Labour councillors from Holgate Ward are joining residents in urging City of York Council (CYC) to be fair and transparent in its effort to consult on the latest planning application for the York Central development. Given the huge scale of the plans, and the obstacles which lockdown presents to engaging with the public at this time, especially those without access to the internet, ward councillors’ concerns have been flagged up following enquiries to the council’s Planning Department.
In response to questions sent by Holgate Ward Councillors, CYC has confirmed that they have sent out notification letters to 447 households to explain that a consultation on the application is now open. This number represents less than a quarter of around 2000 homes situated in and around the site.
Holgate councillor David Heaton argues that the effort to notify residents is far too narrow for such a significant planning application and a scheme that will change the landscape and traffic flow of the area for years to come.
“This is not about being for or against the York Central development,” he said, “but about CYC as the Local Planning Authority being fair and transparent with residents. Given the lockdown, it’s unrealistic and unfair to expect those who haven’t been made aware of the consultation to stumble across one of the notices dotted about.
“At first, letters were sent out in what looks like a scattered approach to a quarter of households in and around the site. We asked for more in order to reflect the numbers of affected households, and have been told that they’ll now send a few more out to those bordering the access routes, but this still leaves huge numbers, from Poppleton Road Primary School right through the Leeman Road area, missed out.
“Everyone who knows about York Central knows that its impact will be felt not just by those bordering the site, but change life as we know it for its immediate communities. We expect better than this from the council and hope it will now do the right and fair thing.”
The way the consultation has been handled has also alienated local residents. Mark Douglas, who lives in nearby Kingsland Terrace commented: “How the council expects anyone to believe that the only people worth contacting about this consultation are those whose homes literally look onto the site is beyond me. Not everyone is online, it’s going to transform this area, and the council should be letting every community in this part of York know that the consultation is happening.”
Having gained final sign off on outline permission for the overall scheme in December last year, this first detailed application by the York Central Partnership (YCP) covers the main infrastructure works to unlock the so-called “tear drop” site. Among other items it includes detailed plans for a new junction off Water End as the main connection to the site, a pedestrian and cycle bridge running along the east side of the current Water End bridge, a bridge over Millennium Green and the East Coast Mainline, coming from the above junction and an access road through the site enabled by the bridge. The application also details changes to the Leeman Road spur and Marble Arch tunnel.
The consultation runs until Wednesday 27th May. For those who want to examine it in detail and have their say, it can be accessed online at: http://tiny.cc/bkkdoz