Plans for 117 homes in a York suburb are recommended for approval despite much opposition.

The Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust seeks to build the homes with unallocated parking for 160 cars on a 4.7ha ‘Green Belt’ site north of Willow Bank, New Earswick.

If approved, there would be 101 2-3 bed houses and 16 1-2 bed flats, all of them ‘affordable.’

There would also be open space running through the centre of the site and to the east, including a children’s playground, multisport facilities, a trim trail, an area of public art and seating.


Since plans were first submitted in January 2021, the trust has made changes to the scheme including re-siting the homes away from the northern boundary of the site. Cycle and pedestrian routes have also been improved.

A report by council planning staff, prepared for next Thursday’s meeting of planning committee says the grassland site is allocated for housing in the 2018 draft local plan.

The trust promises to build ‘low carbon homes’, which would deliver savings to residents and the 117 affordable homes would help York meet its ‘significant’ need for 9,396 affordable homes between 2017 and 2033.

However, New Earswick Parish Council opposes the scheme on what is known locally as ‘The Old School Field’ saying it will cause traffic congestion, worsen drainage and flooding issues and the area lacks healthcare and social facilities.

Similarly, 44 letters of objection, said the scheme was too large, with an expected 500 residents increasing the population of New Earswick by almost a fifth. The area lacked the facilities its families would need and the scheme would take away green space used by walkers, children and dogs.

The scheme also used ‘cheap, non-vernacular’ materials not in keeping with the garden village.

Local councillors Keith Orrell, Carol Runciman and Chris Cullwick, noted site was allocated for housing and welcomed the affordable housing but they too raised concerns over drainage and traffic.

However, the report said the scheme is designed as an extension of New Earswick rather than a standalone development.

Officers consider the scheme, with buildings arranged small terraces and semis respect the local character of the original garden village. There would be sufficient amenity for its residents.

The report also noted the Green Belt status of the site, which would undergo harm from the scheme. However, Very Special Circumstances could be shown to allow this.

City of York Council cannot show a 5-year housing land supply and the 117 affordable homes carried ‘significant weight’ in the planning decision, along with the site being allocated for housing in the 2018 draft local plan.

Whilst such circumstances could be shown, the scheme was ‘inappropriate’ for the Green Belt, and of a large enough size for it to be referred to the Secretary of State, the council report added.