Go-ahead for 625-home York gas works redevelopment

Plans have been approved for the 625-home redevelopment of a former gas works site in York, despite the scheme falling short of local affordable housing targets.

A visualisation of the finished scheme (pic: Heworth Green Developments Ltd and Moda Living)
A visualisation of the finished scheme (pic: Heworth Green Developments Ltd and Moda Living)

Applicants Heworth Green Developments and build to rent specialist Moda Living have secured outline consent from York City Council for the redevelopment of the former Heworth Green gas works.

Their application sought consent for a maximum of 625 apartments, 410 of which would be for build to rent, plus 130 square metres of retail or community use floorspace, site remediation works, access, and car parking.

According to a planning committee report, local planning policy seeks to achieve a 20 per cent affordable housing rate for such sites.

However, the report advised that, with the application of the vacant building credit, this would fall to 17 per cent.

The report said the applicants were proposing to offer a 10 per cent affordable housing offer due to viability constraints.

Planners concluded that this was acceptable as build to rent homes in the scheme would be offered with a 30 per cent rent reduction on market levels as opposed to a "standard" 20 per cent.

There would also be an offsite contribution for affordable homes of approximately £2,715,000 and a viability mechanism would be secured to capture any rise in house prices over time.

The report said the site is allocated for housing in the council's emerging local plan.

Officers also found that, "whilst the number of dwellings proposed is high and tall buildings are proposed, the site is in a location where national policy promotes high density".

Planners also advised that the council cannot demonstrate a five year housing land supply and, as such, the National Planning Policy Framework's (NPPF's) presumption in favour of sustainable development applied.

The report said the scheme would "reasonably comply with the economic, social and environmental objectives of the NPPF".

It added: "There are no protected habitats, designated heritage assets or flood risk grounds that provide a clear reason for refusing the development and there would be no adverse impacts that would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits, when assessed against the policies in the NPPF taken as a whole".

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