A controversial development on the site of the former gas works site on Heworth Green has been given the go ahead by councillors – after the planning committee was split on the vote.
The planning meeting heard developers North Star had agreed to reduce the number of flats planned for the site – from 625 to 607 – and a seventh storey on block B2 has been removed, with the sixth storey set back to improve the looks of the building.
The committee was told this has not cut the number of affordable homes planned for the site. And that there is a “viability issue” with the land because it will be expensive to clear, with a number of previous development plans not progressing.
But residents voiced serious worries about the scheme – including the impact of extra traffic and a loss of privacy for neighbours.
Sets a precedent
Resident Sara Ma told the meeting: “I also ask you to consider how desperately we need family homes that can be owned by the people that live in them and create a community that is invested and passionate about the local area.”
The plans are for 607 built to rent flats.
Cllr Bob Webb warned traffic could affect the whole city.
And he said:
York has a family housing crisis and importantly a crisis of affordability.
This development could set a precedent, it says that this size is OK.
But Cllr Nigel Ayre said there is a need for apartments for key workers – and the site is near the hospital.
He suggested the plans be approved. Seven voted for and seven against – with the chair casting the deciding vote for the scheme.
Vibrant new community
A spokesman for the developers speaking after the meeting said they have worked with the council to and will be working on the detailed plans.
They will be starting work to clean up the site as soon as possible.
He said: “We’ve worked constructively with the council over many months to get to this stage and we will be starting the infrastructure works to clean up the site as soon as possible.
“It’s a major investment to bring this site forward and transform it into a vibrant new community and we will now work on the specific details of the scheme, following this outline approval.”