Plans for a redesigned block of apartments on the Chocolate Works site have been approved – despite concerns about parking, transport, affordable homes and the view of the historic Terry’s factory clock tower.
The proposals for a building of 34 flats at the site attracted criticism from neighbours, as well as the National Trust at Goddards House, York Civic Trust and Historic England.
Eamon Keogh from O’Neill Associates told a City of York Council planning committee that the scheme is a “simple redesign” of an apartment block and that the height has been reduced by removing a fifth storey penthouse from the plans.
He told the meeting:
To be to be honest I’m quite puzzled by the Historic England objection. I think if anyone looked at the plans they would have seen that the block is hidden behind both the racecourse stands and behind the clock tower itself.
The concerns referred to the proposed apartment scheme interfering with views of the clock tower, which it can’t because it’s behind the clock tower.
But Terry Wilson, chair of the Chocolate Works Residents Association, said neighbours are worried that there are too many apartments on the site, that the new block is “enormous” and that traffic, parking and public transport is a problem.
Cllr Jonny Crawshaw also criticised the service charges on the apartments, which he said made the affordable units unaffordable.
He said: “I believe they’ve been offered [to housing associations] but I don’t believe that they’ve been taken up because of the service charges associated with the buildings making them too expensive for anybody who’s eligible to get on the housing waiting list.”
He added that the impact of parking on roads in the area around the development is “enormous” and said: “In my heart I don’t support this application at all.”
Cllr Stephen Fenton added: “It’s clear there are a number of cumulative impacts coming to the fore on this development – access to public transport, open space.
“On the site visit [we heard about issues] around access to GP surgeries, which isn’t just an issue relevant to this area but across the city.”
But the meeting heard there were no planning grounds for refusal and the application was approved by a majority vote.
A spokesman for David Wilson welcomed the decision, saying: “The proposed block will offer a total of 34 luxury one and two-bedroom apartments to the already established development located adjacent to York Racecourse.
“As well as building much-needed new homes and improving local infrastructure, the ongoing development of The Chocolate Works currently provides around 60 jobs per day to local construction professionals.”