Planning decisions in city may be declared illegal

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THE European Commission has been asked to investigate claims that all major planning decisions by York Council since 2004 have been illegal – including its new community stadium project given the green light just days ago.

Independent Osbaldwick Councillor Mark Warters has formally complained to the European Commission that the local authority’s failure to adopt a local development framework breaches a 2001 directive.

Coun Warters claims permission for proposals including the new 6,000-seat community sports stadium to be used by York City Football Club and York City Knights rugby league team and huge retail development at Monks Cross, as well as the 540-home Derwenthorpe scheme, has been given without mandatory strategic environmental assessments being completed.

York Council’s proposed local development framework, which cost £1.1m to compile over six years, was withdrawn last month after a Government planning inspector raised concerns over the “potential soundness” of the strategy which was withdrawn after the Monks Cross development was approved.

The council has said changes to national planning policy also led to the decision to withdraw the core strategy, with the majority of the work to be used to support future plans in the city.

Yesterday, local authority chiefs denied suggestions that Coun Warters’ complaint would lead to delays over the new community stadium scheme.

Andy Docherty, head of legal services, said: “The council has a statutory duty to determine any planning applications made, that duty has not been overridden by the directive. It is incorrect to suggest otherwise.

“There is no reason to suggest that this will delay either the start or the completion of any major development schemes in the city which have been approved.”

A Freedom of Information request revealed earlier this month that about £1.1m was spent between March 2006 and March 2012 on the proposed local development framework.