City of York Council and the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership have announced that today that they submitted a bid to government which could unlock over £100 million to help deliver York’s largest brownfield site.
However, the bid doesn’t seem to have been approved by any of the York Councils decision making bodies.
No copy of the bid has been published either on the Councils web site or on that of the LEP.
It therefore remains unclear how much the York taxpayer might be expected to contribute towards the costs of the project. The last Labour Council courted unpopularity by allocating £11 million for the provision of a road bridge into the site from Poppleton Road.
The media release claims,
“If successful, York Central could be designated as an Enterprise Zone which will mean all of the business rates for the site, which would have gone back to government, will be retained in the area. This will provide the funding to be able invest in the infrastructure required to unlock the site and encourage business investment.
Prospective businesses locating on York Central would also get full business rate relief for the first five-years, providing an incentive for inward investment and business growth.
Estimates in the bid suggest this could help to create up to 6,600 jobs in the city, and over £1.1 billion value for the region’s economy. The jobs created would be high-value office based jobs, helping to grow York’s economy by an estimated 20 per cent and increase average wages in the city.
Enterprise Zone status will also support the infrastructure for housing elements of the site, helping to create new homes on brownfield land and protect the greenbelt.
Cllr Chris Steward, Leader of City of York Council, said: “For decades, York Central has been the big opportunity for the city to realise its full potential as a high-value economic hub. Today is a major milestone in making this regeneration opportunity a reality.With the highest levels of skills of any city in the north, the development would drive quality jobs for this highly skilled workforce in York, but also for the region with opportunities for significant inward investment. Enterprise Zone status is pivotal to unlocking this, and as such, as a Council, we are giving our strongest backing to it.”
Cllr Keith Aspden, Deputy Leader of City of York Council and Executive Member for Economic Development, said: “If this bid is successful it would be a game-changing development for York Central and the wider local economy. In many areas York has a thriving economy, but its potential is held back by the lack of quality office space in the city centre. For many growing businesses in the city, York Central would be an exceptional location with the rail links intrinsic to the site and ease of connectivity to cities such as London, Leeds Bradford Airport, Manchester, Newcastle, Edinburgh and other cities in the UK this provides.”
Barry Dodd, York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “City of York plays a key role in driving growth across York, North Yorkshire & East Riding. Accelerating the development York Central, one of the largest city centre brownfield sites in Europe, is key to driving growth in the city and beyond. We fully support the potential of the site and encourage Government to back our ambitious plans”
Stephen Hind, Route Enhancement Manager from Network Rail , which supported the bid, said: “By working with City of York Council to have this area of land designated as an Enterprise Zone we hope to unlock the potential of the site, allowing new homes and investment in this key location. It has long been the aspiration of Network Rail, CYC and many local residents and businesses to see this under-utilised space developed to support the vibrant economy and to meet the ever-growing demand for homes in the city of York. We firmly believe that designation as an Enterprise Zone will give the boost which is needed to get this development underway. ”
York, North Yorkshire and East Riding LEP Board confirmed York Central as its top priority for Enterprise Zone status based on the strong proposition and the impact it would have for the region. It also submitted a bid for a ‘Coast and Country’ Enterprise Zone made up of a collection of sites in East Riding and Ryedale.
The council is working with partners to produce plans for the development of the site, which will be subject to the usual planning processes including consultation with residents and businesses.
It is expected that an announcement will be made by the government later this year, following full consideration of all bids as part of a competitive process”.