A charity has been awarded £125,000 to build five homes in York despite the council’s highways team refusing to support the potential development.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has been awarded funds by the York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority to build five homes in Hawthorn Terrace South, which is currently occupied by garages.
However, concerns submitted to City of York Council’s planning portal show people are worried about what the impact of this would be on the environment and parking.
This included the council’s own highways development control team, which “can’t support this application, because although the car parking requirement (five spaces and one visitor space) for the proposed dwellings has been met, the demolition of the existing garages to facilitate the new dwellings will result in the loss of up to 18 existing car parking spaces.”
It adds: “The applicant has not provided sufficient evidence to prove that the garages are not being used for the parking of cars within them.”
The funds would be reallocated to another scheme if it does not obtain planning permission.
There are also environmental concerns, mostly from nearby residents.
Carolyn Weedont, who lives a three-minute drive from the site, said: “It would overdevelop the site and cause harm to the natural environment.”
Kevin Dickinson added: “Building these properties will block the green in, spoiling the area with modern, out-of-place buildings, cramming more people in.”
Cllr Carol Runciman, a Liberal Democrat, said: “There is a pressing need for more affordable homes to be built for local people to live in, but it’s only right that proposals such as this are properly scrutinised.
“Many local residents have expressed their deep concerns about this proposal, which are shared by New Earswick Parish Council.
“I have ensured that the application has been ‘called in’ so that it will be decided by the council’s planning committee, rather than by council officers.
“Given that the planning process is ongoing, it is surprising that this proposal has been included in the combined authority’s list of sites that are to receive brownfield development funding at this stage.
“It does seem somewhat premature and some residents may feel that this puts undue pressure on the council’s planning committee to support the plans.”
Executive member for housing Cllr Michael Pavlovic said: “The call by the combined authority for funding applications was open to local authorities, registered housing providers and private developers for the provision of much-needed affordable housing.
“Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust has a track record of providing good quality, affordable housing and its funding application will have reflected the viability and deliverability of the development.
“Clearly the planning application is a separate matter and funding will only be released in the event it gains planning approval from a cross-party planning committee of councillors.
“If it doesn’t, then funding can be reallocated to another housing scheme.”