York’s green belt protected as land allocated for housing is slashed by half

York – a changing city. Photograph © Bing Maps
20 Jun 2016 @ 4.02 pm
| Environment, Housing, News

Land to provide 10,000 new homes and 11,000 new jobs has been identified across York – but new restrictions will prevent building on the city’s Green Belt.

And two areas previously earmarked for travellers’ sites have been rejected.

Those are the headlines from a new planning document published on Monday (June 20).

It sees the amount of land earmarked for housing in York cut from 960 to 480 hectares. Most of the removed land sits within the draft Green Belt – with proposed green field housing sites cut by more than 50 per cent.

That sees the number of new homes planned to be built in York fall from the 16,980 proposed in 2014 to 10,817 now.

A permanent Green Belt

The latest instalment in what has become a 60-year saga over York’s Local Plan is today’s unveiling of the preferred sites for development over the next few decades.

This report will go to the City of York Council executive meeting on June 30 before going out on an eight-week public consultation starting in July.

York has not had a local plan since 1956. The last attempt to launch one was by the city’s Labour administration in 2014.

That draft Local Plan was halted by the council after Labour councillors resigned and a critical vote was lost in October.

Following the last local elections, the new Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition made “delivering a Local Plan that protects our Green Belt” a priority.

Today’s document, which can be read in full here, is a step towards fulfilling that pledge.

“If taken forward, these revised proposals could help to deliver around 11,000 new jobs – and for the first time – create a permanent Green Belt to ensure the city’s boundaries are protected for two decades,” said council leader Cllr David Carr.

500 new homes a year

Building work at the former Terry's factory on Campleshon Road, York. Photograph © Google Street View
Building work at the former Terry’s factory on Campleshon Road, York. Photograph © Google Street View

Overall, the proposals will deliver land for at least 8,277 homes for the period up to 2032 and 2,540 homes for the period 2032 and 2037.

That’s 10,817 homes altogether. That works out at an average of 515 homes a year between now and 2037 – nearly half the 996 allocated in the 2014 draft Local Plan.

The council said:

These projections are in line with York’s independently-assessed housing need taking account of completed sites, sites with permission and supplemented by small windfalls (sites which come forward during the plan period).

Proposed housing on brownfield land has increased from 85 hectares (in 2014) to 101 hectares, with York Central alone earmarked for 1,500 new homes.

Here are the areas earmarked for the biggest number of new homes:

  • York Central (total dwellings: 1,500)
  • British Sugar (1,140)
  • Land north of Monks Cross (968)
  • Land east of Metcalfe Lane (845)
  • Land north of Haxby (735)
  • Former gas works, Heworth Green (336)
  • Nestlé (315)
  • Hungate (305)
  • Civil Service Sports Ground (292)
  • Land next to Hull Road (211).

Among the housing sites cut from the 2014 Local Plan draft are 400 homes at New Lane, Huntington, 421 homes at Manor Heath, Copmanthorpe, 165 homes to the north of Stockton Lane and 135 homes on Boroughbridge Road.

Land for employment

An artist's impression of a new vision for the long-neglected York Central site, unveiled in December 2015
An artist’s impression of a new vision for the long-neglected York Central site, unveiled in December 2015

The council now puts its job growth forecast at 11,000 new jobs by 2031.

That requires an extra 57 hectares of land for employment (down from 61 hectares in the 2014 plan).

Among the largest potential employment sites identified are:

  • York Central (80,000 sq m)
  • Northminster Business Park (60,000 sq m)
  • Land south of Elvington Airfield (30,400 sq m)
  • York University (20,000 sq m)
  • Land east of Grimston Bar (20,000 sq m)
  • Land north of Monks Cross Drive (3,000 sq m)
  • Annamine Nurseries (4,150 sq m)
  • Elvington Industrial Estate (3,980 sq m)

Traveller sites

City of York Council must take into account new national guidelines on the provision of sites for gypsies and travellers.

In the aborted 2014 draft Local Plan two sites were identified for travellers: land next to Moor Lane and the B1224 at Rufforth; and Acres Farm, Naburn.

Both have now been rejected under the tightening of the Green Belt rules.

A site previously identified for travelling show people at the Stables, Elvington, is still in the plan.

Info to every household

Deputy leader of the Council Cllr Keith Aspden, said: “We have worked with officers since last May on these proposals which aim to deliver the housing York needs but also protect the character setting of the city.”

The next stage was to ask the rest of us what we think, hence the plan for an eight-week consultation launched in July.

Cllr Aspden said:

As the administration we have committed to engage with the York’s residents and businesses and this will be one of a series of stages where we will do this.

As well as public exhibitions we are sending information to every household in York which will outline in detail the next steps between now and submission to Government next year.