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Julian Sturdy - Strong Voice for York Outer

Julian Sturdy

Conservative Party Candidate for York Outer
Any reference to Julian Sturdy being a Member of Parliament on this website predates the dissolution of Parliament and the 2024 General Election campaign

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York Press column: All action ahead of Easter

York Press column: All action ahead of Easter

It has been a jam-packed couple of weeks since my last column where I had an opportunity to reflect on the Chancellor’s Budget. I want to begin by highlighting the fantastic news that inflation has dropped to 3.4 per cent – the lowest in two and a half years. When the Prime Minister came to

Julian works with Parkinson’s UK

This week in Parliament, Julian had a really positive meeting with Laura from Parkinson’s...

Julian meets with Minister to discuss Renters (Reform) Bill

Alongside Andy Simpson of York Residential Lettings Association, Julian met with Jacob Young MP...

Julian supports Dogs Trust plea to end puppy smuggling

Julian has pledged his support on the issue of puppy smuggling today at a...

Julian’s York Press Column: York’s New Local Plan

September 1, 2016

There are good reasons why many MPs decide not to involve themselves in any planning matters. Individual planning applications are often controversial and opinion is frequently split within communities. But when it comes to wider strategic planning for future housing, and particularly the development of Local Plans, I believe that MPs should engage with residents as much as possible and not shy away from the difficult issues that arise as a result.

York has not had a recognisable Local Plan since the 1950’s, and one of the main reasons for this is because it is a very difficult political issue. Agreeing where new housing developments should go over the next twenty years will always cause some controversy, but having an agreed Local Plan does have some significant benefits; it gives permanency to the green belt, it discourages developers from making speculative planning applications around the city, and it allows for a broader strategic view to where housing development should go.

It is crucial that York takes the opportunity to strike the right balance between local housing need and the protection of our green belt and rural communities. I was very critical of the previous Labour administration and their draft Local Plan which I felt allocated far too much land for development. In 2013 they proposed to build 22,000 new houses around York, with 14,000 on green belt land and an additional 11,900 on land safeguarded for future development. This rightly caused uproar across York, and since the local elections in 2015 the Conservative-led Council have been redrafting the Plan after reviewing the evidence base behind the housing figures. Along with many residents I waited with great anticipation to see their new proposals map.

I am pleased to see the overall figures come down to a much more sensible level, falling to 10,800 new homes over the life of the Plan. Moreover, it is good to see that all of the safeguarded land has been removed. I believe that the principle of ‘safeguarding’ land for future development is unwise because developers may be able to exercise pressure on local authorities to bring sites forward because there is already a precedent set for agreeing development in an area. I am also delighted that the Council has seen sense and removed all of the inappropriate travellers’ sites that were proposed by the previous administration. The demand was never truly there, and I always felt this was more about ideology than common sense.

Despite the Local Plan’s positive direction of travel I appreciate that some residents across York Outer will still be very concerned by the proposals in their area. The Council is currently holding a public consultation on their Preferred Sites map, and I would encourage York residents to provide feedback on the changes and any sites where they might have concerns.

There are some areas that I continue to be uncomfortable with, especially in the north of York. In my view the housing allocations in Haxby and Wigginton have not been reduced in line with some of the other large sites. Haxby and Wigginton have already taken a large amount of development over the past few decades, and infrastructure issues remain a key concern in the area. I am holding a public meeting for local residents at the Haxby and Wigginton Methodist Church on Saturday 3rd September between 9.30-11am with Council Leader David Carr, and I am encouraging people with concerns or questions about the proposals in the area to come along and take the opportunity to discuss them in an open forum.

The impact which developments such as this have on local infrastructure should also not be underestimated. As I am sure most readers will know from personal experience, York’s Outer Ring Road is already plagued with capacity problems, and further development will only exacerbate the issue. I have been working closely with the Council in submitting its bid to the Local Majors Fund to assist with preparatory work for upgrading the A1237, and I am also hosting a debate in Parliament on Tuesday 6th September on Transport Infrastructure in York where I plan to highlight this issue with the Transport Minister.