YORK’S Labour MP has urged the Government to listen to “local expertise” when it assesses the Local Plan due to be submitted this month.

City councillors have their final vote on whether to finalise the development plan for the coming decades on Thursday. If that goes ahead, the plan will then be assessed by a government planning inspector before it becomes formal planning policy.

Leading councillors have backed the plan, saying it delivers “more than enough” homes to meet housing need in York, but this week Rachael Maskell, Labour MP for York Central, spoke in the Commons to say the city council’s scheme is 268 homes short of the number set by the Government’s own framework.

She raised concerns about the high number of student blocks, town houses and luxury flats built in recent years, relative to the low number of affordable homes and social housing.

The MP told housing minister James Brokenshire: “York is not an affordable city by any stretch of the imagination, and we are seeing an escalation of the crisis.

“That is why I need the minister to focus on the local plan, which will be landing on his desk any day now. He also needs to look at the wider context of the local plan, including transport. Our city is suffocating under the air pollution caused by gridlock, yet high-density housing is being built in the heart of the city. Yes, we want to see the development of brownfield sites, but it will just add to the traffic crisis.”

Ms Maskell called on the minister to make sure the government listens to local expertise and makes sure that local people are involved in the next stage of the Local Plan process.