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'Council should not rule out complete core strategy re-think'
YORK’S major long-term vision for 16,000 new homes may have to be scrapped and started again if “serious concerns” are not addressed, a Government inspector has warned.
City of York Council bosses were told yesterday by David Vickery of the Planning Inspectorate, that it should not rule out having to completely re-think its core strategy – a blueprint legally required by all local authorities on how and where it will provide new homes.
Mr Vickery’s warning came at the opening of an “exploratory meeting” at which the council was asked to suggest what action it would take to address various concerns raised by the inspectorate.
He said: “The council must gauge if what it’s going to end up with is something completely different from what it started out with. We are going to have to go step by step and see what the outcome is.”
The Press revealed last month how the council was told its strategy had several shortcomings, giving cause for “significant concerns.”
Among the issues raised was a lack of specified locations for the proposed 16,000 homes, a failure to identify where and how the new community stadium and swimming pool would be provided and the question of whether some developments would be viable after additional costs were included such as roads, affordable housing and green infrastructures.
The council was also warned about the difficulty of locating information within its sustainability appraisal section of the plan.
Mr Vickery said he and local people should not have to go on a “paper chase” to find out why the council had rejected various alternative options and settled for the one included in the strategy.
“I want it all in one place,” he said. “Legally it should be in one place. You have to do the work – it’s the law of the land – so do it.”
As part of an initial and in-depth response drawn up to Mr Vickery’s concerns, the council said it was satisfied its process had considered all the alternatives for its appraisal.
Mr Vickery said he had not yet reached a conclusion that the whole strategy was unsound but that yesterday’s meeting was part of the process of reaching a conclusion to the issue.