Local democracy during coronavirus

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Agenda item

Have Your Say


Cllr Steward (CS)welcomed everyone to the meeting and explained that it was a ward committee meeting. As the majority of residents had come to the meeting regarding the proposals in the Local Plan it was agreed to take this as the first item on the agenda under Have Your Say.


CS explained the background to the Local Plan which included a proposed traveller site in Knapton.

That it was a requirement for City of York to produce a Local Plan. That there would be an 8 week citywide consultation for residents to find out more and submit their views. The details of the consultation are still to be confirmed. Following consultation period a decision would be made at full council followed by a final decision from the Planning Inspector. CS announced that it was the ward councillors intention to hold a single issue ward committee meeting on the Local Plan in June.


Questions were invited from the floor:

One resident had prepared a list of questions which he read out.


Q1  Who are show people?

Response:   They were people involved with the travelling fayres, but the explicit difference between a traveller and showperson was unclear.

Q2 Can the council provide references sites of other show people sites?

Response: It was assumed the answer would be no

Q3  What is the reason for placing the show people next to Knapton?

Response:    CS and IG said they agreed with the question’s sentiments and did not think it made sense. They highlighted that they worked on behalf of residents and were not the authors of the Local Plan or proposals for Knapton and not in the case of the latter did they agree with them.

Q4 What does the council think the expected benefit will be to Knapton of having the show people placed next?

Response:   Essentially as for Q3, the councillors thought there would be many disadvantages and few if any benefits.

Q5 What does the council think the expected disadvantages of having the show people placed next to Knapton will be?

Response:   Numerous and as for Q3, highlighting the councillors did not speak for the council and the proposals.

Q6 Why is the Greenbelt being eroded?

Response:   CS: the Councillors don't want to see erosion, they want building on brownfield sites and they dispute the extent to which the Local Plan seeks to build on greenbelt

Q7 What Brownfield sites has the council considered instead of this Greenbelt site?

Response:    The Local Plan contains many brownfield sites and CS and IG said they believed the focus should be on brownfield rather than Greenfield.

Q8 If this permanent plot is to allow the show people to overwinter and repair their vehicles why is it not close to an industrial area which would be better suited to their requirements where there would be mechanics, heavy engineering works, spray paint shops, scrap metal merchants/replacement parts, places to dispose of toxic chemicals such as used engine oil etc

Response:  As for Q3, the location makes no sense.

Q9  One of the definitions of the word citizen is “an inhabitant of a city or town especially one entitled to its privileges or franchises” Are the showpeople citizens of York and if not then why are the citizens of York being disadvantaged for the sake of non citizens?

Response:   It was not known where the showpeople would come from.

Q10 +11  Why are show people being placed in an area where there are no shows and never likely to be a show?

Would it not be better to place the show people next to the area where there are shows – this will have 2 benefits:

a)the people who want the shows can have the responsibility of providing for the show people which would be fairer than asking people who haven’t requested the shows in the first place to do so.

b)Greener for the environment as the show people wouldn’t have to travel for at least for at least one show.

Response:  CS:  agreed it would be better to site them near to where shows take place

Q12 Why is it necessary to provide plots for show people? There are plenty of places like Alton Towers, Lightwater Valley and Flamingo Land. This appears to be a lifestyle choice and we don’t seem to have given any particular dispensations to the miners and ship builders when their industries went into decline.

Response: CS replied that CYC has a duty to provide facilities for travellers, the debate was the extent and pointed out that there were already three traveller sites in York and there was a debate as to how many if any showpeople sites were needed.

Q13 What compensation will be paid to residents of Knapton for the likely detrimental impact to house prices?

Response: None

Q14 Who owns the land which is the site of the proposed plots and what is their view of the proposal?

Response: CS replied that they are trying to find out who the landowners are.

Q15 If the council doesn’t own the land can they force the owner to sell?

Response: The council can in extreme circumstances do a Compulsory Purchase Order, but this is highly unlikely.

Q16 if the proposal goes through will the names of who voted for it be made public?

Response: when the Local Plan is voted upon who votes which way is public, but it was highlighted that the Plan would be voted on in its entirety rather than Knapton specifically. It would be important to demonstrate weight of opposition and technical arguments.

Q17 Has anyone spoken to lawyers about whether or not the Councillors who vote for this proposal or the ones that proposed it (not the council) can be sued under Causation for what is likely to be an act of “Financial Vandalism” to house prices? It is certainly likely to have an effect on the culture of the village.

Response: CS said this has not happened and this was a hypothetical some way down the line when the Plan still has to be consulted on, approved and then go before the Planning Inspector.

Q18 Whether or not the actual people cause vandalism or flytipping it does appear that these sites attract these issues. What are the council’s plans to ensure that such issues do not occur in Knapton, that are policed and prosecuted effectively when they do?

Response: some of the other sites are running well, others are not.

Q19 if the Park and Ride goes ahead on the A59 what is the council planning to do about the impact that these heavy and potential slow moving show vehicles will have on the increased traffic on the ring road?

Response: we are concerned that the infrastructure isn't there and believe there is insufficient spending on York’s roads even without the new proposals.

Q20 What plans are in place to ensure that proper health and safety and environmental procedures are followed to ensure that when maintenance is done on the proposed site that it does not affect the environment or the health of Knapton residents or animals such as horses which are kept outside.

Response: This was another hypothetical question and on a premise that it would happen which CS said he did not want to see.

Q21 How does the siting of the Caravans and show equipment fit with the requirements of the village design statement?

Response: CS and IG said they did not think it does in any way

Q22 Why if “no caravan boat lorry or trailer shall be parked on the Property without the written consent of the Vendor which consent may be subject to such conditions as to screening as the Vendor may in its absolute discretion determine” applies to my property in order that the village is not spoilt, doesn’t similar exclusions apply to an area less that 200 meters away?

Response: agreed that this is a key issue.


Q23 is there a communications plan to make local people aware of what councillors intent to engage with local residents?

There are online petitions we would encourage you to sign, you can contact the ward councillors. CS and IG also said they were putting out a local political leaflet about the Plan but they regretted the uncertainty about what the council would be publishing.


Rufforth with Knapton Parish Council Chairman said there was a problem with the web link on the PC’s website. Ward councillors are intending to set up a group of activists made up of ward councillors, parish council, residents of the wards affected, MP Julian Sturdy over the next two weeks.


Resident brought to the attention of other residents the potential for wind farms opposite Rufforth tip site.


Q do you know if Hugh Bayley MP is backing the proposals?

Response: CS thought he would be, we encourage you to write to him


Q will you be contacting other ward councillors?

Response: yes we have and also Andrew Waller, former leader of the council. However we want the activist group to be non political.


Q I have emailed Dafydd Williams Labour ward Cllr who said he is happy to meet people and he would encourage people to suggest alternative sites if they want to?

Response: CS and IG were sceptical about his willingness and highlighted that he was a member of the cabinet that approved the plan going out to consultation.


Q what's the situation if residents refuse to pay their council tax as a reflection of their opposition?

Response: you are legally bound to pay it.


Q if a particular field is not available will an alternative one be submitted?

Response: it's down to the consultation process, we do not know what sites were rejected and whether it is about different sites or reducing the proposed number.


Q is it easier to fight the compulsory purchase order?

Response: this development is envisaged for the next 15 years and CPO is way down the line. Would want to see it taken out well before getting to that stage.



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