Planning blueprint backed to create housing and attract investment in North Yorkshire

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A vision for future development across North Yorkshire is being heralded as vital to tackle the affordable homes crisis and attract investment amid a new dawn for local democracy in the county.

Senior councillors have given their unanimous approval for a detailed blueprint for development, called the Local Plan, to be adopted within a five-year deadline of a new council being launched in the spring of next year to cover the whole of North Yorkshire.

Members of North Yorkshire County Council’s executive have also unanimously backed the mechanism for the new authority to consider planning applications throughout England’s largest county.

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Proposals for six planning committees based around the current parliamentary constituencies were approved, with a strategic planning committee responsible for major developments in the county.

Swaledale (Image: NYCC)Swaledale (Image: NYCC)
Swaledale (Image: NYCC)

The decision to support both the Local Plan and the planning committee structure will now be considered by members at a full council meeting in February before final approval is given to adopt the policies for the new North Yorkshire Council, which launches on April 1 next year.

It is hoped the new planning policies will help to address the affordable homes crisis in North Yorkshire, which is particularly accentuated in the county’s rural and coastal areas.

Average house prices in the Yorkshire Dales, for instance, are about a third higher than the county’s average, with the average cost of a property nearly £400,000 while the weekly wage in North Yorkshire is just over £530.

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North Yorkshire County Council’s executive member for growth and housing, Cllr Simon Myers, said: “The launch of North Yorkshire Council presents a huge opportunity to provide a co-ordinated planning policy.

Cllr Simon MyersCllr Simon Myers
Cllr Simon Myers

“This will help attract new investment and bring in much-needed new homes to address the affordable housing issues.”

Local Plans provide a hugely important vision for boosting the economy and co-ordinating development for planning authorities across the country, but this will be the first time that a single document has been drawn up for the whole of North Yorkshire.

The current seven district and borough councils in North Yorkshire act as planning authorities, but the move to one unitary authority presents the chance to provide a single, unified approach to development.

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The Local Plan for the new North Yorkshire Council will look ahead for a minimum of 15 years, and at least 30 years in relation to any larger scale developments, such as new settlements or significant extensions to urban areas. It is set to encompass all areas of the county outside the National Parks for the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors.

Reviews of some of the Local Plans currently overseen by district and borough authorities which are generally at an early stage are set to be paused and revisited as part of the creation of the new blueprint.

This includes the plans for Craven, Hambleton, Harrogate borough, Richmondshire and Scarborough borough.

Reviews at a more advanced stage are due to continue, including the plans for Ryedale and Selby, the Maltkiln new settlement proposals in the Harrogate area and the Minerals and Waste Joint Plan for York and North Yorkshire, which would be separate to the Local Plan.

The next step is to produce a local development scheme, which will set out the timetable for the preparation of the Local Plan.