A YORK MP has said the initial vision for the Whinthorpe development has not eased his concerns over the scheme, describing it as a “council land grab”.

Julian Sturdy, whose York Outer constituency includes the site, has criticised the Local Plan over the amount of new housing which could be built on green belt land, although City of York Council has said brownfield sites will not be enough to cater for the city’s anticipated population growth or make homes more affordable.

“Having met with representatives from Halifax Estates, I am quite sure they have the best intentions for the development,” said Mr Sturdy.

“Sadly, once the land is taken out of the established green belt, I do not believe Halifax Estates will have much input over the sort of community Whinthorpe will become, its sustainability and its impact on neighbouring communities. In my eyes, it remains an unsustainable land grab from the council.”

Heslington councillor David Levene said it was absolutely essential for enough housing land to be allocated under the Local Plan if it is to be adopted and York’s currently unofficial green belt is to be “defined and protected”.

However, he said: “I do have some serious concerns about the Whinthorpe development, especially in relation to its scale, traffic, flood management and the Tillmire, a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

‘‘I have made this clear as part of the recent [Local Plan] consultation and I look forward to seeing how these issues are addressed by council officers and Halifax Estates as part of the next stage in the process.”