A York MP is calling on a school to withdraw its controversial expansion plan.
Rachael Maskell says St Peter’s School’s proposals would have a detrimental impact on the environment.
And ward councillors say it would cause traffic problems and shatter residents’ peace.
St Peter’s School is applying for permission to create a floodlit hockey pitch, tennis/netball courts and cricket nets, plus access, car parking and coach drop-off areas.
But that would mean Westminster Road being turned from a closed street into a through route for coaches and cars.
The plans have attracted 116 objection comments and 29 in support.
Rachael Maskell and ward councillors Danny Myers and Margaret Wells met with Clifton residents at a public meeting.
The York Central MP said she had spoken to the school but they were adamant that the plans should go ahead despite the concerns of nearby residents.
St Peter’s says that the hockey pitches would be a community asset – but residents argue that they said the same about a swimming pool they built, but residents were not able to use it.
Concerns raised at the meeting included:
- that the pitches would be used late into the evenings causing a noise nuisance from the games and associated traffic and light pollution from floodlights
- that Westminster Road, designed to be a cul-de-sac, would not cope with the through traffic from coaches and sports traffic
- the building was on green belt land
- the risk of increased flooding in an area that often sees the pumping station struggling to work above capacity
- and the impact on wildlife, including bats.
Ms Maskell said:
“I have met with St Peters but their application does not seem to recognise the impact this development will have, not just on residents but on the environment.
“There are significant flooding implications and I question whether impact studies of flooding will provide sufficient information to the planning committee.
“I have also done a lot of work on issues surrounding microplastics and the impact and contamination all weather pitches have, not to mention the biodiversity of the area.
“I would like the school to withdraw its application and talk to residents.”
Cllr Danny Myers said:
“The plans to build a coach and car park, which will be used throughout the year, will greatly increase traffic.
“The proposals suggest that by providing a car park in one area it will reduce congestion in another, but this isn’t backed up by evidence and the motive should not be about seeking to transfer a traffic problem from one area to another.
“The answer first and foremost should be to reduce the amount of journeys made to and from the school, by providing more active, sustainable modes of transport in a transparent School Travel Plan.
“It must be recognised that this is a city-location, highly residential and not suitable to further expansion into green-belt and at such damaging cost to local residents.”
Cllr Margaret Wells said:
“Residents are extremely worried. They live in that area because they enjoy the peace and quiet, the trees, the walk to the river. They describe it as a haven away from the noisy traffic.
“It’s a narrow road not built for traffic and it is worrying to think of a steady stream of coaches and cars trying to manoeuvre their way through the street.
“These plans, if passed, will reach fruition at a time when the York Central development will send even more traffic into the area.”
In its submission to City of York Council, St Peter’s School said: “The assessment of the impacts of the proposal clearly demonstrates that the public benefits of the proposal outweigh any perceived impacts and there are no obstacles to a grant of planning permission.”
You can read the full plans and comment here.