Agenda item

Site of Former Biorad Micromeasurements Ltd, Haxby Road, York [17/02283/FULM]

Erection of new mental health inpatient unit [Huntington/New Earswick] [Site Visit]


[Note: Councillors Ayre and Richardson withdrew from the meeting during consideration of this item and took no part in the debate or decision thereon. Councillor Derbyshire, Vice Chair of the Committee, chaired the meeting for this item]


Members considered a major full application from Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust for the erection of a new mental health inpatient unit at the site of the former Biorad Micromeasurements Ltd, Haxby Road.


Officers gave an update to the report noting the following points:

·        On the site visit Members raised concerns in relation to Haxby Road, in particular its speed and potential measures to ease pedestrian access to the nearby bus stops. The suggested measures (by Members) included a reduction in speed limit, a pedestrian island and a bus lay-by on the grass verge.

·        As seen on the visit, the section of Haxby Road is fairly rural in nature with an absence of frontage/street activity that would influence driver behaviour. Any speed limit reduction would have to be self enforcing and there is likely to be a high level of non-compliance. Based upon previous experience of comparable situations officers would not expect North Yorkshire Police to support a change in the speed limit.

·        The measures suggested to improve pedestrian links to the bus stops, would involve localised highway works that would result in significant costs; the development is substantially based around travel by car and the expectations for travel on foot and by bus are very limited. Due to the limited width of highway and proximity of adjacent boundaries, any highway works would have an impact on verges, hedgerows and trees; utility diversions and protection are likely additional requirements. The works may also require third part land, which cannot be secured through the granting of planning consent. On balance it is not considered that such improvements are reasonably related to the development demands and the deliverability (of such works) would be in question.

·        Other forms of pedestrian crossings have been considered by Highways Management Team; however these have been discounted (a controlled crossing such as a zebra or pelican could not be justified based upon DfT standards).

·        The provision of a bus lay by would raise the same issues highlighted above and the benefits of such are uncertain. However this should also be balanced with the aims of achieving natural surveillance and landscaping opportunities along the Haxby Road frontage.


Members discussed the application, expressing concern regarding the safety of individuals travelling to and from the site. The applicant, present at the meeting, noted that there was a degree of public transport to the site and they stated that they would be happy to work with the Council to look at transport options.


Following discussion, it was:


Resolved:  That the application be approved subject to the conditions listed in the report. Further discussion between the applicant and the Highway  Network Management Team regarding transport options should also take place as offered by the applicant.



                     i.        The former Bio-rad/Vickers site has been vacant for nearly 10 years; it offers good transport links including public transport modes and is located sufficiently away from main residential conurbations where any impacts from the proposed development will be limited. However, it is located within the River Foss Regional Green Corridor, and whilst there will be some impact upon local wildlife; there are opportunities to ensure the development enhances the local habitats.


                    ii.        The provision of   a mental health facility does meet an identified need following the closure of Bootham Park Hospital.  Even without a specific  allocation in the emerging plan, when assessed against the site selection methodology evidence base which underpins the selection of preferred site allocations under draft policy SS1 the use of the site for health facilities, given its location, size, and the proximity to neighbouring uses, the site is considered to be a sustainable location for a mental health facility.


Supporting documents:


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