Last night over 70 people packed the village hall to find out more about developments proposed by York Marine Services for their Ferry Lane site.
Residents pack in...
The public meeting was organised by the Parish Council, and introduced and chaired by Chair Stewart Harisson, who stressed the urgent need to take views from residents, and pass these on to the City of York Council.
David Smith from York Marine gave a clear account of what is proposed:
- the removal of all existing buildings and the caravan park
- the creation of a marina for fifteen 30' boats
- the building of a 2 meter high area from excavated spoil, and the erection of 15 wooden lodges above the level of the flood risk height
- the sale of the lodges with an opportunity for a mooring to be acquired
- the rental of unused moorings
- the retention for the time being of the existing pontoon moorings in the river
- the landscaping of the area
- installation of lighting
- diversion of the existing trackway to skirt the proposed marina on the inland side.
Mr Smith said that there were a number of advantages to the scheme, and that it had the support of the Environment Agency, British Waterways and some local people. These included: overall less traffic on Ferry Lane; less flood risk on the site; an improved trackway; more planting; and that with a warden on the site it would be a 'top-quality development'. Public access would remain to the existing moorings, although it was proposed to fence off the river bank in front of the marina.
Responding for the Parish Council, Brian Mellors reminded the audience of the various planning restrictions in the Green Belt and Conservation area. He pointed out that the site as is has planning approvals, and that rules about developments for essential facilities for recreation and sport were in place. He said that he had some doubts about the flood risk assesment and the impact of the scheme, and it was revealed that the Parish Council is shortly to have a private meeting with the Environment Agency to discuss flood prevention issues.
Residents raised a large number of issues that were noted by the Parish Council Clerk. These included concerns over the impact of the development on flooding elsewhere on the river; that the track deviation would take people away from the river, and its views, it being suggested that a path and bridge be built across the marina front; concerns about the raisng of land levels in the flood plain; possible impact on revenue form other moorings and indeed the need for further moorings; light pollution; the loss of public amenity; the quality of landscape design and its integration with publicly owned land and the the St Andrews Church improvement scheme; and the protection in future of the area should it be sold on, or the site not developed and sold anyway.
The Parish Council indicated that it was very concerned that people made their views known. They asked that people email (or write to) the Council. Details of the planning application are on the Council's web site here (although the full and very long document seems only to be available fro download page by page at the moment), and there is a link to an online comment form too.
Mr Smith said that a model of the proposed scheme wouild be avaibale soon at York Marine's offices (and it was requested that this was put on show in the Library).
Ypu can of course make comments here on this site by clicking on 'Comments' below.
The Council says that comments should be received by them by 19th April, although there is a chance for comments to be noted up until 15th May when the officer decision is timetabled to be made.
The area is one that is popular with locals and residents, but which has been identified in the consultations that lead to the Crossroads project as an area in need of improvement. The City Council has a duty to maintain and enhance Conservation areas through regular review in consultation with residents. If this scheme is to go ahead, it should be done in such a way that it becomes part of an overall riverside improvement, not piecemeal commercial develpment. This may require action by the parish and city councils to enhance their own land, to consider the scheme in the light of the St Andrews church land project design, to insist on restrictive covenants on the uses and types of activities permiitted on the proposed scheme, and the insistence on a proper environmental impact assessment (not just flooding). This should require an overall landscape design for the arae of the highest quality.
All of these can only lead to positive environmental and commercial benefits to the village.