York Green Party member Sebastian Butterworth attended the meeting of the Clementhorpe Community Association to discuss plans for the sale of Clementhorpe Maltings, along with Green Party Cllr Lars Kramm. Sebastian reports on the process and the Council’s disappointing final decision:
Clementhorpe Community Association held a meeting on Tuesday 2nd June to discuss the imminent sale of the historic Clementhorpe Maltings to local business developers Northminster.
The meeting was called to discuss plans for the maltings, one of few remaining in the country, to be sold by City of York Council to Northminster for an undisclosed fee before being made into six large town houses.
“We have an excellent working relationship with City of York Council”, Northminster’s Alistair Gill told York Press earlier this year, “and believe we have come up with a highly-innovative scheme which preserves the history of the building.”
It was unofficially reported that the Council sold the Maltings for just £67k – a figure that caused much consternation among local residents given that the six houses are expected to sell for a total of £1.7m.
Various other concerns were raised by the local residents, such as the lack of additional parking which is expected to be consumed by the already overburdened Lower Ebor Street and whether the new town houses would fit with the current architectural and cultural landscape.
The chief concerns, however, centred on the lack of any proper public consultation by the local council. Residents complained of being completely unaware of this proposed sale and development. There were no planning notices, no leafletting and no exposure within local press. This was a surprise to Northminster who have been “discussing this with the local council for two years.”
This lack of consultation over the sale of public land contravenes Section 98, Part 5 Chapter 3 of the Localism Act (2011), whereby, “The authority must, as soon after receiving the request as is practicable, either pass on the request to the owner of the land or inform the owner of the details of the request.”
It was also later revealed that the deal was subject to planning. This raised several eyebrows; the initial beneficiaries of this sale, City of York Council, now had to oversee objective planning permission.
The proposal went forward on Thursday 11th June, ending in a 5-2 vote by the planning subcommittee to grant planning permission to Northminster for converting the maltings into six family homes, rather than to explore community use options for the site. The possibility that the building could be listed as an Asset of Community Value (ACV), allowing local residents to make an offer on the site, was ruled out by the decision for planning permission to go ahead.