CAR-FREE streets, four schools and up to 2,200 new jobs have been revealed as part of the vision for a 5,580-home new village on the edge of York.

The chief landowners for a site west of the A64, between Heslington and Wheldrake, earmarked for the huge Whinthorpe development under City of York Council’s draft Local Plan, unveiled the master plan for the project following fears about its size and impact on nearby communities.

Halifax Estates has vowed it will not be “just another housing estate”, and almost half the site will not be built on. The company said Whinthorpe could boost York’s economy by £37 million a year.

The idea for pedestrian-friendly “walkable neighbourhoods” has been inspired by the experimental new town of Poundbury, in Dorset, on land owned by the Prince of Wales’ Duchy of Cornwall estate.

In a representation to the council through its consultation on the Local Plan – a development blueprint for York which targets building 22,000 new homes, many on green belt land – Halifax Estates said the Whinthorpe vision included:

• 4,680 homes being built between 2015 and 2030, the lifespan of the Local Plan, with the rest built afterwards

• Up to 30 per cent affordable housing

• Potentially three primary schools and one secondary school

• “Local centres” with shops and other facilities

• Cycle routes to the city centre and the University of York, with talks being held with the Highways Agency about a new A64 junction.

• 54 per cent of the site being developed, leaving the rest as open space.

Since the Whinthorpe site was identified as a possible housing site, local residents have claimed existing schools and roads would be unable to cope with the development, which would have a larger population than Easingwold, Stamford Bridge or Helmsley, and it could cause flooding problems and damage the Tillmire, a nationally important nature conservation area.

In June, Heslington Parish Council branded the new village idea totally unacceptable.

Halifax Estates said Whinthorpe was intended to be “a forerunner in flood-risk management” and a landscaped buffer zone would protect the Tillmire.

It said the development would not be a dormitory town or send cars along Heslington’s Main Street.

A full planning application would only be submitted if the Local Plan is adopted and includes Whinthorpe, and Halifax Estates spokesman James Irwin said full public consultation would be carried out first.

He said: “Although this is still early days, I am excited our vision for Whinthorpe has begun to take shape. Our submission shows Whinthorpe is deliverable and, as importantly, that we are confident it can become a beautiful place to live.

‘‘We believe the key to developing a real place with a real community is for Whinthorpe to provide shops, services, facilities, opportunities for employment and education, and a large amount of open space.

‘‘The council’s housing targets are ambitious, but we are broadly supportive that Whinthorpe can deliver the 4,680 homes required during the Local Plan period.”

Mr Irwin said Halifax Estates had already done some feasibility work as it started to “define our vision” for Whinthorpe and said the submission was a positive first step.

How the development could look

A street in Poundbury, Dorset

THE pioneering Dorset new town of Poundbury, expected to be completed by 2025, is one of the developments used to create the first master plan for how Whinthorpe may be designed, thanks to its pedestrian-first approach.

An “urban extension” of neighbouring Dorchester, it will ultimately have between 5,000 and 6,000 residents and is being built in four phases, in line with the planning principles of the Prince of Wales, whose Duchy of Cornwall estate owns the land where it stands.

The Prince is a close friend of the Earl of Halifax and has stayed at his Garrowby Hall home during visits to Yorkshire.

Halifax Estates manages the Earl and Countess of Halifax’s land, covering more than 20,000 acres across five Yorkshire estates, with the 2,300-acre Heslington estate – bought from Lord Deramore in 1964 – including the University of York’s Heslington East campus and Fulford Golf Club.

A spokeswoman for Halifax Estates said: “In developing our vision for Whinthorpe, we have reviewed a number of precedents and tried to take the positives from each.

“We like Poundbury for delivering streets where the pedestrian is king and for creating a ‘place’ rather than just a housing estate.”

Poundbury’s planners have said its intention is for it to be designed around people rather than vehicles, with no car zones and an “integrated community” of private and social housing, shops and businesses.

Still concerns over impact of Whinthorpe development, says MP>>