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September 2016 – Update and comments on the draft Local Plan

15 September 2016

There really shouldn’t be nearly a year’s gap since the last update, but then that’s the perils of the chair having a day job, and at the same time trying to push forward specific local initiatives like My Future York. Anyway, hopefully all in the outside world will be relieved to hear that York Environment Forum has been working well over this period, with plenty of dialogue with the council, One Planet York and other local bodies.

In particular we’ve been much occupied with the draft Local Plan. A number of members have attended stakeholder and community meetings, and we have had presentations from council officers to seek feedback from members. We have made the following comments on the current draft, specifically in respect of land allocation:-

“York Environment Forum has two strategic comments on the proposed sites for future housing development which are broadly supported by most of our diverse membership.

The first is that density of development on the proposed sites should in general be higher. The city should look to examples elsewhere of higher-density (but not high rise) development and use these examples to illustrate to the public what kind of buildings and spaces might result. Development at greater density is generally more sustainable; in addition to a more efficient use of land, travel distances can be reduced and public transport becomes more efficient.

The second is that we believe development of peripheral sites should be concentrated into one substantial community of sufficient size to support a full range of community facilities, and could support the investment in infrastructure which would be required to make any development on the edge of the city sustainable. The current proposal for Elvington aerodrome is of insufficient scale for this to be the case; it is suggested that something in the region of 5,000 new homes would be a more successful target. The siting of this should be investigated and we do not have specific preference other than to note two points:- (i) that development to the north or west of the city would be likely to increase traffic on the singe-carriageway ring road and lead to worsened congestion, and (ii) that choice of site should minimise disruption or loss of areas of biodiversity and should focus on areas of lower environmental value – whatever the issues of current Green Belt designation.

York Environment Forum looks forward to ongoing participation in the process of planning for the future of the city and urges the council to maintain a full and open debate”

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