Controversial Strensall housing development called in by Secretary of State
April 16, 2014
A planning application for 102 new homes to the north of Brecks Lane in Strensall, which was controversially approved by the City of York Council in February, has been called in by the Secretary of State, Eric Pickles MP.
Planning permission was granted for the development by the Council’s planning committee after a vote of 9 members against 7 in favour. Over 100 local residents submitted objections against the proposed development including the parish council, local ward Councillor Paul Doughty and the MP, Julian Sturdy. The key concerns centred around the impact of the development on the already strained local infrastructure, particularly the roads and the primary school, the impact on existing drainage problems, the harm it would do to the greenbelt and its prematurity in coming forward while the Local Plan is still in its infancy.
Following the Council’s decision, Mr Sturdy wrote to the Secretary of State to ask him to call in the application for his consideration on the grounds that the legitimate concerns of local residents had been ignored and that the application did not constitute the exceptional circumstances required to permit development in the greenbelt.
Last week, the Planning Minister, Nick Boles MP, wrote back to Mr Sturdy to inform him that the Secretary of State had accepted his request and had written to the Council to initiate a public inquiry. Mr Pickles has asked Council Officers to provide further information on the extent to which the application is consistent with national and local planning policy, particularly on the greenbelt.
Welcoming the decision, Mr Sturdy said:
“I am delighted that the Secretary of State has removed the Council of its power to determine this deeply contentious planning application. The public inquiry should give the local residents the opportunity to voice their very real concerns about this development under the assurance that they will not be glossed over as they appear to have been by the City of York Council.”
Local ward Councillor for Strensall, Paul Doughty added:
“To my mind, some members of the planning committee were too eager to dismiss the relevance of the greenbelt and the impact of this development on the village and its inhabitants. It is also encouraging to hear that the Secretary of State wishes to see details of relevant local development plans and I hope the City Council will now give some urgency to the adoption of the Strensall Village Design Statement, which is intended to supplement local planning guidelines to help ensure any future development in our village is appropriate.”