About the Local Plan
What is the Local Plan?
As part of the government’s localism agenda and their changes to planning policy, local authorities are now being given much more say in determining the future development plans for their areas. All local authorities are being encouraged to develop ‘Local Plans’, in which they will have to map out their proposals for development over the 15 year life of the Plan. Local Plans must go through two consultation processes, one run by the Council and the other run by the Planning Inspectors as a public inquiry. Having passed these two stages, the Local Plan is then given to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for final inspection before the local authority is able to formally adopt it. Once the 15 year life of the Plan is up, local authorities are expected to have their next Local Plan ready to adopt.
Where are the City of York Council in the process of adopting of their Local Plan?
The City of York Council are behind many other local authorities in the area. This is mainly because a previous version of their Local Plan, known as the Local Development Framework, was thrown out by the Planning Inspectors due to their concerns over the development of the Monks Cross retail park. Over the past year the Council have had to go back to the drawing board and on Friday 12th April 2013, they published their ‘Draft Local Plan: Prefered Options’ document. On the 30th April it was voted through for consultation by the Cabinet, or the ruling administration in the Council. The consultation process began on 5th June and it closed on 31st July.
What are the timescales for them to formally adopt their Local Plan?
As the initial consultation period has now closed, comments, feedback and objections should be considered and factored into the Plan. Council Officers will prepare a ‘Submission Local Plan’, which will be sent to the Planning Inspectors in early 2014. The Inspectors will then launch another consultation process on the Council’s ‘final’ version of the Local Plan and this will be carried out independently from the Council, as a public inquiry. The Planning Inspectors will then make recommendations to the Council and hopefully the Council will make further amendments to their Local Plan, in response to these recommendations, before submitting it to the Secretary of State for final inspection. It is likely that the Council will be given approval to formally adopt their Local Plan by early 2015. For information on the timescales for adoption on the Council’s website, click here.
What does the Council’s draft Local Plan mean for York’s greenbelt?
At the moment, York’s greenbelt is being protected by central government and they have been clear that the Council must make provision for the greenbelt in the form of a Local Plan. In mapping out their development vision for York, the Council will be securing the majority of York’s greenbelt for the next 15 years. However, creating a Local Plan effectively gives them the opportunity to redefine York’s greenbelt. In doing so, they are able to pick and choose which parts of the greenbelt they want to continue to protect and which they want to open up for development. Sadly, in the draft Local Plan, the Council are proposing to take over 2000 acres of land out of York’s greenbelt for housing and business developments. To see exactly what the Council are proposing for York’s greenbelt, click here and you will be redirected to the Council’s website where you can download their Proposals Map as a pdf.
What’s been proposed in the draft Local Plan?
Over the next 15-20 years, the Council are proposing to build 22,000 homes, of which 16,000 will be in York Outer and on what has traditionally been York’s greenbelt. This includes over 5500 homes to the south of Heslington and over 4000 homes to the north of Clifton Moor. Meanwhile, the Council are prioritising our existing brownfield sites for more employment-based development than has previously been proposed. They have proposed to introduce 80 Traveller and Showpeople pitches on numerous sites within the greenbelt. These sites include a 15 pitch Travellers Site in Dunnington, a 20 pitch Travellers Site on Malton Road and a 20 pitch Showpeople site in Knapton. The Council have also proposed 40 potential wind farms on the greenbelt, as ‘Potential Areas of Search for Renewable Electricity Generation’. There are a great many proposals within the Council’s draft Local Plan, which will affect our communities in different ways. But every community will be affected in some way or another. Julian believes it’s really important that you are aware of exactly what has been proposed, both in your area and across the city as a whole. To find out more about how you’ll be affected by the Local Plan, visit Julian’s Useful Information and Downloads page and check out his Fact Sheets.
What does Julian think of the proposals?
Julian is staunchly opposed to much of the Council’s draft Local Plan. He believes the scale of development proposed by the Council is “completely unsustainable and entirely inappropriate” for a historic Cathedral City, surrounded by greenbelt land and picturesque countryside. He is deeply concerned that if the Local Plan is adopted in its current form, York will go from being a beautiful and popular City, of great historical and cultural significance, to being an overpopulated West Yorkshire suburb of Leeds. Julian is incredibly disappointed the Council have proposed such extensive development, without providing any guarantees of having secured the necessary investment in our infrastructure. With a likely maximum of 400 homes being built on any one site per year, Julian is extremely concerned that the whole area looks set to become a building site, with existing congestion problems rapidly deteriorating and grind the City to a halt. He is very supportive of growing our local economy and building new homes to meet the need, but he is fundamentally opposed to the scale of development put forward by the Council and their failure to work with our local communities and Parish Councils when designing their development vision.
Julian is absolutely dismayed by the proposals for so many Traveller and Showpeople sites in our quiet rural villages, like Dunnington and Knapton. He is disappointed that so little thought has been given to the effects these sites will clearly have on community life within the villages. He is campaigning tirelessly against these proposals and he is currently investigating how the Council have calculated the apparent need for the scale of housing and Traveller and Showpeople pitches that they’ve proposed. He has always been sceptical about the questionable benefits of onshore wind power and he was aghast to hear of the proposals for 40 wind farms within the constituency. He has vowed to do all he can to stop “these monstrosities from encircling our great City”.
How can I have my say on the proposals?
From April to July 2013, Julian has campaigned tirelessly to raise awareness of the draft Local Plan and encourage local residents to take part in the Council’s own consultation process on the Plan. This process lasted eight weeks and closed on 31st July. This means that you can no longer make representations on the draft Local Plan that will be considered as part of the consultation. However, as local residents, you are still perfectly within your rights to contact the Council and make your comments known. You may like to email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to City of York Council, West Offices, Station Rise, York, YO1 6GA.
Council Officers will now review and respond to all submissions made during the consultation process. They will hopefully make significant amendments to the Plan before submitting it to the Planning Inspectors in early 2014. The Inspectors will then open the Plan up for a second consultation, which will be run independently from the Council as a public inquiry. This means that you will have another opportunity to have your say over the Plan. Julian will be doing his utmost to encourage participation in the inquiry next year and in the meantime he’ll be working to keep the Local Plan fresh in everyone’s minds so that our local communities are prepared for 2014.