The 700 homes set to be built on the ex-Heworth Gasworks site is more than double the number proposed for the land in York’s draft Local Plan.
And neighbours fear the size of the scheme will heap pressure on nearby schools and doctors’ surgeries, as well as clogging up roads.
A planning application has been submitted for up to 704 homes to be built at the nine-acre site. City of York Council’s draft Local Plan – which details where and what type of homes will be built across the city – allocates 336 homes for the land.
Sara Ma, of Hawthorn Grove Residents Group said:
While residents support the site being regenerated, the development has to be appropriate and must meet the needs of the local community.
“York needs family homes and not huge quantities of expensive flats piled high and targeted at investors.
Of the 704 homes, 407 would be one bedroom apartments and 66 would be studio flats.
Heworth councillor Bob Webb raised concerns about the size of the blocks – saying some are six-storeys – and added: “York does need more homes but these need to be for young families, they need to be affordable and they need to be integrated with the rest of the city, not stick out like a sore-thumb.”
But a spokesman for developers North Star said their scheme will bring derelict land back into use and create “much needed high-quality new homes”.
Previous planning permissions on this site were simply not viable or deliverable, and were not able to come forward in the biggest housing boom we have had for many years.
The masterplan has been designed so it is sympathetic to the area and respects the local environment. It’s a well located and sustainable brownfield site – exactly the kind that politicians from all parties in York have been calling for to be delivered.
He added that it’s a complex site and there are extra costs involved in making it safe for development.
Little that’s affordable
The council said it is unable to comment on the Local Plan, which is with inspectors. But Cllr Denise Craghill, executive member for housing, said she has concerns about the size and impact of the scheme.
She said: “The number of flats being applied for is way above the number allocated in the Local Plan and there are worries about the impact this will have on local infrastructure including traffic levels.
“It is true that the site is in a very sustainable location close to the city centre but I would like to see very strong assurances through the planning process that this will indeed be a low car development as the applicants suggest. This whole area of the city is becoming saturated with traffic.”
Cllr Craghill added:
The fact that the applicants appear to be proposing very low levels of affordable housing below the 20 per cent required is also a matter for concern.
The costs of developing the site were well known before it was purchased and I can see no reason why the 20 per cent shouldn’t be reached with a variety of tenure and property types.