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Geoff Beacon is putting up £100 of his own money for the best guess as to how many millions could be given away by the York Local Plan. Here he explains why

Following a previous version of the York Local Plan,  I wrote York’s great £1 billion giveaway for YorkMix. A billion pounds was my estimate of how much those plans would have gifted the owners of land designated for development.

Although a dedicated researcher can find out who benefits from planning permission, it’s hard work. The planning system is not very transparent on financial aspects – despite all the local plan consultations and publicity.

We really need to know where the enormous sums go, if we are to work out why our children or grandchildren can no longer afford to live in York.

A plot of land big enough to put houses on could cost £500 at agricultural prices – but planning permission makes it worth over £50,000. And that’s before any development has taken place.

Two ways to help

York – a changing city. Photograph © Bing Maps
York – a changing city. Photograph © Bing Maps

To attempt to gain more transparency on this issue, I have started a petition on the City of York Council website.

It calls on the authority to publish the identity of any landowners who stand to gain more than £1 million from the granting of planning permission for developments in the city.

Readers could help in two ways.

1. Firstly,  of course, sign the petition. It is here on the York Council website.

2. Estimate the size of the giveaway for the latest version of the local plan. This is more demanding so I am putting up £100 for the best estimate with a good short explanation.

The council’s New Local Plan pages may help – a little bit.

Each entry will be put into a draw for a further prize of £50. Send entries to yorkcompetition@townplan.org

And anybody keen to be a judge for the competition, please email. If too many apply, the judges may be chosen at random from applicants.

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