Sam Maguire, YUSU President, has announced that he intends to start a campaign to convince City of York Council to approve proposed developments to Heslington East after they rejected plans for the work in December.
Maguire said: “We want to work with the councillors and get them down to Heslington East so that they understand the real need for these facilities.
“Hopefully they will then join us in speaking in favour of the plans when they are next heard at planning committee.
“Putting these plans into place is taking far too long and frankly it is a joke that they haven’t been sorted out already.”
The plans included the addition of a new supermarket and a large health centre, but they were rejected due to limitations on parking space near the Field Lane roundabout. They were resubmitted on 13 January.
The proposed changes would also see the Unity Health centre, currently based on Heslington West, relocated to Heslington East to a bigger unit with a built in pharmacy.
The old Unity Health centre building on Heslington West would become the new home of the nursery for the children of students studying at the University.
The plans were met with opposition from local neighbours who were not only concerned with the parking situation but also the potential for the addition of takeaway stores which may be necessary in order to make the development financially viable.
Alex Byron, President of Langwith College, called the Council’s decision “disappointing”.
He added: “It seems the Council have been put off by what are relatively minor issues – like parking spaces – and aren’t recognising the actual student need in retail and health terms.”
Byron went on to say: “It’s pretty bad that, with a daytime population of 4,000 students, the Council can’t agree to a small retail outlet.
“With the current [Health] Centre on Heslington West currently understaffed and oversubscribed, it’s increasingly clear that the council are just delaying what is frankly necessary.”
Byron will be working with Maguire to make sure the Council “hear what students have to say”. Over the next few weeks, they will be gathering signatures and student opinions to aid their campaign, and councillors will also be invited to “see the problem for themselves”.
Byron told Nouse: “The Council need to see that we’re not going to stay quiet about this one, no matter what it takes over the next few months, I know we’re determined to make this happen.”