York Green Party

York planners' total contempt for the Green Belt

22 November 2013

York's Green group leader and planning committee member Andy D'Agorne has accused the rest of the committee and the council of 'complete disregard' for the green belt.

Councillor D'Agorne's outburst came after he was the only member of the committee to vote against development in the Green Belt at Northminster Business Park at a Planning Committee meeting last night.

The land in question has been identified in the emerging Local Plan as 'safeguarded' employment land that could be used for development in 15 years time if needed, yet was recommended for development now because of 'very special circumstances' which warrant overriding the allocations in the draft plan.

Cllr D'Agorne said "This approval brings into question the whole process that City of York Council is currently undertaking, to identify 'green belt' land that will be protected from development. The reasons given in the recommendation for 'very special circumstances outweighing the harm to the Green Belt' could be applied to any parcel of land that a developer chose to put forward to build on around York."

The Council has relaxed its Green Belt policies repeatedly, most famously for the Germany Beck housing development, Monk's Cross II and the University's massive expansion (mostly comprised of a business park) into Heslington East.

The reasons given for supporting the application [1] are that the site in question is more suitable than the land that is identified in the local plan - despite being further away from public transport facilities.

"This begs the question: what's the point of the local plan, then? On this basis, any sites in the draft local plan that have been identified as 'safeguarded' for the future could be approved at any point, if it suits a developer"

Councillor D'Agorne will now be pressing for Cllr Merrett (Cabinet member for Planning Transport and Sustainability) to explain how 'safeguarded' land will be protected from development in the short term.


  1. The planning report is available via the Council website - see page 37.

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