YORK council bosses have drawn up plans for hundreds of new homes on the authority’s land across the city.
Former school sites at Lowfields and Burnholme are in line for development, along with old schools and care homes, a disused car park and council owned land elsewhere in the city.
According to a report prepared for councillors next week, if the authority builds homes itself it can build the two to three bed family homes York needs, and can make sure 40 per cent are deemed “affordable”.
Councillors will be asked to approve the plans for 550 homes over five years next week, but look likely to drop plans for a specific housing development company instead having the authority’s own housing department run the project.
Cllr Helen Douglas, executive member for housing and safer neighbourhoods, said the proposals show the council is “taking the lead” on creating new, high-quality homes in York.
Having homes for sale on the open market, council houses, and things like “rent to buy” and discount sale would mean people on lower and middle incomes could afford to live in York, she added.
However the plans have met with criticism from opposition Labour councillors, who say they lack ambition.
Housing spokesman Cllr Margaret Wells said: “The report is hugely disappointing in signalling the abandoning of the housing development company proposal and along with it, any meaningful efforts by the Tory-Lib Dem coalition to deliver an ambitious programme of new homes York residents can afford.” The term ‘affordable’ is meaningless, she added, and instead the council should be more specific about social rented housing - council homes - or shared ownership and rent-to-buy.
The first site for development - Lowfield - could see work start in 2019. The development would contain 165 new homes, 56 of which would be “affordable”.
It would be followed by the Burnholme College site and by old Askham Bar Park and Ride site later in 2019, with work on council property at Hospital Fields Road and Ordnance Lane, the old Manor School and Clifton Without School sites, and the old Woolnough House care home following later.
In total the plans would bring 100 new council houses to the city, and another 100 other “affordable” homes.