COUNCILLORS have backed proposed changes to a 650-home development in York - but a parish council is to seek a barrister's advice on whether it can challenge the decision in the High Court.

City of York Council's planning committee voted 12-3 tonight to approve an application by Persimmon Homes for a ‘non-material amendment’ to original plans for the Germany Beck site at Fulford.

A majority of councillors agreed with officers that the proposed alterations to properties were not material, with Tory Cllr John Galvin saying to think otherwise would be 'ridiculous.'

But Independents Mark Warters and David Carr warned that to accept this would set a 'dangerous precedent' for further phases of the scheme and other developments elsewhere.

Cllr Carr also claimed Persimmon had been 'aloof' in its dealings with local residents, while other councillors, including committee chair Ann Reid, suggested the company could have done more to keep villagers informed and consulted on the matter.

Robin McGinn, representing Persimmon, said there had already been four judicial review applications in relation to the Germany Beck scheme - two from the parish - and suggested they had cost the taxpayers money.

Mary Urmston, of Fulford Parish Council, claimed about 50 per cent of the house-types would be altered and important footpath links would be lost under the proposals.

She said afterwards that the parish had already agreed to seek counsel's advice on its prospects in seeking a judicial review at the High Court, in the event of such a decision by the committee.

She said a solicitor had already said that in their view, it would be unlawful for the council to grant consent for the wide range of amendments sought as a non-material amendment.

Development management officer Hannah Blackburn said decisions over such changes to approved house types would ordinarily be processed by officers with delegated powers, and the changes were ‘modest in scale' in the context of the overall residential scheme..”