Landowner British Sugar had appealed against the City of York Council’s failure to determine its outline application for the scheme. The site was previously used by British Sugar to process sugar beet. The plant closed in 2007.
According to an inspector’s report on the appeal, the council’s position was that it would have refused the application "on the basis of the absence of a completed section 106 to secure affordable housing, and infrastructure and other mitigation necessary to make the development acceptable in planning terms".
However, the inspector’s report added that the council said "that the principle of the development, including the quantum of residential and ancillary uses and proposals for pedestrian and cycle movement, was acceptable".
The report said that the site is allocated as a "primary strategic allocation" for housing in the council’s emerging local plan.
A decision letter issued on behalf of the secretary of state James Brokenshire last week said that the minister had decided to approve the scheme, in line with the inspector’s recommendation.
The letter said that the scheme would be likely to deliver a 20 per cent affordable housing rate. It said that the minister agreed with the inspector "that the scheme would deliver much needed housing, including affordable housing" to which he attached "substantial weight".
The letter also said that Brokenshire found that the development "would enable the positive and beneficial reuse of a previously developed brownfield, but currently unused site", to which he also attached "substantial weight".
He also found that the site is in "a highly accessible location where transport measures and services would enable a reduced reliance on the private car", the letter said.
The decision notice concluded that the secretary of state considered that there were "no harms" arising from the proposal and, as such, it should be approved.