In 2005 the Regional Development Agency (Yorkshire Forward) budgeted to spend nearly £10 million, of central government money, on infrastructure improvements which would allow the area of land behind the York railway station to be developed.
The site – dubbed York Central – was effectively landlocked with a bridge over the freight avoidance line required before development could start.
But it wasn’t the only issue.
Much of the site was contaminated while a viable transport system to service the development proved to be elusive.
The funding was never released.
The major landowner (Network Rail) found it impossible to come up with a development proposal which satisfied local planners and also recovered the huge development costs involved.
Then came the recession in 2008 and the scheme, like others across the country, went onto the back burner.
With the economy now improving it is not surprising that development sites like York Central, Nestle South and British Sugar are once again on the agenda.
What is astonishing is that the Council Leadership apparently intend to spend £10 million of Council Taxpayers money on building a bridge linking Holgate Road to the derelict site, and without securing a development agreement, timetable or the planning permissions necessary to ensure a comprehensive development.
Unless a legal agreement is signed to the effect that the costs of the bridge will be repaid from development profits, then the local taxpayer will be left with the bill.
The Council has already dramatically increased the amount of money that it borrows.
These additional debts have resulted in an extra annual repayment costs for taxpayers of £1 million.
The bridge to nowhere would add another £700,000 a year to that figure.