Labour used the first full council meeting of the new administration to push for meaningful change to the planning process to ensure planning applications in future reflect the city’s 2030 carbon neutral target.
Labour have committed to meeting the target, along with the Greens and the Liberal Democrats, meaning that 42 of the authorities 47 councillors have given their commitment. Micklegate councillor Jonny Crawshaw proposed the motion, seeking changes to planning rules, in order to achieve the target. This includes ensuring that any new developments, particularly those delivering at scale and in sustainable locations must be net contributors to the city’s carbon neutral strategy.
Ways of achieving this include ensuring that construction methods, materials and design standards, including energy efficiency, contribute to achieving a low carbon development, and ensuring that future developments are designed with low car use in mind wherever possible. The motion called for Supplementary Planning Documents and other legislative tools to be amended as soon as possible in order to reflect these concepts.
Cllr Crawshaw said: “We all support the 2030 target but recognise that it is hugely ambitious and significant changes will be required to make it happen. We live in an old city and that further complicates things. It is therefore vital that any new developments are as environmentally friendly as they can possibly be. With several large scale projects on the horizon or in planning, the planning process is a key area that council must focus on to ensure both the public and developers understand that we are serious about York becoming carbon neutral. It is vital that we have the legal tools at our disposal to underpin our ambitions, particularly in relation to larger scale planning applications.”
The York Central development, which could be hit by delays due to expected Government funding not yet having materialised, should be a major focus for any changes to the planning process, given its sustainable location and long build-out period.
Holgate ward councillor Rachel Melly, representing the area in which York Central will be built, said: “Holgate stands to be significantly impacted by the current York Central proposal, with major concerns expressed by residents on the forecasted increase in traffic in the area. The site lends itself to being well served by public transport and low-car in design. Many other urban developments so well located have shown that they don’t have to be dependent on the car, if designed with the future in mind.
“Technological advances will in time make the car a cleaner form of transport, but what that won’t do is reduce congestion, which will only get worse if York Central is developed in line with its outline planning approval. That remains a worry and is something we will continue to challenge as Holgate ward councillors”.