CALLS are growing for York councillors to review their decision to reject a local firm's plan to extend its warehouse into green belt land.

Shoe firm Pavers said the 'desperately needed' warehouse extension, along with a separate extension for new office space, would represent a £19 million investment and would bring 130 new jobs to the city.

But council planners last week rejected the warehouse extension at the Northminster Business Park in Upper Poppleton on the grounds it would encroach on green belt land.

Pavers subsequently withdrew the application for the office extension, saying one could not happen without the other.

And the company's joint MD, Stuart Paver, warned he might have to 'reassess' the company’s relationship with the city.

The decision to reject the application has prompted a backlash.

Laurence Beardmore, President of York Chamber of Commerce, said: “With the economy in such a perilous position, one really has to question the logic of blocking a business from creating jobs and providing additional revenue for the local council.

“If York is to have the reputation of a city that welcomes commerce and is focused on economic growth then decisions such as this need to stop.

“Councillors need to think of their constituents. Preventing businesses from expanding sets a dangerous precedent and creates the risk of successful, thriving companies either deciding against investing or moving out altogether.”

In a letter to the Press, Prof Nick Bosanquet, a retired health economist who lives in York, added the Pavers plans appeared to have been rejected in order to save 'one half of a potato field'.

He said: "On Thursday the Bank of England forecast a 10 per cent fall in investment over 2023-4, and a doubling of unemployment. There will be a long recession with many business failures.

"This expansion (of Pavers) would create an expertise cluster in shoe design and distribution which would help other local firms.

"The expansion would also lead to a big rise in local rate income to improve social care and our local environment. Surely there must be a review of the decision."

Speaking to the Press, he added: "We have been calling on the government for more money for levelling up. When there is a chance to do some levelling up ourselves ... it seems ridiculous to turn them (Pavers) down. We need businesses like this for young people in York in future."

Other Press readers also weighed into the decision with letters to the newspaper today.

Christopher Rainger, from Grange Street, said: "I've seen some idiotic decisions by York council, but the refusal to allow Pavers to expand their business is really crazy."

TJ Ryder, from Acomb, added the decision 'beggars belief'.

Pavers says recent growth has seen its retail portfolio grow to more than 180 stores and has boosted online sales by 700 per cent in the last three years.

The company currently relies on additional off-site warehousing – and storage requirements are expected to double over the next five years. 

The Press has approached City of York Council for comment.