Consultation to begin on development plan for thousands of homes while protecting Green Belt in historic York

A consultation will begin tomorrow on a bid to introduce a council’s first formally-adopted Local Plan which is seen as key to addressing an affordable housing crisis in one of the country’s most historic cities.

An aerial view of the centre of York, with the city's Minster dominating the skyline. A consultation will begin on Tuesday, May 25, on York's proposed development blueprint, the Local Plan. (Picture: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire)

The proposals for the Local Plan for York have been hit by repeated delays with the Government intervening and warning the city council over its “persistent failures” to introduce a long-term vision for development.

A six-week public consultation will be launched by York Council on Tuesday, May 25, after the authority submitted proposals last month to formally define the boundaries of the city’s Green Belt for the first time in its history.

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Coun Nigel Ayre, the executive member for finance and performance who has responsibility for the Local Plan, said: “The Local Plan is one of the most significant strategic documents for York, as it will determine how our city develops over the next 15 years.

"It’s absolutely essential that we deliver a plan that addresses the local pressures in our housing market, including the regeneration of brownfield sites, but at the same time, guarantees the protection of the Green Belt and York’s natural beauty.”

The proposed Local Plan is set to deliver land for 8,277 homes up to 2032 and 2,540 properties for the five years up to 2037. It will replace a plan that was approved in 2005 but never formally adopted.

The development blueprint does, however, need to be backed by the Government, and inspectors will hold evidence sessions in the autumn. Further sessions are due early next year before it is hoped the plan will be adopted by the winter of 2022.

The council was warned in 2018 by the-then Communities Secretary Sajid Javid over its “persistent failure” to finalise a Local Plan.

In June last year, The Yorkshire Post reported how the council had faced criticism for “intrinsic flaws” in the methodology used to decide the area which should be designated as protected Green Belt land.

If it is given the go-ahead, the Local Plan will be the first city-wide development brief to be adopted for York since 1956.

The Local Plan is seen as crucial to addressing the lack of affordable homes across York, which is one of the most desirable locations to live in the north of England.

The average property price in York is £270,249 although the average wage in the city is just £30,410, according to the latest data from the National Housing Federation.

The figures show that the average cost of a home in the Yorkshire and the Humber is £192,437.

Details of the consultation are available at www.york.gov.uk/LocalPlanConsultation.