Councillor Keith Aspden

Campaigning for Fulford and Heslington. Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group Learn more

Germany Beck

germany-beck.jpg

As many of you will know, after a long fight Persimmon Homes were granted planning permission for the Germany Beck housing development through a Public Inquiry in 2008. Throughout the inquiry I worked with residents to campaign against the development.

We raised a number of concerns at the time about the plans including:

Single Access
Clearly the most unpopular aspect of the development is the single access road. It will join a main arterial road, the A19, which is already very busy, as well as directly affecting the existing 300+ homes in the Fordlands Road area. This was demonstrated at the public protest with a large amount of traffic on the Saturday morning, let alone rush hour.

Archaeology
There is also a growing body of evidence to suggest that the Battle of Fulford was fought on the site. There is a national policy, administered by English Heritage, to protect battle sites from development. More information is available at http://www.battleoffulford.org.uk/

Flooding
There is still great concern about the potential impact of future flooding on existing Fulford residents, for example, in the Main Street area.

These concerns remain.

Update 28th November 2011

I am working to find out more information on the intended consultation ahead of the latest part of the planning process for the Germany Beck development.

I remain concerned about the timescales involved and the potential lack of opportunity to engage in any detail on different aspects of the scheme and/or receive reasonable feedback from Persimmon Homes, I have been making this point to City of York Council community planners as well as Persimmon Homes directly.

I have been told that “the development team are working within their 9th May 2012 deadline, which is therefore setting the timescales in this case” but City of York Council officers “do appreciate your concerns with regard to the timescales”.

I have been informed by City of York Council that the developers currently plan to use the following range of methods for their pre-application consultation:

  • Publicity – notify residents by leaflet (provisionally this week), press release, website, local posters, and hopefully a presence in the local library and at the Council Offices at 9 St Leonards Place. I have requested that the leaflet goes to all households in Fulford Parish and properties to the north of Heslington Lane, which has now been agreed. Neither I nor CYC have seen the leaflet, I have asked for a copy ASAP.
  • Making contacts – Parish Council and former Germany Beck Consultation Group, presentation to the Parish Council meeting of 5th December to give a briefing in advance of the public exhibition.
  • Public event – a one day exhibition, 2.30-8.00pm, 9th December (Old Library Room, Social Hall), with at least 21 days for people to comment. (I have complained about the lack of notice and that the venue may well not be big enough, however, they are going ahead with this due to a lack of available venues etc).

I am meeting council officers soon to discuss the former Germany Beck Consultation Group. I am pushing for further opportunities to illustrate feedback, such as coming back to the Parish Council in January. There will of course be a further opportunity for us to comment on the application post submission through the statutory 21 day consultation period carried out by City of York Council.

Update 7th December 2011

I have launched a petition calling for more consultation on the plans before the planning application is submitted. You can sign the petition by clicking here.

Update May/June 2012

Persimmon and Hogg are attempting to renew and extend by 12 years their 2007 outline planning permission for the development. The existing planning permission expired on 9th May 2012. When it became apparent that City of York Council would not be in a position to determine the application prior to 9 May, the decision was taken by the developers to submit an application to extend the life of the outline permission. This basically would give the developers more time to build the properties.

Residents have until 13th June to submit comments on this ‘Extension of Time Application (12/01802/OUTM)’. Keith has argued that circumstances have changed materially since permission was granted in 2007 and this extension should be refused by City of York Council. He says:

• Air Quality has deteriorated in Fulford since 2006 and this will be further worsened by the Germany Beck development
• The village conservation area was extended in 2008 to include the area in which access to the site will be constructed
• New and compelling evidence suggests that the 1066 Battle of Fulford took place along the Germany Beck corridor
• March’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) should be properly applied to this new application to take into account new guidance on flooding and the green belt.

A ‘Duplicate Reserved Matters’ (12/01749/REMM) application has also been submitted. Residents can respond to this as well. This application is very similar to February’s First Reserved Matter application with some updated environment information. Again, residents can respond outlining their opposition to the scheme.

Update – March 2013

I have just heard that City of York Council are provisionally planning to hold a special Planning Committee meeting to consider the Germany Beck plans (reference number 12/00384/REMM), which is for the reserved matters application for details of appearance, landscaping, layout and scale of 657 dwellings and associated facilities.

The date and time I am told for this meeting will be:

Wednesday 17th April 2013 at 2pm

The Site Visit will be on Monday 15th April at 10am.

Look out for more details on my website, including the response from Fulford Parish Council. We will continue to put forward the concerns of local residents.

More details can be found here: http://planningaccess.york.gov.uk/online-applications/ (Reference Number 12/00384/REMM). Residents wishing to submit comments should continue send them to:

Hannah Blackburn, Planning Officer

City of York Council

West Offices

Station Rise

YO1 6GA

Fulford Councillor Keith Aspden is urging residents to have their say ahead of a special Planning Committee meeting to consider proposals for York’s largest housing development at Germany Beck.

Cllr Keith Aspden, Liberal Democrat Councillor for Fulford, commented:“As I have consistently argued it is vital that the views of local residents are listened to and acted on by the City Council and the Developers. Residents have concerns over flooding, traffic, air pollution, and the fact that the area has changed so much since approval was given over 5 years ago.

“I have repeatedly requested that a Public Meeting should take place in order to update residents and Community Forum representatives about the state of play with the application, including the need to understand the variety of amendments and new reports that have been submitted, alongside unresolved questions about issues such as flooding.

“The City Council must take the proper steps to ensure that residents have all the information they need and their views are heard. At the moment, the Council has not confirmed the 17th date and under their proposed timetable the key planning report for the Committee will be prepared before the consultation is finished. We need to make sure that the public consultation is not just a sham.”

Update – 28th March at 6pm

Council officers have this afternoon decided to cancel the planned 17th April Planning Committee and provisionally rearrange the meeting for 25th April at 3pm.

In response, Keith Aspden has commented:

“I am pleased that in response to my concerns, officers have decided to rearrange the meeting and give residents another week to put forward their views. I hope that going forwards the Council will ensure the consultation process runs smoothly.”

Update April 25th 2013 –Germany Beck application approved despite opposition from residents

The Germany Beck ‘reserved matters’ planning application was approved at a crunch meeting this afternoon despite strong opposition from local residents and concerns over unanswered questions. However, Fulford Councillor Keith Aspden, who spoke in opposition to the plans at the meeting, has vowed to continue to work with local residents to raise their concerns about the development.

Ten local residents spoke against the proposals, including representatives from the Parish Council and Germany Beck Community Forum. Speakers hit out at the lack of proper consultation with local people and said concerns about issues like flooding had not been addressed. After a three hour meeting the Committee voted 13 in favour, 2 against with 1 abstention.

At the meeting Cllr Keith Aspden, Liberal Democrat Councillor for Fulford and a member of the Germany Beck Community Forum, told the Committee:

“The key unresolved concerns include design and landscaping, lack of up-to-date flooding information, sewerage and land drainage, the impact of floodwater displacement on existing residents, air quality in Selby Road and Main Street and the lack of clarity on community gain.

“Throughout the Community Forum process, residents have expressed concerns about the consultation. Members of the Forum continue to believe that there are unresolved issues and that full community involvement in the decision making process has not been achieved.

“It has been particularly frustrating for Community Forum representatives to have requested numerous meetings to discuss these issues, particularly on up-to-date flooding information, but to have experienced near silence for 5 months. Residents and the wider community in Fulford are firmly of the view that unless and until information on these matters has been properly furnished and considered, the reserved matters application should not be approved.”

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Aspden said:

“While it is disappointing that the committee accepted the current proposals without fully addressing some key concerns over flooding, traffic and the impact the site will have on the character of Fulford, I will continue to work with local residents to raise their concerns and I await the independent review on whether the site should be added to English Heritage’s protection list as the location of the 1066 Battle of Fulford.”

Update July 24th 2013 – Judicial Review

Fulford Parish Council – at a well attended public meeting at the Social Hall on Tuesday evening – based on the legal advice received voted to proceed with Judicial Review proceedings against the Germany Beck development.

For decades and throughout the Community Forum process, residents in Fulford have expressed concerns both about the development and consultation. It is disappointing that the City Council accepted the current proposals without fully addressing some key concerns over flooding, traffic and the impact the site will have on the character of Fulford.

Update – November 29th 2013 

In July Fulford Parish Council applied for a judicial review of City of York’s Council’s decision to approve plans to build 650 homes at Germany Beck.

This was orginally turned down, but an appeal will be heard on Monday 2nd December at Leeds Court.

The hearing will decide whether the Parish Council’s case against City of York Council can move forward to a  judicial review hearing.

Fulford Councillor Keith Apsden commented:

“The Parish Council’s actions are supported by a large number of local people and reflect the deep anxiety in Fulford over the Germany Beck plans.

“Residents have a number of concerns over issues such as flooding, increased traffic, and the loss of the site where English Heritage believe the 1066 Battle of Fulford was most likely fought.

“Local questions have never been properly answered by City of York Council or the developers, Persimmon Homes. Local residents deserve to see these issues comprehensively resolved before any development goes ahead.”

Keith discussing Germany Beck with a local resident

Keith discussing Germany Beck with a local resident

 Germany Beck Fund – February 2014

Last July, Fulford Parish Council applied for permission to challenge City of York Council’s decision to approve the reserved matters application for the Germany Beck housing developent. The Parish Council took this decision because it believes that planning permission was granted without properly considering crucial issues such as flooding, ecology, air quality or heritage.

In December, the Court refused permission for a Judicial Review. After a public meeting the Parish Council decided to begin the process to appeal this decision, but also to address the issue of the financial consequences of future legal action.  It was clear that up to £10,000 would be needed to continue the legal fight and therefore the ‘Germany Beck Fund’ was set-up.

A further public meeting in January showed once again the strong local support for the Parish Council’s legal challenge. With this mandate the Parish Council voted a few weeks ago to continue with legal proceedings. The papers have been lodged with the court and we are waiting to hear back from the Court of Appeal about the next steps.

The fundraising appeal has raised approximately £3,000 from residents – in a very short time. This is great but we need more to continue the legal efforts. If any residents can give money or hold a fundraising event it would be appreciated. View www.fulfordparishcouncil.org.uk for more details.

I will continue to keep residents updated on the legal challenge and continue to work with the local community in trying to halt inappropriate development in Fulford.

 

At its June 3rd meeting Fulford Parish Council decided to continue its legal fight against the Germany Beck developent.

The Parish Council issued the following statement:

“Unfortunately the Parish Council has been denied permission to appeal the refusal of its application for Judicial Review. There is a final opportunity to appeal against this decision and the Parish Council decided at a meeting on 3rd June to renew the application for consideration at an oral hearing in the Civil Appeals Court.

In taking this decision, the Parish Council had regard to the clear advice of its legal team that the decisions taken by City of York Council do contain errors of law It is hoped that more money can be raised by public donation and by fund raising events to pay the legal costs of the oral hearing, because the Council may otherwise reluctantly decide to withdraw its appeal and cease legal action.

The Council would like to thank everyone who has encouraged and supported the action to date and would like to invite you to help to raise further funds in any way that you feel you can. Local residents are currently planning another fundraising event and details will shortly be posted on Facebook/helpsavefulford.”

http://www.fulfordparishcouncil.org.uk/news/germany-becks–june-2014/00081.html

Update – 13th October

Keith Aspden at Germany Beck

Keith Aspden at Germany Beck

Residents will know that Persimmon Homes does not yet have permission to lawfully commence the housing development. What they are doing at present is just archaeology.

They can only start once all the pre-conditions are formally approved – these include the compensatory flood storage which is currently being considered.

The top surface has been scraped off the whole route of the ‘haul’ road in order to allow metal detecting/archaeology to be done over the next few months. Persimmon will then use the haul road for their vehicles until the new access is built.

Fulford Parish Council’s appeal against the refusal to allow a Judicial Review is still with the courts – a hearing date is awaited (and for Chas’ Jones’ appeal against English Heritage).

Keith continues to put pressure on City of York Council to ensure that local residents are informed of any proposals and recently raised concerns about the new signs and fencing that was erected.

A few residents have already asked but unfortunately as the Germany Beck site was already agreed by a government planning inspector the Local Plan vote (which was very good news in terms of looking again at the overall housing proposals for York) won’t affect the current Germany Beck situation.

If you had any specific Germany Beck questions get in touch via keithaspden@yorklibdems.org.uk

 

Legal cases fail – February 2015

Fulford Parish Council has reported that unfortunately, both Fulford Parish Council’s case against City of York and Chas Jones’ case against English Heritage heard at the Court of Appeal in London yesterday failed.

The Parish Council has said that the loss of Fulford Parish Council’s case is hugely disappointing because even though City of York Council finally admitted that it was an error to inform members of the planning committee that there were no houses proposed in flood zone 3, the judge was persuaded that it was reasonable for this to be dealt with through an outline planning condition.

Very sadly, Chas Jones also lost his case, the judge refusing to allow his request for English Heritage to reconsider its decision not to register the site of the Battle of Fulford.

I know that all Fulford Parish Councillors would like to thank residents for their amazing moral and financial support throughout this legal battle and hope you will agree that all the effort has been worthwhile. We will now make every effort to ensure that the terms of the conditions are fully met and that the impact on local residents is minimised as far as possible.

Please get in touch with Keith if you have any concerns.