposals for Elvington and Wheldrake threatened to engulf the villages into "urban sprawl"

Cllr Barton said villagers understood the need for smaller housing developments in villages like Elvington and Wheldrake, but would not accept the large scale development proposed at these sites.

City of York Council's city and environmental director Darren Stephenson said the targeted consultation due to start next month, and a city wide consultation later in the year, would give residents chance to have their say on the proposals.

Cllr Dave Merrett, cabinet member for planning, said: "Legally, we have got to consult on sites that are submitted against our evidence base. Clearly we will listen to the representations made on these sites, as we did in the earlier consultation."