York affordable homes plan rejected – but developer to appeal

PLANS for an all-affordable housing development – which would see 60 new homes built for people on York’s housing waiting list – have been rejected.

The scheme was turned down because it is on Green Belt land – off Boroughbridge Road west of Trenchard Road.

The decision will be appealed by developers York Housing Association and Karbon Homes.

A housing development directly opposite the site, on the former Civil Service site, has been given the go head. Councillors also rejected the civil service site scheme on the grounds that it is in Green Belt, but the developer appealed to the Secretary of State who overturned City of York Council’s decision.

The council has received 85 letters objecting to the plans. Neighbours say they are worried about traffic, the impact on the Green Belt and say enough homes are being built elsewhere in the city.

Planning officers said the scheme should also be turned down because the developer refused to pay extra money towards school places in the area.

But a spokesperson for the developer said this was because all the homes would be taken by people who already live in York and whose children are included in the system of school places – adding that the housing is a not-for-profit scheme.

Simon Grundy from Carter Jonas on behalf of the applicants said York’s housing crisis has become “acute”.

He said that, after taking into account homes sold under the right to buy scheme, just 70 affordable homes have been built in York since 2015.

He added: we consider that the value of the site in greenbelt terms is significantly lower than officers have stated.

“The character of the land beyond Trenchard Road is very much urban fringe with sporadic development, as opposed to being unspoiled open countryside, which it clearly is not.”

“We draw attention to the fact that following the [York Local Plan] inspector’s comments in January 2020 on the unsoundness of the submitted Green Belt evidence, the council has still not completed work to update the Green Belt topic paper some 11 months later.

“As a result the examination is stalled for a reason that is not beyond the council’s control – quite the opposite.”

But planning officer Jonathan Kenyon said although affordable housing is important, it does not outweigh the value of Green Belt.

He said: “Obviously affordable housing does carry quite a high level of weight but the Green Belt is very special and that policy, in our minds, comes above housing needs and affordable housing need in this case.”

“One of the things to mention about the former Civil Service site, when the inspector was making their assessment it’s important to remember that they didn’t find that that site served any of the purposes of the Green Belt.

“That weighed quite heavily in their decision making.”

But a spokesperson for the developer, speaking after the meeting, said they intend to appeal the council’s decision.

Julia Histon, managing director of York Housing Association, said: “We are disappointed by the committee’s decision to turn down our application.

“We know that there is a great need for more affordable housing in York and this development would offer 60 new high quality, affordable homes for local people who would otherwise struggle to find a home in an area with high property values.

“We will be lodging an appeal against the decision and hope to work with the council in the future to bring this development forward to benefit local residents.”

York Press | News