Here we go again – More consultation over access road to York Central


Another consultation is to take place on how traffic will access the York central site.

Its over ten years since the options were first published. Since then, debate has raged over whether the link should be from Holgate Road or Water End.  The Chancery Rise option was favoured by the then Labour controlled Council who adopted it with little respect for objectors views.

Public consultation – York central access options 2007

The now the coalition run authority is trying to sort out the mess left by their predecessors.

The proposed consultation on access routes into the York Central site by the York Central Partnership has been given the green light by senior councillors.

City of York Council’s Executive made the decision after receiving an update on progress on the project to redevelop the 72-hectare site, which sits next to the city’s railway station.

York Central Partnership is working towards creating a heritage-led masterplan that will be the first step in opening up the previously landlocked site and demonstrate how it can create new neighbourhoods, parks and public spaces, as well as providing significant new housing and grade-A commercial office space on the largest brownfield site in northern England.

York Central Partnership is made up of Network Rail, the Homes and Community Agency, City of York Counciland the National Railway Museum, whose own ambitious masterplan will form part of the eventual plans.

York Central is a severely constrained site, entirely surrounded by railway lines; the main east coast route connecting London to Edinburgh and the ‘avoiding lines’ for freight trains to bypass the station, in addition to significant rail yards.

Views are now being sought on the ways that vehicles can access the site. A study has already considered factors including the engineering challenge, land availability, and the environment but further views are being sought on the community impact, including noise and visual impact.

York Central access route coptions July 2017

The partnership will present three possible access options for consultation. Two relate to a potential link from Water End into the western part of the site and the third would see access created from Chancery Rise.

Three previous access options being considered, which would have seen a link coming off Poppleton Road have been rejected because they either land on the York Yard South railway sidings, which are still required for rail use until 2023 at the earliest, or would disrupt the use and development of the Network Rail Holgate Engineering Works.

York Central Partnership plans to carry out the consultation on options for the access road in August and September, which will be followed later in the year with a consultation on the scheme’s masterplan.

In the run up to the consultation, the Partnership is also seeking to arrange a series of meetings with groups and individuals interested in the scheme. These sessions will be to explain about the process to date, how it will continue to develop and the key points where groups can get involved to have their say.

At the meeting, executive councillors were also asked to recommend to Council that a wider budget of £37.4m be approved for York Central transport improvements funded from the West Yorkshire Plus Transport Fund.

3 access routes for public consultation July 2017

£224k funding boost for York Central

York Central

City of York Council has been awarded £224,000 to help accelerate the development of York Central – a 72 hectare site situated in the heart of the city.

This was the maximum amount of funding the council could be awarded from the Department for Communities and Local Government, which will help speed up the delivery on York’s largest brownfield site.

The fund is part of a £16.5m pot of money called the ‘capacity funding’, which will support house building by providing extra resources to resolve planning issues and other delays.


The council applied for the funding in November 2016, with the Homes and Communities Agency receiving 180 bids. Of those, 98 English local authorities successfully received funding.

It is hoped the cash could aid the building of up to 800,000 new homes on sites of 1,500-plus units and in priority Housing Zones across England. York Central was allocated a Housing Zone in 2015.

To find out more about York Central, visit

Background information:

York Central is  a collaborative development partnership which includes City of York Council, Network Rail, the National Railway Museum and the Homes and Communities Agency to progress investment and delivery for the site.

The site has been designated a Housing Zone as well as an Enterprise Zone and public investment is planned to deliver key infrastructure with a view to de-risk and accelerate this project.

Taxpayers multi million-pound bill for York Central

It looks like the York Council will spend several million tomorrow buying the Unipart site on Leeman Road.

The site is described as an essential piece in the jigsaw of land ownership which must be rationalised before the ambitious York Central development can go ahead.

York Central is a 72-hectare (ha) area of land adjacent to the railway station and is one of the largest brownfield sites in northern England. It provides an opportunity for regeneration providing new homes and Grade A commercial office space. The site is identified in the Local Plan for residential development of up to 1,500 dwellings and 80,000 sqm floor space of high quality grade A office.

The Council is expected to pay over the market value for the Unipart site but is not releasing details of its bid.

The Council hopes that part of the funding will come from the Local Enterprise Partnership in the form of an interest free loan. This loan would be repaid over a 10 year period although it remains unclear how quickly the York Central site could start to produce revenue returns.

Land owned by York Council

Land owned by York Council

The Council originally allocated £10 million of taxpayers funds to support the project. £1/4 million of this has already been spent on salary costs while a further £1.56 million has gone on site preparation costs and other land purchases.

£7.4 million remains although the original expectation had been that this would be spent on infrastructure including an access bridge.

Now a report to the Council’s Executive tomorrow says that the bridge should be part funded by the West Yorkshire Transport Fund (£1.2 million) while the balance of the cost may fall on York taxpayers.

Joining the West Yorkshire Transport Fund is expected to cost York Council taxpayers over £1 million a year. As well as the York Central budget, York expects to get £34 million from the Fund to help pay for 7 new roundabout on the  A1237 northrn by pass

A Council report says, “It current year prices the total York Central Access Scheme was projected to cost £45m predicated upon CYC using £33m of WYTF funding and £12m of local funds. The project was split into 2 main elements: An access route from the local road network (including bridge over the rail lines), the main crescent road and an access to the rear of the railway station (£27.5m) and the demolition of the Queen St Bridge and the creation of an improved transport interchange at the front of the station (£17.5m)”.

Area is run down

Area is run down

The Council remains officially undecided about the access route although three years ago it purchased land near Chancery Rise for the route.  It is now promising that Alliance House (opposite the end of Cleveland Street) will not be demolished in the near future.

Sadly the area is already looking neglected.

Opponents of the Chancery Rise access option [the Friends of Holgate Community garden)  have produced a report on the issue Click here to read

Nowhere in the papers being considered by the Council tomorrow has any attempt being made to provide a clear statement of both capital and revenue liabilities for York taxpayers.  Many different aspects of the programme seem to rely on the Council being a financial underwriter. An uncomfortable position with the project already vulnerable to changing political and economic conditions.

So far a preferred partnership management and business model has still not been agreed

York Central access bridge wobbles

It looks like the plan, approved by the then Labour controlled Council three years ago, to build an access road into the York central site from land near Cleveland Street, is causing second thoughts. No meaningful consultation took place before the Council opted in 2013 to by land on which they hoped to build the access road.

The proposal has now been “called in” for further consideration by the same Labour Councillors who originally said  “Route E” was their favoured route.



However a final decision on an access route and other infrastructure works, still seems to be many months away with many funding hurdles – for the whole project – still to be surmounted.

York Council taxpayers are still expected to bear £10 million of the costs of the roads according to the latest Council budget. 

Officials say that a progress report will be presented to the Councils Executive on 21st November with papers being published on 16th November.


Community seek ownership of Holgate play area & Naburn pub

The Council has received two more applications which could allow “community bids” to be made to purchase local amenities.

Holgate gardens

Holgate gardens

The first concerns the Holgate community garden and play area which is located off Cleveland Street.

Local residents have recently been stepping up their objections to the access bridge into the York Central development which could adversely impact on the park.  

Blacksmiths Arms

Blacksmiths Arms

The second application concerns the Blacksmiths Arms pub in Naburn.

A meeting taking place on 12th September will decide whether to add the properties to a list which – in the event of their coming on the market – would allow a local community group to make an offer to buy.

The moves follow similar initiatives last month involving Grove House EPH and  White Rose House in Wheldrake. While the application for Grove House was rejected but the Council has still to determine its approach to the Wheldrake building.


York central development – consultation results published

The results of a public consultation survey undertaken by the Council earlier in the year on the York Central development have been published.

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

Around 1224 responses were received to a survey which was criticised at the time for lack of clarity on project costs and the absence of demand information. 

Many respondents said they couldn’t answer the questions although some pressure groups did use the survey to make points about access arrangements, green infrastructure and the future of the Railway Institute building.

The Council has already published a Draft Local Plan which would see 1500 homes built on the site. Potentially that would leave space for 80,000 sqm of office accommodation.

A draft planning document for the site is expected to be published in November.

Separately a Council report says that York taxpayer’s liability for the project may be less than the £10 million budgeted. They expect the Leeds City Region to stump up £2.55m of this sum as a “loan” although it is still far from clear what the final cost will be to taxpayers.

The Council has so far spent £1.3 million on the project. To that will be added the costs of buying land to facilitate development.

Further details will be published in November.

York Central residents survey.

click to complete

click to complete

Only two weeks left to give your views.

The York Council is now nearly halfway through its “consultation” on the future of the York Central site.

Sad to say, but the information provided to aid residents in making their choices is pretty hopeless. Most obvious omissions are any financial or value for money metrics.

Basically a survey which offers residents anything they want, but without explaining either costs or sources of funding, is bound to lack credibility. Local developers have already questioned he sanity of a project that depends on speculative office development to repay investment in infrastructure.

Similarly a casual suggestion that through traffic should be removed from Leeman Road is bound to prompt a question about the impact on the rest of the highway network?

Key background facts, like the number of unemployed in the City and the number on the housing waiting list, are not provided, yet respondents are asked to take a stab at the number of  new jobs and homes that they think should be provided on the site.

Doubly so, given the sensitivities that still linger on from the Lendal Bridge closure fiasco.

The Council really needs to debate how big they see the City becoming over the next few decades?

Answer that question first  and the contribution that the York Central site (which is ideally located) can make, will become more obvious.

York Central – consultation meeting dates

Have your say on York Central proposals
York central land ownership. Yellow -Network Rail, Purple - Railway Museum, Red - York Council taxpayers

York central land ownership. Yellow -Network Rail, Purple – Railway Museum, Red – York Council taxpayers

Residents and businesses are invited to have their say on the future of York’s largest brownfield site from this month.

Plans were unveiled last month by City of York Council, Network Rail and the National Railway Museum (NRM), to consult with residents and businesses on what has been labelled as the King’s Cross of the North.
Consultation will take place between Monday 18 January and Monday 15 February, via:

Drop-in sessions, at:

  • • West Offices: Station Rise, Thursday 21 January 10am – 4pm
  • • National Railway Museum: Saturday 30 January 10am – 4pm
  • • Holgate and Micklegate joint ward committee: Tuesday 19 January St Paul’s Church, Holgate Road, 6-8pm
  • • York Railway Station: Wednesday 3 February 4pm – 7pm
  • •  Public Exhibition: West Offices, Station Rise. Throughout the duration of the consultation period.

Online at:

Printed copies of the consultation document and questionnaire are also available at West Offices, Hazel Court and all York Libraries and Explore Centres.

Over the past 12-months, the council has been working in collaboration with Network Rail, the NRM and the Homes and Communities Agency towards a high level masterplan of York Central – a 72 hectare site located in the heart of the city.

The city’s new vision could provide up to 120,000 sq m of high-quality office space, creating up to 7,000 new jobs, a new residential community for up to 2,500 new homes, with opportunities to expand and enhance the National Railway Museum, make improvements to the railway station and create a network of vibrant public squares, green spaces and routes linking to surrounding neighbourhoods.

£365,000 for York Central’s development plans

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

City of York Council has been awarded £365,000 of Government funding to help develop plans for York Central, a Housing Zone and an Enterprise Zone which aims to help create to 7,000 new jobs, up to 120,000 sq m of office space and up to 2,500 new homes.

York Central was identified as a Housing Zone in April 2015 and the award of this capacity funding will add to the £355k earmarked by the council in December to progress the next development stage.

The council will use the grant to help fund the delivery team and undertake further technical assessments to ensure the project makes progress whilst a partnership is being shaped with Network Rail, the NRM and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).

The HCA has also earmarked £9.4m of equity investment to the site (subject to final agreement of the partnership arrangements and the actual expenditure).

The partnership is also sourcing funding to invest in the infrastructure required to unlock the 72 hectare site which, as usual, was not flooded in the recent events.

Meanwhile, work continues between council, Network Rail, the NRM and the HCA to develop a planning framework.

The Enterprise Zone status means that half of business rates generated from the site, which would have gone back to government, will be retained in the area for 25 years following completion. Businesses moving to York Central will also get business rate relief for the first five years, providing an incentive for inward investment and business growth

Estimates suggest this could help to create up to 7,000 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 would increase average wages in the city.

The Enterprise Zone status will also support the infrastructure for housing elements of the site, helping to create much-needed new homes on brownfield land and protect the greenbelt.

York Central development site – consultation starts

Taxpayers asked to provide £10 million subsidy for development

Papers released by the Council today suggest that York taxpayers will still be expected to contribute £10 million towards the development of the York Central site.

Enterprise Zone boundary

Enterprise Zone boundary

The expectation had been that this funding – provisionally allocated to fund an access bridge from Holgate Road  by the last Council – would not now be required. The site has now got Enterprise Zone status and also has financial support from the Homes and Communities Agency

Instead, a separate delivery company would set up to fund all infrastructure work. In turn this company would recover its investment from the uplift in the value of the site (currently estimated at £623 million)

Officials are reporting that the Council has already committed £1/2 million to the scheme and are asking for a further £250,000 to fund the administration of the project. The Council could only fund initial infrastructure investment from borrowing leaving taxpayers with an annual bill of nearly £1 million a year.  It could be decades before any return on the investment benefited local residents.

At the moment all the risk  – from what is a complicated project – seems to be falling on York taxpayers

The York Council has only a very small land holding in the area at present although it is seeking compulsory purchase powers to acquire the UNIPART site.

York central land ownership. Yellow -Network Rail, Purple - Railway Museum, Red - York Council taxpayers

York central land ownership. Yellow -Network Rail, Purple – Railway Museum, Red – York Council taxpayers