A BLUEPRINT for the future of York's Nestle site was published today - promising new jobs, affordable housing for families and protection from demolition for historic Rowntree buildings.

City of York Council said it wanted to create a new live-work community and cultural hub on the southern part of the factory site, which Nestle wants to sell off as part of a major restructuring of its confectionery operation.

A newly-published draft development brief called for high-quality urban design, sustainable buildings, public spaces and attractive pedestrian and cycle routes across the site.

It said the Quaker Rowntree family's "creativity and conscience" should provide inspiration for the site's future, with the most significant buildings along the Haxby Road frontage retained, possibly as part of a new conservation area.

"The buildings are a reminder of people, events and processes. They were designed to take advantage of sunlight, outlook, fresh air and natural ventilation," it said.

The document, the aim of which is to provide clear guidance on how the site should be developed, will go out to a major eight-week public consultation period if approved by the planning committee at a meeting next week.

If accepted by the planning committee, it will then be adopted as non-statutory Draft Supplementary Planning Guidance, and used to guide subsequent development proposals.

Its publication comes four months after Nestle announced it intended axing 645 jobs, transferring production of iconic brands such as Smarties abroad, selling off 40 per cent of its site for redevelopment and using the proceeds to help pay for a £20 million investment in the remaining part of the factory at its northern end.

The land earmarked for redevelopment covers an area of 7.9 hectares, or 19.5 acres.

The brief specifies that any future development of the site should help to meet current and future demand for employment uses that are central to the long-term success of York's economy.

There will also be opportunities to provide housing for families and single households, including those living locally who are currently in unsuitable accommodation and who cannot afford to buy or rent on the open market.

Although there are no listed buildings on the site, the brief suggests any future redevelopment should respect the character and setting of the site.

It says development should respect the important views of the main office building and entrance off Haxby Road.

The area along Haxby Road, including the Nuffield Hospital and Rowntree Theatre, will be considered for conservation areas status.

The planning committee will consider the draft brief at a meeting in Guildhall on Wednesday, at 5pm.

If councillors agree to the proposals, local residents will be asked for their views on the proposals throughout February and March.

GERRAN GRIMSHAW asked people for their views on the Nestle site

Mike Hawkins, 23, of Fulford Road, York, said: "It's not important to me what they do with the site - just as long as their main priority is to save jobs and keep people working."

Denis Goddard, 82, of Acomb, York, said: "I don't like the fact that the money isn't there to keep the whole factory open in York. But I appreciate that entrepreneurs want a return for the cash they risk."

Row over link road

PLANNERS want to create a new link road through the Nestle factory site - but it will not benefit motorists stuck in queues at a nearby bottleneck.

The draft brief reveals that the road, which will provide a short-cut between Wigginton Road and Haxby Road, will be for buses, cyclists and pedestrians only.

Private motorists wanting to get from areas such as Clifton to other parts of the city, such as Huntington, will still have to travel all the way down Wigginton Road to its junction with Haxby Road, and then travel back along Haxby Road.

Traffic wanting to negotiate this route regularly becomes stuck in jams which often stretch back past York Hospital towards the Nestle factory.

A leading driver campaign group today criticised the decision not to let motorists use the link road, but City of York Council defended the proposal.

Neil Greg, assistant director of the IAM Motoring Trust, said: "Particularly in a city like York, where road-building is fairly infrequent these days, if you are providing new capacity, you should be using it to maximum possible potential.

"Therefore, you should allow cars to use it as well as buses and cyclists, to use the best of your investment.

"I think most people in York understand it has a very good reputation for protecting its centre, and very good Park&Ride systems. But if you provide a new road and it's not in use all the time, you are not getting the best possible return.

"There is nothing more frustrating to drivers than to see roads lying empty most of the day. It would not necessarily generate more traffic; it would make traffic more efficient."

But a council spokeswoman said: "Creating additional roads for car use can actually generate more traffic, not reduce it.

"Research shows that traffic volumes increase over a wide area, not just in the proximity to the new road, resulting in problems for residents living in those roads as well as generally making travelling more difficult for everyone.

"The draft development brief suggests provision for pedestrian, cycle and bus routes across the site.

"However, the brief is in draft form at present and can be amended, depending on comments from councillors and members of the public."

The document said Wigginton Road and Haxby Road were often busy at present.

It said: "Both routes carry significant volumes of traffic, particularly during the twice-daily peak hours of 8am to 9am and 5pm to 6pm.

"The physical design of both routes is restricted and towards the city centre, they regularly operate at capacity.

"Queuing at and on the approaches to inter- connecting junctions is commonplace."

The draft brief also proposes a series of other access alterations, including revamping the roundabout at the junction of Haxby Road and Haley's Terrace, and introducing some form of management - probably traffic lights - in Wigginton Road.

Green light for state-of-the-art Aero equipment

PLANNERS are set to give the green light to a multi-million pound new Aero plant at the Nestle Rowntree factory.

The company last month delivered a vote of confidence in the future of the chocolate bar's production in York by submitting an application for a new 4,400 square metre Aero plant.

The company said it also intended installing new Aero bar moulding equipment to replace older, less efficient machinery.

"If approved, the new building is on course for completion in August, 2007," said a Nestle spokeswoman.

"Production in the new plant is scheduled to commence in summer 2008."

Now a report to next week's planning committee meeting is recommending councillors approve the proposal.

The report, by development control officer Howard Smith, said the "utilitarian" design reflected that of recent buildings within the factory complex and would not cause undue harm to the area's visual amenity.

He said that the proposal involved a 100 metre-long extension on the western side of the KitKat5 building, creating an extra 3,317 square metres. Two existing brick buildings had been identified for demolition.

He said the scheme would not generate any extra staffing or traffic, and would not bring manufacturing any closer to residential properties.

Managing director Paul Grimwood said when the development was announced last month that Aero was going from strength-to-strength. "It was the fastest growing top 20 confectionery brand in 2005 and Aero Bubbles was the most successful confectionery launch of the year," he said.

"This investment in new production facilities will allow us to build the long-term manufacturing future of Aero in the UK."

Nestle said the new Aero plant was part of the proposed £20 million investment in the modern, northern end of the factory, to improve the competitiveness of the Nestle Rowntree confectionery business, establish the York factory as a state-of-the-art manufacturing site and help safeguard long-term employment for more than 1,800 employees. It would be paid for largely through the sale of the older southern end for redevelopment.

A Nestle spokeswoman said: "We welcome this recommendation to approve our plans to expand our state-of-the-art facilities and build a new home for Aero production."


MODERN industry and craft studios could be accommodated on part of Nestle South', as city chiefs seek to expand Science City York.

The draft brief states: "Innovative live/work units, opportunities for the creative and technology based industries, including uses which complement York's aspirations to develop Science City, will be encouraged."

The document also suggests Nestle could provide opportunities for staff to create their own businesses.

It said consideration would be given to:

  • Small/medium enterprises in the food and drink sector
  • Technology/modern economy uses
  • Creative workshops
  • Quality studio space
  • Artisan/ manufacturing uses


A SIGNIFICANT part of the site could be suitable for residential use, including affordable housing according to the draft brief.

Existing buildings could be converted, and new buildings put up to create housing.

The document adds: "Housing design and layout should be sympathetic to, and inspired by, existing site characteristics, include strong green landscape components, and follow the principles of sustainable design and construction."

The brief says live/work units, with dedicated workspace for office, studio or workshop use should be accommodated.

Any residential element must include an appropriate mix of house types and sizes, in accordance with existing council policy.


THE historic Rowntree buildings should be retained, and a conservation area could be created around part of the site. Referring to the oldest parts of the site, the draft brief states: "The Quaker family expressed their creativity and conscience on this site, and their achievements should provide inspiration."

The document said buildings and spaces either side of Haxby Road, around Nuffield Hospital, were worthy of conservation area status.

It said: "The west side of the road... contains a well-known landmark building."


THE plans involve major changes to transport in the area around Haxby Road and Wigginton Road. The draft brief proposes a new link road for public transport, pedestrians and cyclists; a revamp of the roundabout between Haxby Road and Haley's Terrace; and new traffic management system in Wigginton Road. The plan also proposes a new walking/ cycling spine' running from east to west.

The report said providing new links should allow the Nestle South' site to "become a natural extension of the wider environment". It also said: "Changes to the internal site layout are likely to necessitate alteration to the existing highway."


PLANS for the Nestle South' site should aim to replace the jobs axed by the confectionery giant last year, the draft brief says.

It said: "625 jobs across a variety of skills have been lost from the 2,445 working on the site, and any new proposals should aim to replace these with new employment opportunities.

"A mixed-use development, which, in employment terms, aims to replace what is currently being lost and seeks to redress this with new employment uses, would be acceptable."

Aero plant

A multi-million pound new Aero plant is set to be approved on the Nestle site by planners.

York councillors are being urged to approve an application for the new 4,400 square metre extension to the KitKat5 building. A report to the planning committee says the proposal involves creating an extra 3,317 square metres.

The proposal is also set to involve installing new Aero bar moulding equipment.

Nestle has said, if approved, the new building will be on course for completion by August, with production inside scheduled to start in summer 2008.