Planning strategy withdrawn as stadium progresses

A LONG-TERM planning vision for York has been withdrawn amid concerns over the impact of a controversial retail development and community stadium on the outskirts of the city.

York Council announced yesterday it had decided to withdraw the Local Development Framework’s (LDF) core strategy after spending seven years working on the key document.

A Government planning inspector, David Vickery, raised concerns over the “potential soundness” of the strategy and whether ambitious housebuilding targets for 800 homes a year will be met.

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The council’s deputy chief executive Bill Woolley, who is also director of city and environmental services, confirmed the decision to withdraw the planning document had been taken after the Monks Cross development was approved earlier this month.

A council spokeswoman said that while work on the LDF’s core strategy had begun in 2005, the exact cost so far had yet to be finalised.

York Council’s cabinet member for city and environmental services, Councillor Dave Merrett, maintained that changes to national planning policy had also led to the decision to withdraw the core strategy.

The Government has announced that LDFs are due to be replaced with over-arching Local Plans which will provide one document to set out planning policies.

Coun Merrett said: “Withdrawing and a producing a revised core strategy or local plan will enable us to re-look at how we deliver our housing, economic development and job creation ambitions.

“The council administration, local circumstance and the LDF evidence base, and the new national planning policy framework are all now significantly different to when this process began seven years ago.

“The withdrawal offers us the opportunity to present a strategy or plan that is more explicit in how the city develops today, and we will ensure this work is completed in the shortest possible timescale.”

Councillors approved a planning application on May 17 for the Monks Cross scheme which will create a 6,000-seat community sports stadium to become the new home of York City Football Club and York City Knights rugby league team.

A contentious retail scheme at Monks Cross for showpiece retailers including Marks & Spencer and John Lewis, which opponents claim will harm city centre trade, will help finance the stadium with nearly £15m.