Local democracy during coronavirus

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Agenda item

Have your say




An opportunity was given for residents to raise any issues or concerns they may have in respect of the wards. The following issues were raised:


i) Residents asked councillors if any more information was available about the proposed new development Holme Hill. It was noted that a Parish Council meeting had taken place the previous week, which had discussed this matter in depth.


Councillor Levene explained that as part of the council’s Local Plan, a call had been put out to local landowners for sites, and that Lord Halifax had offered up almost all of his land for sale, and that part of this had been marked for the development of a new village, “Holme Hill”. Councillor Levene acknowledged the concerns of residents about this large development in close proximity to Heslington village.


Questions were raised about the process which would now take place. Councillor Levene explained there was a draft plan for consultation, and a working group would be meeting to discuss this on Monday 22nd April to discuss, before making recommendations to Cabinet. Following these recommendations, the plan would be available for public consultation.


Residents raised concerns about access from the development site, and noted that there could be a serious issue with increased construction traffic and other traffic through the village as a result. Councillor Levene noted that he did not have full details of the proposals but that he would look into this matter further. He noted, however, that the Highways Agency had been consulted in relation to the Holme Hill plan, and that the proposal included the development of an additional ring road junction. Residents asked for assurance that no private traffic would be allowed to use Common Lane into Heslington village, and Councillor Levene agreed to confirm whether this had been agreed.


Residents then asked if the greenbelt status of land surrounding the village still remained for the time being, and Councillor Levene confirmed that this was the case. He noted that the National Planning Framework which had recently been introduced, would make it easier to build on greenbelt land if there was a strong argument for development, so it was important to officially define this land within the 18 month time limit to prevent any future development from going ahead.


Residents asked if there was a confirmed time limit on the consultation period. Councillor Levene noted that the plan and recommendations from the working party would go to Cabinet on 30th April, and he believed that the consultation period would start following this meeting. He agreed to look into this further, and confirm the consultation deadline to residents as soon as possible. It was noted that consultations of this sort usually lasted around eight weeks, and that this would be the only opportunity for residents to formally challenge the proposals.


Residents asked if there had been any preliminary work on road access, as there would be a potential addition of more than 7,000 cars using the A19 into York as a result of this development. Councillors noted they did not have any details of a preliminary study being done.


Residents felt that serious analysis of the potential impact of the development needed to be done before any further work took place. Residents asked for more information on the timeframe and cost of the council’s purchase of land, and Councillor Levene agreed to investigate this and report back.


Residents raised the issue of flood plain land being included in the proposed development areas. Councillor Levene noted that the council were aware of the potential issue.


With regards to Fulford, Cllr Aspden reported that the proposed Local Plan would remove the Fordlands Road area from the greenbelt and the Designer Outlet was earmarked for further leisure development.  He also noted that if housing targets are doubled from previous plans then green belt land would be threatened and difficulties would arise such as those outlined with the Holme Hill development.  Cllr Levene added that an increased housing target is necessary for the Local Plan to be accepted by the Planning Inspector.


Residents were encouraged to respond to the consultation with any concerns and issues, particularly in light of the serious level of impact the development was likely to have on Heslington village and its residents.


Residents then asked for further information on the list of sites which had not been chosen for development, and reasons why. Councillor Levene agreed to investigate and report back.


ii) It was noted that formal ward committees would be known as Residents’ Forums from now on. Councillors explained the intention to work to use the time for meaningful discussion with residents once per year, but to hold more regular meetings with community group representatives and Parish Councils throughout the year.


iii) Residents asked if there was any explanation for the road changes in Heslington being put on hold.


Councillors explained that there had been no justification for the changes at this time in terms of traffic issues, but that the situation would be monitored, and the plan revisited in the future if action seemed to be required.


Residents asked if the university would still be responsible for funding the cost of the alterations if they did not take place this year. Councillor Levene confirmed that the agreement regarding university funding could be extended with mutual consent by both parties. He further noted that he was happy to obtain this assurance in writing to clarify.


It was noted that annual traffic surveys would continue.


iv) Residents were made aware of the Fishergate, Fulford & Heslington Local History Group.  It was noted that a website was available, and that flyers had been brought to the meeting for residents to take away. The group meets around once per month, usually at St Oswald’s Church Hall, and all were welcome to join if interested.



There being no other business, the Chair thanked everyone for coming and closed the meeting at 8.15pm.




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