It came to my attention, that there is a planning application proposing to extend the motor boat club fenced off area over half way towards the Millennium Bridge, just opposite of the Micklegate riverbanks, removing some of the riverside trees and shrubs to create 14 more boat moorings. I spend this weekend to have a look into the current situation and spoke to Green Councillor Andy D’Agorne about the proposed development.
Lars is looking at the fencing which is currently dividing the public open space from the space exclusively used by the club. The newly fenced off area would extend as far as the ‘woodland copse’ on the upper bank– in a line with Lilac Cottage.
Interview with Cllr Andy D’Agorne, Fishergate (Green Party)
Lars: Thank you Andy for taking the time for this little interview. We read in The Press that York Motor Yacht Club wants to lease 0.7 acres of land alongside the River Ouse south of Millennium Bridge from City of York Council and applied to the authority for planning permission to create 14 additional moorings, why do you question this development?
Andy: This area is important public open space used by local people and visitors to enjoy the peace and nature of the area. It is also important feeding ground for bats, owls and other wildlife – kingfishers have been seen in the area and could even nest in the banks there, as could otters, both protected species.
Lars: How can this development affect the residents of Micklegate ward?
Andy: Residents of Reginald Grove have already been in touch to express their opposition – it will be directly opposite the back of their houses. Many people walk and cycle along the sustrans path from the Millennium Bridge towards Terry’s and much of the rural aspect of this section will be harmed by the line of boats stretching further along the opposite bank.
Lars: In The Press the York Motor Yacht Club says that there is no designated riverside footpath along the stretch of land in question, it is of limited recreational value, a tree survey had noted that the majority of trees were in poor condition and not expected to be sustainable and a bat surveys had found no usage of roosts which had been identified in trees. What do you make out of these statements?
Andy: There isn’t a formal path as it is open space alongside the river, used by people fishing, enjoying a stroll with families, dogs etc. Some of the trees have been damaged, but ironically the ecology report makes clear this helps to provide roosting sites for bats and holes in the bank which may become homes for otters voles kingfishers etc.
Lars: The York Motor Yacht Club says that they have a long waiting list for moorings. What should they do to expand and cater for their members?
Andy: The documentation says that the club have 12 on their waiting list compared to 40 existing moorings, not exactly a ‘long list’ There is already a section of mooring available for short term temporary use by visitors. There are other marinas along the length of the Ouse – This one first opened in 1933 before there were any planning laws to control this sort of development. Hundreds of local people enjoy this area as it is now compared to a few wealthy individuals who want exclusive use of the area currently available to all.
Lars: What is happening now with the planning application and what can residents do to influence the decision making process?
Andy: The application details can be found on the council website at http://planningaccess.york.gov.uk/online-applications/ enter 14/02151/FUL to find the details. You can register your objections online by the deadline of Oct 20th (you will need to register on the site to do this) You can also send written comments to Kevin O’Connell, Planning Dept West Offices station Rise York YO1 6GA
To object to the council disposal of public open space also write to Phillip Callow, Head of Asset and Property Management at the West Offices address or email firstname.lastname@example.org by Oct 28th . You can also ring and ask for Phillip Callow or Val Inwood on 01904 553358 to ask them to explain the grounds on which you can object, how much the council will be getting for this, what conditions might be attached to the lease etc.
Lars: Thank you for your answers!
Map from Council website.
Planning site notices are displayed within the area. The development plan shows that the extension will probably bring the boat moorings into view from the Millennium Bridge.