Plans for 550 new homes to be built, including affordable housing, in York | Investors Forum YorkInvestors Forum York

Dan Taylor addressed a City of York Council executive meeting before members agreed to 550 homes being built over the next five years, with the authority’s own housing department running the project instead of a specific housing development company.

He said: “The cries for more affordable housing in York are loud and numerous.

“We have seen in London private developers hold local authorities to ransom, as they wheedle their way out of their affordable housing obligation and reduce the amount they have to build as soon as the project has started.”

He said the council had the chance to be in control and must take it to ensure the housing balance which had been tipped towards the rich and student accommodation returned to a more equitable state.

Under the council’s plan, former school sites at Lowfields and Burnholme are in line for development, along with old schools and care homes and the disused Askham Bar Park & Ride car park.

Officers said that if the authority builds homes itself, it can build the two to three bed family homes York needs, and ensure 40 per cent are deemed ‘affordable’.

Labour Cllr Michael Pavlovic said he felt “complete bemusement”, as the change came just more than six months after the executive had been “incredibly enthusiastic” about the setting up of a development company as the quickest way of delivering much needed housing, and he suggested the change was a deliberate policy to “kick the need for housing into the long grass”.

Labour group leader Janet Looker said a head teacher had told told her recently he was struggling to attract staff because teachers couldn’t afford to buy a house in York and long term plans were needed.

Council leader Ian Gillies said there had been a change in legal advice and the different way forward would be “substantially cheaper”.

He said the proposals were the start but not the end of the programme, adding: “We are ambitious to deliver for all people in our society.”

The first site for development – Lowfield – could see work start in 2019. The development would contain 165 new homes, 56 of which would be “affordable”.

It would be followed by the Burnholme College site and by old Askham Bar Park and Ride site later in 2019, with work on council property at Hospital Fields Road and Ordnance Lane, the old Manor School and Clifton Without School sites later.

This article is courtesy of The Press, please visit their website for more local news.