Plans for a five-storey apartment building are set to be approved despite an MP’s concerns about their scale and lack of affordability.
The block of flats would include 35 apartments (21 one-beds, 12 two-beds and two three-beds) at the former Tramways Club in Mill Street following its demolition if plans are approved.
A council planning committee will meet next Wednesday (17 January) to determine the application. Council officers have recommended that it is approved.
Rachael Maskell, MP for York Central, strongly objects to the application. She says the building has grown to its present five-storey height.
She says: “The scale of this development has not been welcomed by residents in the area, and I would urge the planning authority to consider the scale of the proposal, how it is out of line with previous planning decisions and the impact that this will have on the area.
“While housing is urgently needed across the city, the demand is for affordable and social housing.
“This development is not offering accommodation that will match the need in York and there is not an urgency to develop more luxury accommodation in the area.”
Ms Maskell adds: “The church will also be significantly dwarfed by the scale of the proposed development, and this will have an impact on this listed property.”
The applicant, Oakgate City Living, is also proposing landscaping works at St George’s churchyard, the location of the grave of notorious highwayman Dick Turpin.
But plans to remove bushes and trees are not welcomed by residents, the MP says.
“While alternative reasons have been given for their removal, for instance to prevent drug taking/dealing in the park, there is no evidence that this would have the desired impact, as we know that people are drug using/dealing openly on the streets in this area,” she writes.
“The authority should be looking at a harm reduction strategy, rather than removing hedges, if it is serious about addressing addictions in York.”
The three Labour ward councillors for Guildhall ward, Rachel Melly, Tony Clarke and Dave Merrett, have also objected to the plans.
They write: “The proposed development is inappropriate due to being too high and too dominant.
“It would cause harm to the character of the conservation area and the settings of the city walls, the grade II listed St George’s Church, and Dick Turpin’s grave.”
Twelve representations of objection have been received by the council and two petitions against the proposal have been signed by 42 and 207 individuals respectively.
However, Sue Sparkling, writing on behalf of DLA Architecture, said: “The proposed scheme is designed to be sympathetic to its setting within the conservation area and to preserve, and enhance its character whilst respecting the adjacent trees within the rest gardens and privacy of adjacent housing.”
You can read the council officer report on the development here.