City of York Council is set to enter the final stage of its bid to adopt a Local Plan for the first time in more than 60 years.
Major projects chief Cllr Nigel Ayre hailed the “significant milestone” as the council released its final proposed changes to the plan before its submission to the Planning Inspectorate.
The Local Plan is a blueprint which determines how the city will develop over the next 15 years and beyond – forming the basis for all planning decisions.
It will support the creation of 18,000 new homes, 4,000 of which will be affordable, more land for jobs – and for the first time properly define the green belt boundaries of the city, giving housebuilders more certainty about where they can build.
It will also support new transport infrastructure investment and create up to six new schools.
Cllr Ayre said: “This is a robust and sound plan, which will ensure York is able to deliver the housing, jobs, growth and facilities our city needs, whilst also protecting the city’s unique character, green belt and natural beauty.”
The senior councillor has previously warned that, should the plan fail at this stage, central government would likely intervene.
York is an outlier amongst councils in that it has not had an adopted Local Plan since the 1950s. The council submitted its latest attempt in 2018, with a series of public hearings held over the summer of last year.
Neil Ferris, corporate director of place, said: “It’s taken 2,000 years for the city to grow to about 90,000 houses.
“This plan is 18,000 houses in 15 years – nobody can say it’s not an ambitious plan for the city.”
Cllr Ayre said there had been no major pushback on the central features of the plan – such as housing numbers and the green belt boundaries.
He added: “The modifications that are proposed are incredibly minor when you think of the size of the Local Plan document and the complexity of what that covers – the entire development of the city over 15 years.”
The proposed alterations include minor changes to sites at both York universities, requiring student housing developments to contribute to affordable housing in the city and slight changes to gypsy and traveller sites.
In addition, it includes a quantification of the proportion of affordable housing need that could be delivered by 2033 – with a target of 45 per cent set.
If approved by councillors in the coming weeks, the final Local Plan modifications will go out to public consultation in February and March, after which the final document will be submitted to the government.
It could be adopted as soon as September if the inspectors give the final seal of approval.