HEARINGS for York’s Local Plan - a blueprint for what housing gets built, and where, during the next 15 years - are a step closer.

The 550 homes proposed for the Queen Elizabeth Barracks and Towthorpe Lines had to be removed from the plan after Natural England raised concerns about the impact of the development on Strensall Common, a protected nature reserve.

These modifications have been submitted to independent Government inspectors.

A council spokesman said it hoped this means progress can now be made to take the Local Plan to the examination stage - but no date has been set yet.

Changes have also been made to the number of houses that need to be built in the city - with the figures revised to 790 homes a year.

The sale of both Strensall Barracks and Towthorpe Lines have been delayed by the Ministry of Defence after they were removed from York’s Local Plan.

Both sites were due to shut in 2021 but the government announced last month that the disposal of the land has now been delayed until 2024.