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Julian Sturdy - Strong Voice for York Outer

Julian Sturdy

Member of Parliament for York Outer

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Julian Joins Local Councillors in Welcoming Withdrawal of Earswick Development Land

May 21, 2015

After a long and hard fought campaign, Julian has joined local ward Councillors Paul Doughty and Helen Douglas in welcoming a developers’ decision to withdraw a 240 acre block of land to the east of Earswick from the Local Plan process.

Council Officials have confirmed today the receipt of a letter from O’Neill Associates, acting on behalf of developers Thirteen Group, Strata and Southdale Homes, which explains their desire to withdraw their proposal from consideration through the Local Plan process. The Council will still be following the matter up with the individual landowners to try to confirm their position on the land, but in the meantime Julian and Councillors Doughty and Douglas have welcomed the news as a very positive step forward.

The site, which sits firmly within the greenbelt, had been earmarked as land “safeguarded” for the long term future development of over 2000 homes, for delivery most likely post-2030.  From the outset, Julian and the local Councillors have been at the forefront of the campaign against this proposal. Their concerns centre over the massive loss of greenbelt land the scheme would entail and the fact that the 2000 homes proposed would subsume the existing village, which comprises a mere 400 houses.

When first announced, Julian and Councillor Doughty hosted a public meeting in the village which led to the creation of the action group, Keep Earswick Rural. Since then, the group, which includes Councillor Doughty, has coordinated a community campaign against the proposal and worked closely with Julian, holding regular meetings.

Commenting Julian said:

“This is very welcome news indeed for local residents in Earswick, who throughout this process have shown determination and a real unity of purpose in campaigning against the proposal.

“The Local Plan has suffered setback after setback in recent months, with the revised population projections, the Inspector’s criticism of a very similar Local Plan in Durham and the Secretary of State’s rejection of the plans to build 102 houses on the greenbelt north of Strensall. And it is hardly surprising since the whole thing has been built on such shaky foundations.

“I feel this latest development is yet another example of the need for major revisions to the Plan moving forward and I am glad that we have a new political administration in the Council who are committed to bringing about the change that is clearly needed.”

In a joint statement, Councillor Doughty and his new ward colleague Councillor Douglas said:

“We are delighted by this news and we wish to congratulate all those residents and action group members who have helped to bring it about. We will be paying close attention to events over the coming months, but this is an incredibly positive step forward for all those who want to see a Local Plan that better balances our housing needs with the need to protect our precious greenbelt.”