York Central Partnership welcomes confirmation of £77.1m funding to unlock homes, jobs and public spaces

….as Labour reveal plans to stop the project

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Labour have “called in” the decision to move forward with the York Central development. It casts new doubt on a project which has yet to receive detailed planning permission.

Labour cite post pandemic economic concerns as one of the justifications for shelving the project. They also question the conditions attached to the governments £77 million investment in the plans (see below). They apparently believe that the ambitions of the “House of Lords” have not been accommodated.

Meanwhile, the York Central Partnership has welcomed the government’s confirmation of the £77.1m funding to help to unlock the homes, better paid jobs and community spaces on the brownfield site.

The Minstry of Housing, Communities and Local government has written to the City of York Council to confirm the arrangements for the funding, which will be awarded to Homes England and Network Rail as the major landowners on the site. Under the arrangement, City of York Council will be reimbursed for the money it has committed to keep the project moving.

The funding is a major piece in a £155m funding package put together by the council working with fellow York Central Partnership members Homes England, Network Rail and National Railway Museum to fund the infrastructure works to unlock the brownfield site. The first phase of this work will include the access road bridge and spine road through the site, a pedestrian bridge on Water End and a rail link to the National Railway Museum.

Councillor Keith Aspden, leader of City of York Council, said:

“This is fantastic news for York. Our early investment and continued commitment, even during the pandemic, was essential to secure this investment.

The funding is a vital step to unlocking a £1.16bn boost to our economy, and delivering a new generation of jobs and hundreds of affordable homes, when York needs it most.

The York Central Partnership is delivering where decades of proposals have failed. Our shared vision for an ambitious development which delivers cleaner, greener growth and a fairer economy in York underpins the entire project, and we will keep playing our part to make York Central deliver for the whole city.

It’s also yet another important milestone following outline planning approval last year, funding agreements with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and the York and North Yorkshire LEP.

This is the result of a lot of hard work by the York Central Partnership, and further demonstration of our commitment to an ambitious scheme which will give York the jobs and homes it needs as the outline planning application for York Central includes proposals to build up to 2,500 homes, including affordable homes, and a commercial quarter creating up to 88,000m2 of high quality office space. “

It also includes:

  • pedestrian and cycle route provision into and through the site
  • low levels of parking spaces
  • high sustainable design standards built into the design guide
  • around £15m developer contributions to deliver the sustainable transport infrastructure ensuring more bus passengers, cyclists and pedestrians.

This £155m funding package also includes £23.5m of a total of £37.2m from the West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund and Leeds City Region Growth Deal, which will also fund the ambitious plans to transform the front of the railway station.

The West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund has been part-funded through the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Growth Deal, a £1 billion package of Government funding to drive growth and job creation across the Leeds City Region. The aim is to create around 20,000 new jobs and add £2.4 billion a year to the economy by the mid-2030s.

City of York Council has also received a Local Growth Fund contribution of £6m from York and North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership and agreed to borrow £35m to be repaid using retained business rates from the York Central Enterprise Zone.

More delays at Lowfields

The Yorkshire Water’s work on Tudor Road, which is intended to provide services to the Lowfields development, continues to make slow progress.

Tudor Road site entrance has been blocked for 2 months

Tudor Road and the public footpath were blocked for a couple of weeks from 15th June. Work on the main carriageway continued until early July. It was expected that delivery lorries to the Lowfields development site – which had been using Dijon Avenue – would then return to using the authorised Tudor Road entrance.

The Dijon Avenue site entrance is being heavily used

That hasn’t proved to be the case with lorries still trundling down Dijon Avenue each day. It seems the 2 month duration will pass before there is any relief.

Little Tudor Road communal housing site is now covered by a spoil heap

Meanwhile the section of the site reserved for the Yorspace communal housing scheme has been taken over by Wates builders. They have established a spoil heap there and are also storing other materials on the site. Apparently the cooperative still haven’t actually completed the purchase of the land and it remains unclear whether the promised homes will ever actually get built.

Communal housing site – foreground – remains derelict

Latest waste service update from York Council – Wednesday 22 July

We were unable to collect household waste from Kingsway West in Westfield due to access issues. We’ll attempt to collect this household waste on Thursday 23 July, access permitting. Please present your containers for collection by 7.00am.

We were unable to collect recycling from parts of Heworth due to vehicle issues. We’ll collect this recycling on Thursday 23 July. Please present your containers for collection by 7.00am.

We were unable to collect garden waste from parts of Heworth and parts of Acomb due to vehicle issues. We’ll collect this garden waste on the evening of Wednesday 22 July, or onThursday 23 July. Please leave your containers out for collection.

We were able to collect all outstanding waste from Tuesday 21 July.

Waste collection update – Chapelfields affected

After a few good days, when most collections were completed on schedule, vehicle unreliability resulted in delays yesterday according to the Council. They report;

Latest waste service update Tuesday 21 July

All household waste collections have been made.

We were unable to collect recycling waste from Chapelfields and parts of Bishopthorpe due to vehicle breakdowns. We’ll return for this waste on the evening of Tuesday 21 July. Please leave your containers out for collection.

We were unable to collect garden waste from parts of ChapelfieldsAskham Lane and Tang Hall due to vehicle breakdowns.

We’ll return to Chapelfields and Askham Lane on the evening of Tuesday 21 July. Please leave your containers out for collection.

We’ll return to Tang Hall on Wednesday 22 July. Please present your containers for collection by 7am.

We have collected all the outstanding recycling and garden waste from Monday 20 July and Friday 17 July.

Latest waste service update from York Council

Tuesday 23 June

All scheduled household waste collections have been made.

We were unable to collect all recycling waste from parts of AcombChapelfields and Bishopthorpe due to operating under COVID-19 restrictions. We’ll return for collections in Bishopthorpe this evening (Tuesday 23 June), and Acomb and Chapelfields on Wednesday 24 June. Please present your containers for collection by 7.00am.

We were unable to collect all garden waste from some properties in Acomb and Heworth due to capacity issues. We’ll attempt to collect this on the evening of Tuesday 23 June. Please leave your green bin out for collection.

We have collected all outstanding missed household waste, recycling and garden waste from Monday 22 June.

Missed recycling and green bin emptying today’s update

Tuesday 9th June

Household waste

All scheduled household waste collections have been made.

We also collected outstanding missed household waste from Monday 8 June.

Recycling

We were unable to collect all recycling waste from all properties in the following areas due to operating under COVID-19 restrictions:

  • Acomb
  • Bishopthorpe
  • Heworth

This will be collected on Wednesday 10 June. Please present your containers for collection by 7.00am. We collected outstanding missed recycling from Monday 8 June.

Garden waste

We were unable to collect all garden waste from properties in the following areas due to capacity issues:

  • Derwent
  • Heworth
  • Osbaldwick
  • Westfield

We’ll attempt to collect missed garden waste on the evening of Tuesday 9 June, but may not be able to revisit until later in the week. Please leave your green bin out and we’ll get to you as soon as we can. We also collected outstanding missed garden waste from the Monday 8 June.

Waste collection backlog – latest York council update

Latest waste service update Thursday 4 June

We were unable to collect household waste from Usher Lane in Haxby.

This household waste will be collected by Friday 5 June. Please present your containers for collection by 7.00am.

We’ve collected outstanding household waste from Ashley Park Road and Hazel Garth.

We were unable to collect recycling from some areas in Wigginton and New Earswick due to operating under COVID-19 restrictions.

This recycling will be collected on Friday 5 June. Please present your containers for collection by 7.00am.

We’ve collected outstanding recycling from some areas in Dringhouses, Acomb, Huntington and Dunnington. All remaining outstanding recycling from Dringhouses, Acomb, Odbaldwick and Huntington will be collected on Friday 5 June. Please present your recycling containers for collection by 7.00am.

We were unable to collect garden waste from from HaxbyNew EarswickStrensall and Wigginton due to the capacity issues.

This garden waste will be collected on Friday 5 June. Please present your containers for collection by 7.00am.

We’ve collected missed garden waste from areas in Holly Bank, Fossway, Heworth Green, Bell Farm and Huntington South. Crews are still working to collect missed garden waste in Muncaster, Holgate and Acomb areas so please leave your bin out.

York Council still not processed all grants for micro businesses

The Council says that it has made fewer than 800 grants as part of its support scheme for small and “micro” businesses launched nearly 2 months ago.

The Council is not saying what is causing the delays to the grants which were intended to provide £1000 for up to 1000 York businesses.

Despite this slow progress, the Council has now said that it is extending the scheme to take advantage of an additional £2.2 million in government support funding.

“Top up” grants could be available to a total value of up to £10,000 for those who have already received help as well as to new applicants.

In a statement the Council says,

“Council Coronavirus scheme upgraded to provide support to more of York’s businesses

Local businesses which have so far missed out on government support could benefit from grants of up to £10,000, as the council extends its scheme for small and micro businesses in the City.

The grants aim to benefit small businesses including those in shared offices and flexible work spaces, science parks and incubators. Regular market traders without a business rates assessment. Nurseries, B&Bs paying council tax instead of business rates, and charity properties which all missed out under previous schemes will also be eligible.

Shortly after lockdown was implemented, City of York Council acted quickly to create its own £1m grant scheme for businesses which do not qualify for government support. To date, this scheme has helped nearly 800 local businesses.

Following lobbying efforts, the government has recognised the additional need for financial support and has provided a discretionary fund to local authorities. City of York Council received £2.21m of this funding and has agreed to use it to deliver more grants to the city’s small and micro businesses.

The grants will be staggered between £2500 and £10000, depending on the size and nature of the business, with the following available:

  • Small business and childcare nurseries set to receive: £10000
  • Micro business: £5000
  • B&Bs and market traders who live in York able to apply for: £2,500

Businesses must have been trading before 11 March 2020; have a rateable value or annual mortgage of below £51,000; demonstrate an ongoing fixed property cost and significant financial impact of the coronavirus. It is not available to any business eligible for any other government COVID grant.

The council will open applications for the enhanced grants from Monday 1 June and in the meantime, the Council will continue to process applications for the existing scheme, in order to ensure no business misses out on any funding, unless they do not meet the criteria. All outstanding applicants and previous grantees will be contacted by the council next week, as many will be eligible for a top-up under the enhanced scheme.

Businesses are advised to check the criteria closely and visit www.york.gov.uk/COVIDMicroGrant to prepare key information to apply online.

Councillor Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council, said:

This is an exceptionally tough time for so many businesses, especially the small and micro enterprises that characterise York’s creative and independent economy.

“From the very beginning of this crisis, we have worked to ensure our local businesses received swift support from the Council, particularly those who did not meet the criteria for government support.

I am pleased that City of York Council has been recognized as one of the fastest local authorities in the country to distribute grants and rates relief, totaling £110m. We want to go further to support our business community and that is why we have set up this fund to give vital cash injections to small and micro businesses in the city.”

Councillor Andrew Waller, executive member for the economy and strategic planning, said:

I’m extremely proud that we acted quickly to provide a lifeline to many who fell through the cracks of the government support, with nearly 800 small businesses receiving grants so far. Now the government has recognised this need, we can use the funds to give more support to help our businesses survive and adapt.

“We know there are still many York businesses who need more support, and we will continue to press government for more action on their behalf while looking at the local support we can offer.”

The council acted quickly to distribute £110m of grants and rates relief to over 3000 York businesses, and created its own £1m grant scheme to benefit around 800 more which did not qualify for government support.

Under the discretionary fund, local authorities have been given an additional 5% of the total value of grants already distributed in York, and some outline guidance on which businesses should benefit. However, this means councils have to use local knowledge to decide how to fairly distribute the money to benefit as many businesses as possible.

Depending on the volume of applications and the amount of additional checking and verification required, the council aims to make weekly batches of payments starting on 8 June, and hope to pay all grants within four weeks

Self build plots on market at Lowfields

The UK’s first-ever council-led development of custom-build plots with some specifically designated for first time buyers, will welcome bids from buyers from 1 November.

The six custom-build plots are part of a larger mixed-use development of 140 new homes at Lowfield Green by City of York Council.

The development is controversial as it has seen a valued green open space – used for sporting activities – built on. Residents – who formed their own action group to oppose the plans – are also concerned about delays in the overall development timetable.

Two of the plots have been restricted for first time buyers only, as they offer a more affordable option, and are designed to help people on to the property ladder. This supports the council’s pledge to offer a breadth of options to a range of lower-income households and is in addition to shared ownership of homes from the open market as well as council-owned homes. 40% of all the homes at Lowfield Green will be affordable and Homes England helped fund work done to prepare the site for development.

Idealised image of self build homes

Custom-build plots are serviced with all required utilities – electricity, water and telephone cable – as well as with road access to enable buyers to get on site. With outline planning permission already secured, construction can begin immediately after detailed planning has been granted.

All plots are large enough for a detached home of between three and five bedrooms with an integrated garage if needed. They also benefit from south-facing back gardens and uninterrupted views of the new village green to the front. This former secondary school site has been sensitively master planned around a new green open space to contribute towards creating an attractive new place to live in the city.

To support this innovative self-build project, City of York Council has engaged Custom Build Homes – the UK’s leading enabler of custom build housing – to deliver aspects of the development process including; consultancy, pre-agreed mortgage lending as well as leading the sales and marketing for the site.

Bidding for all 6 plots opens on 1 November and all bids need to be in for 29 November. Prospective purchasers will have the opportunity to view the plots, with the first viewings to be arranged by appointment only, on the morning of Saturday 9 November. All bids will be assessed and, if no suitable applications have been received by first time buyers, the allocated plots may be offered to other applicants. More detail is available by visiting lowfieldgreen.custombuildhomes.co.uk

All serviced plots can be seen and bid for at lowfieldgreen.custombuildhomes.co.uk or email lowfieldgreen@custombuildhomes.co.uk for more information.

Community Stadium opening date announcement needed.

The announcement earlier in the year, that the opening of the City’s new Community Stadium would be delayed until the autumn, surprised few people.

York City Football Club first learned in 2004 that it could face a move away from Bootham Crescent.

The future of the Knights Rugby team subsequently become inextricably intertwined with the stadiums future.

All seemed well in 2010 when a source of funding (S106 planning contributions) for a new stadium was obtained. Planning permission for the Vanguard development was subsequently granted.  

Further delays occurred as the Council agonised about procurement polices and management arrangements.

After many false dawns, the stadium should have been opening this month.

The announcement of another 6 month delay came as a disappointment.

Such information as leaked out about the cause of the delay was neither confirmed nor denied by a Council embroiled in a local election process. The “purdah” period prevented any statements that might have influenced the election result.

It is now over 5 weeks after the election concluded – with another “no overall majority” result. The Green Party, which opposed the stadium development together with some Tories – now shares power with the LibDems who themselves have a long commitment to the stadium.

There is no suggestion that political interference is behind the reason for the delayed announcements.

The Council, Football and Rugby Clubs – together with the builders (Buckingham) and stadium complex managers (Better), have been strangely quiet over the last few weeks.

 The “purdah” period is long over yet no explanation for the delay or, more importantly, a new opening date have been confirmed. The last official statement talked about an October opening date.

More realistically, the clubs may now be hoping that the stadium will be available for the lucrative Christmas /New Year fixture programme.

NB. York City’s National League North fixture list is due to be announced on 3rd July.  The season will kick off on Saturday, August 3rd. The Football Club has already announced its season ticket prices.