More than 600 new homes will be built at sites across York in the next five years as part of a bid to make it easier for healthcare workers, teachers and people on low-incomes to get on the housing ladder.

Forty per cent of the housing will be affordable homes – with shared ownership schemes meaning first time buyers could put down a deposit as small as £1,750 on a one-bedroom apartment.

Under the plans, City of York Council will build homes at eight council-owned sites:

  • the former Manor School
  • the former Clifton Without Primary School
  • the former Duncombe Barracks
  • Burnholme
  • the former Woolnough House care home
  • Ordnance Lane and Hospital Fields Road
  • the former Askham Bar park and ride
  • and Lowfield Green.

Cllr Ian Gillies, leader of the council, said it will be the biggest housing delivery programme in the city since the 1970s. He added:

  • We want all residents to feel they can make the city their home.

    This is a positive move by this administration. We are not going to change the world overnight, it’s the first step of several to try to improve the conditions of house buying for those on a low-income level.

He said that building homes for people who work in key services, such as health, education and the police, is vital to the success of the city.

‘A game-changer’

The sites, clockwise from far left: Manor School, Clifton Without Primary School, Duncombe Barracks, Burneholme, Woolnough House, Ordnance Lane/Hospital Fields, Askham Bar and Lowfield Green. Image: City of York Council
Tom Brittain, assistant director of housing at the council, added that some of the homes could be marketed directly to people working in those professions.

Cllr Jenny Brooks, executive member for housing, said: “We know that the city faces significant pressure within it’s housing market. York is an attractive place to live.

“But for many home ownership is an aspiration rather than a reality. Clearly something needs to be done.


“It is a game-changer. There’s going to be 40 per cent affordable homes, that will become available for people who can’t get on the housing ladder. If you only have a small deposit, that will be a game-changer for those people.

“People like to work in York but can’t afford to live here. We are going to attract health workers, care workers and teachers here with affordable houses.”

Meeting demand

Planning applications are expected to be submitted for the Burnholme, former Askham Bar park and ride and Duncombe Barracks sites this year.

And building work will start at Lowfield Green in March.

A report prepared for the executive says the programme will deliver 20 per cent new council housing, 20 per cent low cost homes and 60 per cent market value homes.

But the type of homes on each site will be determined by the location and size of the site, with a separate business case prepared for each development. The report says smaller sites are likely to have higher levels of council housing while larger sites would have a mix.

The report says: “The mix of house types and tenures offered through the programme will ensure that the housing needs of a broader range of York residents are met — from those in the most acute need, to key workers and young families looking to get on the property ladder, and older people wishing to downsize.”

Older people

The old Manor School buildings on Low Poppleton Lane, pictured in 2016. Photograph © Google Street View
The programme will also help to provide independent living homes for older people, with the number of residents aged 75 or older expected to increase by 50 per cent by 2030.

A council spokeswoman said under the shared ownership scheme, older people could use existing equity in their home to buy a 50 per cent share in a new bungalow for approximately £102,500, with monthly rental payments of about £250.


The new homes will be delivered by the council, rather than private developers, through the housing revenue account after the Government lifted a cap on borrowing.

Mr Brittain said that, while the homes will not be built by a council-owned housing development company, the local authority has not ruled out the possibility of forming a development company to deliver homes on bigger sites in the future.