Local Plan for York under consideration


Plans for future investment in housing and infrastructure are being debated by the local council

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Image by Billy Wilson

By Gracie Daw

The City of York Council is considering a new Local Plan for the city which will “provide a framework to guide development and protect the quality of the city’s unique historic, natural and built environment, determining how York develops over the next 15 years and beyond.”

The Local Plan was initially submitted to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on 25 May 2018 and has since been subject to various consultations and adjustments before it enters its final phase this month. There will be a consultation on final modifications in February and March, after which the final plan will be submitted to the inspectorate for approval.

The aims of the Local Plan are to create and protect a permanent greenbelt, support the creation of 18,000 homes, including over 4,000 new affordable homes. Based upon a quantification of the proportion of affordable houses that could be built by 2033, the council has set a target of 45 percent.

The plan will also support new transport infrastructure investment, create up to six new schools, provide more opportunities for employment sites, support the expansion of the University of York, invest in brownfield sites and provide the policies needed to reflect climate change ambition. The Local Plan, if approved, will be the first plan that the city has had in over 60 years.

Councillor Nigel Ayre, the Executive Member for Finance, with responsibility for the Local Plan said that: “This is a robust and sound plan, which will ensure York is able to deliver the housing, jobs, growth and facilities our city needs, whilst also protecting the city’s unique character, green belt and natural beauty.”

The City of York Council have also shared a draft Community Infrastructure Levy which is a charge that local authorities can raise on new developments in their area and can be used to support key infrastructure delivery. It would allow for greater flexibility than existing (S106) agreements to choose which infrastructure projects will be funded to deliver the Local Plan. S106 agreements are open to negotiation, whereas the Community Infrastructure Levy would provide developers with greater clarity as it is non-negotiable.

This move is designed to help support development across the city of York. The last draft Local Plan for the city of York was in 2005 for management development purposes. As is legally mandated, this Local Plan has to be reviewed and updated at regular intervals in order to ensure the continued quality of York’s unique historic, natural and built environment. Unlike many cities, York has the added challenge of development in a historic city.

Councillor Ayre added that “With the Local Plan now entering its final stage, it’s crucial we create the right approach to delivering the homes and business space set out in the plan.

“The Community Infrastructure Levy will enable us to deliver the right infrastructure for the local community alongside the new homes that York needs to support our city growing in a sustainable way.”