City of York planners are recommending approval for the scheme at the Tramways Club in Mill Street, despite opposition from York Central MP Rachael Maskell and ward councillors Tony Clarke, Rachel Melly and Dave Merrett. The report prepared for next Wednesday’s meeting of the city council’s planning committee notes that the developer, Wetherby-based Oakgate Group, has submitted a viability appraisal showing the scheme could not make all the developer contributions as required under council policy.
The application seeks to demolish the former Tramways Club, which was bought by Oakgate in 2018 and closed in 2019. In addition to building 35 flats (21x 1-bed, 12×2-bed and 2x3bed) in the 3-5 storey building, there would also be landscaping works to the adjacent Rest Garden.
Council planners thought the original design needed more glazed windows so the scheme was amended. However, the Guildhall Planning Panel felt the building would be oversized and too intrusive on George and Mill Street. Other objectors said the scheme would erode the character of the area, harm the setting of the Grade II-listed St George Church, and be overdevelopment, harming the amenity of neighbors.
Rachael Maskell MP also said noted the scale of the development, saying other nearby schemes had to be three storeys and this would dwarf the nearby church. She also noted it lacked any parking. Similarly, the Guildhall councillors also noted the dominance of the scheme, its overdevelopment, harming the conservation area. However, council planners said the city lacks a 5-year housing supply and the scheme is consistent with plans to regenerate the Castle Gateway area. Nearby buildings are of a similar height and the scheme would not harm the character and appearance of the conservation area or the setting of listed buildings.
Their report said council policy would need a £1,234,146 contribution towards affordable housing, amid other contributions, but the advice is the scheme can at most provide £170,000 towards education and open space, including £35,632 towards affordable housing. It concluded the scheme would not harm the area and was appropriate. It was policy compliant on affordable housing and if property values increased, a review would ensure a greater contribution.