Houses set to be built on York school playing field – despite 119 objections

Plans for 12 homes to be built in the grounds of a top York independent school are set to be given the go-ahead.

The Mount School – which counts Dame Judi Dench and writer AS Byatt among its former pupils – wants to dispose of an unused portion of its extensive playing fields and use the money to enhance its performing arts facilities.

But residents have slated the plans, with 119 people signing a petition against the scheme and 49 letters of objection received by the council.

Councillors have been invited to approve the proposals at a planning meeting.

The scheme would see 12 three, four and five-bedroom homes built on land at the bottom of the school playing fields, behind Towton Avenue.

An existing access road at the junction between Towton Avenue and Mount Vale Drive would be turned into the route into the development.

Dance and drama studio

The development planned at the Mount School. Image: planning documents
The school has already had planning permission granted for a new dance and drama studio to be built as part of a multi-million pound performing arts hub.

A report prepared for the planning meeting says the project would be funded by the sale of part of the playing fields.

But it adds that residents have raised concerns about the scheme – saying playing fields should be protected from development and that the plans would exacerbate traffic problems on local streets and also surface water flooding issues.

The report says:

  • The site comprises around 10 per cent in area of the sports fields.

    Whilst the majority of the fields remain in sports use the application site has been left unmaintained over the previous growing season so has developed a natural grassland appearance.

    Only a small area of playing field would be lost, which has not been used as part of a playing field in recent years.

Twenty-two people also wrote letters to the council in support of the proposals, saying the school already has enough space and that there is a need for more housing.

The report recommends that the site developers Mulgrave and the Helmsley Group are asked to pay more than £47,000 towards a new playing field at 235 Tadcaster Road to compensate for the loss of sports land.