PLANS for a major business park that could create more than 2,000 new jobs in York have been submitted to the council.

The Oakgate Group is proposing a new 79-acre Naburn Business and Employment Park that includes new offices, an innovation centre, restaurants and Park&Ride improvements.

The business park would be situated in St Nicholas Avenue, Fulford, on greenbelt land near the 60-acre Designer Outlet, but on the south side of the site to “ensure a 35-acre green corridor” along the A64.

However, the application has already met with opposition from City of York Council leader, Cllr Keith Aspden, who represents Fulford and Heslington Ward.

He said the site is not allocated for employment in the Local Plan and urged residents with concerns about congestion to “respond to any future consultation that the developers will run”.

The council said that the application will be considered by the planning inspector looking at the city’s Local Plan. It is understood that should the scheme then be included in the Local Plan, it would go to the council for a planning decision.

The proposed park includes 270,000 sq ft of office space, an innovation centre, restaurants, a children’s nursery and a gym.

Consultation events were held last year attended by 140 residents, who raised concerns over potential traffic congestion. As a result, changes to the masterplan include providing a green buffer to properties in Lingcroft Lane, moving the position of the Park&Ride away from residential properties and altering a bus route.

A spokesman for the Oakgate Group said that a new roundabout on St Nicholas Avenue will provide access to the site, and a new lane is proposed for the southbound A19/A64 junction that will both mitigate traffic from the development and “ensure the current situation is improved”.

Richard France, managing director of the Wetherby-based Oakgate Group, said: “This is an opportunity that should be grasped to ensure York’s burgeoning economy continues to thrive. These proposals will offer a range of office space for both existing businesses wishing to expand and to attract major new investment to the city.

“It fits in with the new council administration’s stated aim to improve the economy and will complement the plans for York Central, by offering more locational and timing choice to businesses.

“Our proposals will help meet the chronic lack of quality office and business space in the city and can be delivered quickly. Economic benefits, transport improvements, energy efficiency, and ecological diversity will ensure it is a sustainable development.”

He said York had a shortage of office space, meaning many companies either can’t expand or are forced to move away from the city.

He added: “The proposed new business park seeks to address this issue.”

The company added that the proposals include new woodland and hedgerows that will support the retention of existing landscape features and reinstate historic landscape patterns. A ‘green link’ is proposed to the north of the site, providing new walking and cycling routes designed to be at the heart of the masterplan.

Leading architects, DLA Design Group, has produced the masterplan, which also includes a series of small scale "pavilions" that would provide places for leisure and recreation. It says the upper garden terraces of the pavilions have been designed to create “visual connections” with key York landmarks, including the Minster.

But Cllr Aspden said: “It is important to note that the area proposed by the developers for Naburn Business Park remains in the greenbelt, is not included as a site for development in the submitted Local Plan, and that a range of employment sites have already been identified across the city.

“Our local community has suffered considerable disruption as a result of development in the area and therefore, I would urge residents, particularly in Fulford and Naburn, to respond to any future consultation that the developers will run, particularly with any concerns they have on the impact of congestion, traffic and damage to the environment and character of Fulford and York.”

Mike Slater, the council’s assistant director of planning and public protection, said: “This greenbelt site is not allocated for employment use or development in the submitted draft Local Plan.

“However, the developers of Naburn Business and Employment Park have submitted this as a proposal for the consideration of the government inspectors examining York’s Local Plan.”