York: Successful or in decline?

The current council administration inherited a City economy that had been transformed over the previous decade.

Diversification had made the City more resilient to changes in the national economy, unemployment levels were below national and regional levels, the property market was relatively buoyant while dozens of local development sites had been granted planning permission.

2 years later many of the sites with outstanding planning permission have stalled.

Derwenthorpe - One of York's few recent development  success stores

Derwenthorpe – One of York’s few recent development success stores

Only developments that had already started in 2011, have been pushed through to a conclusion. These include institutional development linked to an expanding higher education sector as well as some social housing at sites like Derwenthorpe.

In response, the Council appears to have adopted a headless chicken response, despatching ill defined missions to Korea, Paris, Cannes and China in an attempt to be seen to be doing something.

The £25,000 Cannes trip has been reported as producing “leads” to 30 potential investors – but no firm commitments.

You know politicians are getting desperate when they feel that they have to sloganise an initiative. So after “Get York Moving” (the City is still moving at much the same speed it has managed for the last 15 years) we now have “Get York Building”.

The initiative has been greeted with derision by many small builders who were cynically excluded from the talks which led up to its launch, while opposition Councillors have been excluded from the “Board” which has been formed to oversee it.

So where are we with key development sites in the City?

This is a summary.

Monks Cross South (retail and new Stadium) – Delayed by 6 months (Great Crested Newts) . Unlikely to open before 2015 (retail) and 2016 (stadium)

Hungate – Developers unable to proceed with stage 2 because of onerous planning conditions

Germany Beck – In delay due to court action. Unlikely to start until 2014 at earliest.

Derwenthorpe – Phase 1 completed. No confirmation of when remaining phases will be started.

York Central – stalled

Castle – Piccadilly – stalled

University of York – Heslington East – on schedule

Terry’s stalled. Site on market for sale again

Nestlé South – stalled

British Sugar – Slow progress. No planning application expected before autumn

House building still falling in York

The Council is obliged to produce an “Annual Monitoring Review” which looks at how it’s performance compares to its targets.

The latest available is for the 2011/12 year. It can be viewed here.

The number of homes completed in the City in each of the last 10 years is as follows

House building, Norfolk

2003 – 669
2004 – 1193
2005 – 949
2006 – 875
2007 – 557
2008 – 502
2009 – 606
2010 – 572
2011 – 354
2012 – 171 (first 6 months excluding specialist student units)

Of the 171 only 29 were classified as “affordable”.

The Cabinet member with responsibility for housing in the City is expected to come under pressure at the Council meeting later this week.

She will have to explain why it looks like the total number of affordable homes provided will be the lowest for at least 6 years.

At the same time the waiting list for homes has reached an all time high.

Planning permissions granted for home construction fell to only 198 in 2011. The Council have declined to forecast what the outturn for the current financial year will be.

Some commentators are forecasting that the number of (unimplemented) planning permissions will fall to an all time record low this year.

As at September 2011 the figure stood at 3120.

Tomorrow we’ll look at which of these permissions are on stalled developments and why.

2 new planning applications in Dringhouses area

Two local planning applications were received by the Council last week in the Dringhouses Ward.

Full details can be found by clicking the reference below or by quoting the application reference on the “planning portal” web site.

Representations can be made in favour or in opposition to any application via the above web site.

NB. The Council now no longer routinely consults neighbours by letter when an application is received.

Ref No: 12/03572/FUL Location: 4 Slingsby Grove York YO24 1LS Proposal: Erection of two storey dwelling to rear Applicant: Mr & Mrs Lo Contact Christopher C Dent Consultation Expiry Date 8 April 2013 Case Officer: Jonathan Kenyon Expected Decision DEL

Ref No: 13/00538/FUL Location: 290A Tadcaster Road York YO24 1ET Proposal: First floor and two storey extension to side, single storey extension to link cottage to main house Applicant: Mr And Mrs Lewis Contact Ms Kate MacNeill Consultation Expiry Date 10 April 2013 Case Officer: Carolyn Howarth Expected Decision Level DEL

Now secrecy engulfs planning applications in York

Labour Councillors have said that in future neighbours will NOT receive a notification from the Council about any planning applications that they receive.

Instead they will depend on residents seeing the notices which should be displayed on a nearby lamppost.

We think that such a system is highly fragile.

I will therefore outinelyreport on this web site the applications received, for the Dringhouses and Woodthorpe Ward, each week. Most are likely to be routine domestic extensions, many of which are likely to be uncontroversial.

Full details can be found by quoting the application reference on the “planning portal” web site. Click here.

The Council is also scrapping one of its three planning committees.

The applications received this week are:


Greenbelt Update


Thank you to all the residents who took the trouble to take part in the Council’s summer survey about City’s the Local Development Framework. In total, approximately 3,000 people took part in the consultation by attending events or responding to the questionnaire with 86% of respondents supported the LDF Vision and key themes for York.

The results of the opinion survey were very significant with residents backing the Liberal Democrat line that central government is expecting too many new homes to be built in the City over the next 20 years. 58% of respondents agree with us that 850 new homes a year is too high, particularly towards the end of the plan period when we need to scale down growth to a sustainable level.

Read the rest of this entry.