York plans hailed as sign of “developer confidence”

Key plans to transform part of the former Terry’s chocolate factory in York will be back under the spotlight this week amid claims the re-use of a significant site is evidence of “developer confidence” in the city.

The former Terry's factory in York

Senior councillors will debate whether to back officers’ recommendations and back the proposals to create 240 homes on the site in the latest stage of the project despite some objections from local residents.

Proposals will be debated in a week which will also see members of York Council’s cabinet hear the latest on its wider planning blueprint which will be used to shape future development and which has sparked disagreement over the number of homes needed. A private seminar was recently held, chaired by Adam Dodgshon from the Planning Advisory Service, to enable councillors to ask questions to try to find a way forward for the local plan.

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In a letter to the council’s cabinet, which meets tomorrow, Mr Dodgshon warns councillors: “The importance of having a plan in place really can’t be overemphasised. Without it, local control and management of development is not possible...”

Ex-York Council leader James Alexander recently quit his role after weeks of bitter politics in York which has seen the ruling Labour group become a minority administration following the defection of councillors and angry exchanges over the city’s local plan and the trial closure of Lendal Bridge to private cars.

In his final report he called on opposition parties to thrash out a deal with Labour on housing. York’s proposed local plan initially included land for 22,000 homes over 15 years, later reduced to 17,000.

It is envisaged further work will be carried out and it is anticipated this will be followed by a further report which will outline a way forward for the local plan.

David Wilson Homes wants permission to build 79 houses and 161 flats in the second phase of plans for the former Terry’s site which will be discussed by members of the council’s planning committee on Thursday. Officers are recommending councillors back the plans and recommend their approval subject to conditions being agreed saying they represent the reuse of a significant site.

“The proposals would lead to the reuse of a significant site of wider townscape importance for the city for housing, partially fulfilling targets for housing provision emphasised in the National Planning Policy Framework,” a report says.

Objectors raise concerns the proposed apartment blocks would harm the “visual amenity of the wider street scene” and local services will be unable to cope with extra residents.

But Coun David Levene, York Council’s cabinet member for transport, planning and economic development said: “It’s clearly positive news for the York economy and a reflection of developer confidence in the city to see this application come forward for 240 new homes on the former Terry’s site, a site we are keen to see brought back into use.”