YORK’S Green Party politicians put housing at the top of the agenda as they unveiled their manifesto for the local elections.

The group is fielding 42 candidates across the city on May 5 as it seeks to increase its presence on City of York Council, and it has put the creation of more affordable homes without threatening open spaces at the centre of its vision.

The Greens want to see more empty properties brought back into use and a focus on fairer rents, while the party has also vowed to fight cuts to York’s youth services and the privatisation of some social care, which they claim will “lower standards and demoralise staff”.

Their manifesto also commits to targeting “green jobs” investment in areas such as energy, transport and food production, seeking funding for a city-centre swimming pool and supporting a community stadium – with the party’s preference being for it to be sited near York Railway Station rather at Monks Cross – as well as reviewing York’s “inadequate” transport plan to look at issues such as air quality and accessibility.

The Greens would develop a zero waste strategy for York with the aim of increasing recycling rates, support a project to plant 50,000 new trees in the city, commission an “environmental capacity study” to assess how much development the city can cope with, promote food-growing in York and campaign for improved play facilities, such as a city centre playground.

Apollo Street, near new affordable bungalows built to replace the old Discus housing, was selected as the manifesto launch site.

Green leader Coun Andy D’Agorne said: “It is important we are able to provide the affordable housing York’s citizens need.

“We believe we should do this without relying on massive housing developments which can encroach on our green spaces.”

Fellow Fishergate councillor Dave Taylor said: “Green Party members are at the forefront of the campaign opposing excessive Government cuts, but we also believe a new council should be investing in a long-term vision for York as a green, sustainable, historic city."