Planning permission for more than 100 affordable homes on York’s green belt has been approved.
York councillors have granted planning permission for the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust (JRHT) to build 117 affordable homes in a paddock lying between Park Lodge And Willow Bank in Haxby Road, New Earswick.
However, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Michael Gove, still has to confirm that the council can determine the application due to its location on the green belt.
Chris Simpson, executive director for JRHT, said: “These new homes will provide more residents with an affordable home within York.
“We recognise it has taken a while to reach this stage, but it has been important to listen to and address concerns and questions raised during the public consultation and the planning process.
“Once built these homes will be an integral part of the village of New Earswick, addressing the community’s needs while preserving the village’s distinct identity.”
Degree of harm
The development would provide 101 two and three-bedroomed houses, as well as 16 one and two-bedroomed apartments.
A pumping station and substation together with means of vehicular and pedestrian access, 160 car parking spaces, landscaping and open space are also part of the plans.
Each of the dwellings would have cycle storage and an air source heat pump.
However, Becky Eades, head of planning and development services, said: “The application site is located within the green belt and therefore we’d need very special circumstances to approve it.”
She added: “We also think there would be some degree of harm to openness.”
According to council officers, the fundamental purpose of green belt policy is to prevent urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open.
The concept of openness in this context means the state of being free from development and the absence of buildings and relates to the quantum and extent of development and its physical effect on the site.
But council officers also wrote in a report of the application that “there is a demonstrable need for affordable housing provision in the city, estimated at 573 homes per year.”
Officers also wrote that this development “would make an important contribution towards meeting the identified local need.”
Some residents raised concerns about flooding and sewage spillover as a result of the development, but David Boyes-Watson, JHRT’s deputy director of development and asset management, said: “There’s an extensive water attenuation to the north of the site, which will hold back water in rain events.
“So we’re confident that throughout that process we’ve been able to demonstrate that we’re not increasing the risk of flooding in the area by bringing forward this development.”
Seven councillors voted for the application to be approved, as recommended by council officers, including all Labour councillors on the planning committee and Conservative group leader Cllr Chris Steward.
Liberal Democrat councillors were split.
Cllr Stephen Fenton voted in favour of the development and Cllr Tony Fisher abstained.
Liberal Democrat group leader and deputy leader Cllr Nigel Ayre and Cllr Paula Widdowson voted against it.