YORK’S massive Germany Beck housing scheme has started without full planning permission, council bosses say.

The Press reported recently that Persimmon Homes had finally started building 650 homes on the Germany Beck site at Fulford after lengthy wranglings.

But City of York Council has confirmed it is currently considering a ‘non-material’ planning amendment from Persimmon.

Planning assistant director Michael Slater said it did not seek to change the number of houses or significantly change the development’s overall layout in the context of a previously approved scheme. “We will consider the planning application in due course and inform the relevant parties of the decision,” he added.

But Fulford Parish Council has claimed it was ‘inconceivable’ the local planning authority (LPA) could rationally conclude the amendments were ‘non-material’, saying:”The parish council remains of the view that it would be irrational to consider the extensive changes to be non-material and that the LPA should not approve the application in these circumstances...If it should be approved, a legal opinion will be immediately sought.”

It added there were changes to a boundary and plot curtilages, a footpath adjacent to a plot had disappeared and an additional house had been added in phase 1 and such changes cannot be considered non-material.

Persimmon said in its application that when reserved matters approval was granted in 2013, it was a joint venture between Persimmon Homes and Hogg the Builder and the scheme was designed accordingly, but Hogg were no longer involved.

A spokesman said Hogg homes had been substituted with Persimmon properties very closely matched in size, location and design, and the company’s clear view was the changes were not material and works complied with existing permission.

“In any event, the homes currently under construction at the development sit on the same footprint as the approved homes, subject to minor dimension amendments,” he said.

“No elevations have yet been constructed.”

He said the parish’s view that this represented a material change was ‘noted’, but the non-material amendment application had been submitted on York council advice.