• City leaders announce plans for 22,000 new homes in York
  • Two new villages in plans: one to the north; one to the south
  • 62 new sites listed in plans
  • Controversial backlash
  • Green Belt to be created, but 2% of it will be built on

PLANS to build almost 22,000 new homes in York over the next 15 years have been unveiled by city leaders.

City of York Council has today confirmed its preferred options for its draft Local Plan, which maps out how the city will be developed between 2015 and 2030.

The authority has outlined plans to build 1,090 new houses each year, with more than 640 hectares of land being developed at 62 sites, including some on Green Belt land.

Five existing built-up areas would be extended and a 5,580-home new village would be created on a site called Holme Hill, south of Heslington between the A64 and Elvington, under plans which are likely to spark controversy.

If approved by the council’s cabinet at the end of this month, a six-week public consultation will be held. The council intends to have the Local Plan in place by the start of 2015. It replaces the previous Local Development Framework, which was scrapped last year after a Government planning inspector raised concerns.

The plan also includes 4,020 homes on land to the north of Clifton Moor, which was once earmarked for an "eco-town" development, 1,800 homes to the east of Metcalfe Lane - next to the existing Derwenthorpe estate - and 1,569 homes at Monks Cross.

Developments containing hundreds of homes are also planned on land at Moor Lane in Woodthorpe, to the north of Haxby, at New Lane in Huntington and at Manor Heath Road and Moor Lane in Copmanthorpe.

Four new railway stations or halts are intended to be built at Haxby, Strensall, the York Central "teardrop" site and York Business Park, with the council saying upgrades to the Outer Ring Road - including junction improvements and potentially dualling part of the route in the long-term - a bus interchange on Queen Street, near York Station, and expanded Park&Ride facilities, ultimately including a new site at Clifton Moor, would help deal with transport issues.

Several new schools would also be needed to cater for the larger housing developments, although how many would be built will not emerge until firm planning proposals for these sites emerge.

The council said economic projections for York suggested 16,000 new jobs could be created in the city by 2030 through employment sites identified through the Local Plan and new homes were needed to cope with this demand, as well as to tackle the city's existing housing shortage. Over the 15-year period, York's population is expected to grow by 40,000.

The plan will also designate York's Green Belt for the first time, which the authority said would prevent "uncontrolled development". Meanwhile, 345 hectares of Green Belt land would be classed as "safeguarded", allowing it to be developed for employment use after 2030.

"We want to see more homes being built, but it is important that this is done in a considered and careful way so as to protect the character of our unique city," said council leader Coun James Alexander.

"Only with a proper Local Plan will areas which have been considered to be Green Belt actually be defined and protected. The Local Plan protects the beautiful views of the city at points of entry and from the Outer Ring Road, and it will protect York's sense of place and our heritage."

Coun Alexander said a "considerable" amount of the 1,090 new homes intended to be built each year would be affordable housing. He said: "Understandably, some people will say we should use brownfield sites rather than greenfield sites.

"But York's total brownfield sites cannot accommodate York's current homes, let alone future need. To use brownfield sites instead is misleading and would mean worsening the housing shortage, ever higher house prices and rents and intensification of the homes crisis we face today."

Coun Dave Merrett, cabinet member for transport, planning and sustainability, said the potential housing sites had been suggested to the council by the landowners and no Compulsory Purchase Orders would be required.

If the authority's cabinet agree to send the options out for consultation, there will be an eight-week period where views can be aired. Officials will then prepare the final Local Plan, to be submitted to the Government between July and next January.

After this, the final plan will be made available for public scrutiny at the start of next year and submit their views between next February and March. It will be examined by Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles between June and December next year, with a view to it being adopted by 2015.

Transport improvements and new schools in plan

AS well as 22,000 new homes between 2015 and 2030, York’s draft Local Plan options include:

• Between 2013 and 2019, the second phase of the James Street link road and a railway station to be built at Haxby. Improvements to the Haxby Road, Great North Way, Clifton Moor Gate and Strensall Road junctions on the Outer Ring Road

• Between 2015 and 2024, improvements to the Wigginton Road, Monks Cross and Wetherby Road junctions on the Outer Ring Road

• Between 2019 and 2024, a new Park&Ride site to be built at Clifton Moor

• Between 2024 and 2030, new railway stations or halts at Strensall, York Central and either the White Rose Business Park or the British Sugar/Manor School site, expanded Park&Ride facilities, new pedestrian and cycle bridges across the River Ouse and Foss, and the possible introduction of tram-trains

• Eight sites to be safeguarded for potential development after 2030 – land at Holme Hill, north of Clifton Moor, Northminster Business Park, south of Strensall, north of Haxby, west of Copmanthorpe, south of Elvington’s Airfield Business Park and next to York Designer Outlet

• New schools where needed to cater for housing developments, and land available for expansion of universities and colleges.