Project unveiled for 1,300 homes on sugar factory site

A MASTERPLAN to build nearly 1,300 homes at York's former British Sugar site in one of the biggest housing development schemes ever in the city has been unveiled to the public.

York Council yesterday revealed its plans for the new eco-settlement at the site of the former factory, which closed in 2007, and the nearby site of the former Manor School, in Acomb, which will include 1,291 homes, new sport, education and community facilities and green spaces.

The proposals will now go before public consultation before a planning application to redevelop the brownfield site is submitted next year.

It is hoped they will help address a critical shortage in affordable housing in the city with around 3,000 people currently on waiting lists for homes.

Coun Steve Galloway, executive member for city strategy, said: "Clearly we have got significant waiting lists and any new provision of affordable homes is welcome.

"In the end we are hoping to build around 1,300 homes with the initial ones of a very high environmental standard.

"This is not going to completely satisfy that demand but if the British Sugar site is re-developed it will make a significant contribution to demand for housing in the city."

North Yorkshire is currently facing a crisis in affordable housing with average house prices almost 210,000 while average earnings last year were less than 19,000.

The gross annual income required for a mortgage in North Yorkshire is almost 54,000.

Coun James Alexander, leader of York Council's Labour opposition group, says despite the new scheme, not enough is still being done in York.

He said: "York is in dire need for affordable housing for local people and I hope this scheme will go some way to help provide some of this.

"There has been a real lack of affordable homes in York.

"Demand has increased with no significant increase in supply and this has pushed up house prices beyond what the average family can afford."

Residents can comment on the plans, which are available online at www.york.gov.uk/environment/Planning/Local_development_framework/britishsugar/ until January 26.