A SUPER COUNCIL for neighbouring North Yorkshire must not distract from York’s adoption of a Local Plan.

News of the Government’s intention to install a single unitary authority encompassing North Yorkshire is unsurprisingly dominating local conversations , but we can ill afford for this to divert from the task at hand.

If we’re to encourage more high quality jobs in York, better access to affordable housing and shape the city to benefit its residents, we need a Local Plan and the vision this provides.

With consultations concluding and the planning inspectorate set to review the Local Plan later this year there is a real chance of progress that shouldn’t be lost.

The proposed North Yorkshire unitary authority will create a new dynamic in the region. York will find itself a neighbour to much political fallout and wrangling as a consequence of the Government’s decision, and that will inevitably steer the spotlight away from the city.

But it’s a crucial time that could really determine York’s future. The last 18 months have thrown up new questions about the way we live and work.

Commuting patterns may be forever altered, shopping has changed and the family home now needs to accommodate workspace. For businesses, flexibility and sustainability are more important than ever when it comes to their buildings.

Ultimately, without timely action, York could continue to flounder and miss this opportunity to shape itself as a modern city.

Stuart Natkus,

Director at planning and design consultancy Barton Willmore,

King Street, Leeds