Bill for council housing development in York rises by £4 million

The pricetag of a major new council housing development is set to rise by £4.1m.

Councillors will be asked to approve extra funding for the scheme on the former Lowfield School site.

But a spokesman for City of York Council said the increase may not cost the local authority any more money – because house prices in the city have also gone up.

Plans for 165 homes, an apartment block, an 80-bed care home and a police station and health centre to be built on the land in Acomb were approved last August.

The budget for the scheme was £22.5m but councillors will be asked to increase funding to £26.6m at a meeting this evening.

Yorkshire Water fee

An aerial view of the Lowfield School site, bounded by Tudor Road and Gale Lane. Photograph © Google Street View
A report prepared for the executive meeting says:

  • The largest cost increase to the project has been incurred due to very poor ground conditions discovered further to the phase two site investigation survey.

    As a result of these ground conditions the houses require piled foundations and the site infrastructure requires additional stabilisation works.

It adds that Yorkshire Water’s fee for diverting the drains has also increased the cost of the plans, as well as changes to the design of the homes.

But a council spokesman said that the local authority now expects to make more money from selling some of the homes because house prices in York have increased – and this will cover the £4.1m increase.

Higher green standards

Cllr Denise Craghill
Cllr Denise Craghill, executive member for housing, said:

  • As part of the project management process for our housing developments we regularly review costs and anticipated receipts.

    Since our estimated budget in July 2018 was agreed by Executive, our anticipated costs have increased due primarily to more detailed site investigations, inflation, and our decision to add extra solar photovoltaic panels to the homes, which will raise environmental standards and lower home energy bills.

She added: “The market sale homes are being used to cross fund the development of social rent and shared ownership homes to buy at below market rate, and as such there is no additional resource required from the council to deliver the project.”