On Thursday 6 January 2023 Rachael Maskell MP and Ward Councillors: Danny Myers and Margaret Wells, met with Clifton residents who were concerned about recent planning applications made by St Peter’s School.
The plans which, if passed, will see the installation of all weather hockey pitches and a car park installed, on the school ground, at the bottom of Westminster Road.
Speaking at the packed meeting Ms Maskell explained that she had already spoken to the School but they were adamant that the plans should go ahead despite the concerns of nearby residents.
Residents were concerned that the School maintained that the Hockey pitches would be a community asset and not impact on residents daily life. Residents pointed out that the School were given permission several years ago to build a swimming pool and that was seen as a community asset but residents were not able to use it. They believe that the hockey pitches rather than be a community asset will be a commercial one for the school, with plans to make it available out of term times and late into the evenings. People living nearest to the development site explained their concerns about the noise of traffic, sports teams and spectators along with flood lighting. As well as the disruption of cars and coaches travelling down a narrow residential area.
Others were concerned about the environmental and flooding impact of building on green belt land in an area that often sees the pumping station struggling to work above capacity and the effect on wildlife, including the bat population.
Rachael Maskell MP says:
“It was good to be able to hear so many very well informed views from residents. I have met with St Peters but their application does not seem to recognise the impact this development will have, not just on residents but on the environment. There are significant flooding implications and I question whether impact studies of flooding will provide sufficient information to the planning committee. I have also done a lot of work on issues surrounding microplastics and the impact and contamination all weather pitches have, not to mention the biodiversity of the area. I would like the school to withdraw its application and talk to residents.”
Cllr. Danny Myers says:
“There are so many issues that the residents have raised that haven’t been properly considered. The plans to build a coach and car park, which will be used throughout the year, will greatly increase traffic. The proposals suggest that by providing a carpark in one area it will reduce congestion in another, but this isn’t backed up by evidence and the motive should not be about seeking to transfer a traffic problem from one area to another. The answer first and foremost should be to reduce the amount of journeys made to and from the school, by providing more active, sustainable modes of transport in a transparent School Travel Plan. It must be recognised that this is a city-location, highly residential and not suitable to further expansion into green-belt and at such damaging cost to local residents.”
Cllr. Margaret Wells says:
“We are grateful to all the people that turned out. This shows the depth of feeling. Residents are extremely worried. They live in that area because they enjoy the peace and quiet, the trees, the walk to the river. They describe it as a haven away from the noisy traffic. It’s a narrow road not built for traffic and it is worrying to think of a steady stream of coaches and cars trying to manoeuvre their way through the street. These plans, if passed, will reach fruition at a time when the York Central development will send even more traffic into the area.”