York to slash green field housing sites by 50%

York has only been building around half the homes it needs for the last 10 years, exasperating a housing crisis which residents have been paying through the nose for. According to a Lloyds analysis, house prices are 7.5 times local incomes, making the historic city as unaffordable as some southern property hotspots.

To tackle this crisis, a Local Plan Preferred Sites document was drafted as part of York’s emerging Local Plan, to indentify housing, employment and sites that will be used to help pave the way for a citywide consultation. Revised figures published yesterday (20 June) revealed a dramatic decrease in the amount of land earmarked for development.

The Preferred Sites Document identifies approximately 480 hectares of land for housing and approximately 57 hectares of land for employment. The previous publication draft plan included approximately 960 hectares of land for housing and 61 hectares of land for employment.

The majority of the land removed sits within the draft Green Belt with proposed green field housing sites cut by over 50 per cent from 862 hectares to 366.

The vast majority of draft green belt sites proposed in 2014 have either been removed entirely, substantially altered and/or reduced in size.

In addition to this, the previous publication draft included 335 hectares of safeguarded land identified for longer term need. All safeguarded land has now been removed from the plan. A small element has been reallocated for employment uses at Grimston Bar and Northminster.

Proposed housing on brownfield land has increased from 85 hectares (in 2014) to 101 hectares, with York Central alone earmarked for 1,500 new homes.

Overall, the proposals will deliver land for at least 8,277 homes for the period up to 2032 and 2,450 homes for the period 2032 and 2037.

In line with the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework, introduced in 2012, a draft report will go before Executive on 30 June, following a meeting with the Local Plan Working Group on 27 June. If approved, the proposals will then be opened up to the public for an eight-week consultation starting in July.

Cllr Keith Aspden, Deputy Leader of City of York Council, said, “We have worked with officers since last May on these proposals which aim to deliver the housing York needs but protect the character setting of the city. I’m delighted that we are now moving forward to be in the best possible position to take the emerging Local Plan through to adoption. As part of this process, it’s essential that we engage with members of the public through consultation and this report provides important details on the upcoming Preferred Sites consultation, which we will launch this July.

“As the administration we have committed to engage with the York’s residents and businesses and this will be one of a series of stages where we will do this. As well as public exhibitions we are sending information to every household in York which will outline in detail the next steps between now and submission to Government next year.”

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