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York to vote on first local plan in 62 years

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City of York Council is set to adopt its first local plan in more than 60 years - five months after it was first threatened with intervention.

Councillors will discuss plans to build 20,000 homes over the next 20 years, following a letter from the housing and communities secretary last month warning he was keeping a close eye on the council’s progress towards adopting a local plan having intervened in three other areas. Sajid Javid first threatened York with intervention, along with 14 other councils, in November.

York’s local plan will first face scrutiny at a meeting of the local plan working group on 2 May, followed by a meeting of the executive on 8 May.

Ian Gillies (Con), leader of City of York Council, which has not had an adopted local plan since 1956, said: “This local plan will provide the homes and job opportunities the city needs, while recognising and protecting our city’s distinct and special character. We’ve made great progress and are on track to submit this plan, on time, to the government.”

The prime minister referenced York’s lack of a local plan in parliament on 28 March, adding that the government would intervene to build homes if the council does not pass a plan.

Sajid Javid MP wrote to the council on 23 March, warning of a possible intervention if it did not meet its published timetable.

Mr Javid wrote: “I will continue to monitor your progress closely and any further significant delays in meeting your timetable will cause me to have considerable doubt as to whether your council is doing everything that is necessary in connection with the preparation of its local plan. I will not hesitate to consider how to use the full range of powers parliament has given me to ensure that a plan is in place.”

Documents submitted in the local plan working group’s meeting agenda show that the council is considering a boundary amendment “following discussion with the York Central Partnership and [the council’s] major projects team”.

City of York Council last voted on a local plan in October 2014, but it did not pass due to fears over its housing target. Council officers later revised the plan to include lower housing numbers in March 2015 but this version of the plan was never voted on.

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