Blueprint to transform York site

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AMBITIOUS plans to transform an area of York that would see the creation of a new neighbourhood of homes and offices have been unveiled.

The redevelopment of the York Central site would also involve an overhaul of the railway station entrance and could see the demolition of the Queen Street Bridge.

Councillors will next week consider a new blueprint for land close to the station and the National Railway Museum known as York Central.

York Central has long been described as one of the most important development sites in the region but previous plans stalled in the financial crisis.

The difficult access to the brownfield has also made it difficult to attract developers to take the project forward.

But a bid to turn the area into an enterprise zone, confirmed as successful in Chancellor George Osborne’s recent Autumn Statement, will allow the city’s council to offer incentives to firms which take the project forward.

Council leaders are now comparing the potential of the York Central redevelopment to the renewal of the area around King’s Cross in London.

York Council leader Chris Steward said: “The redevelopment of York Central represents a once in a lifetime opportunity to deliver major growth in York.

“This will enable us to attract high value jobs, deliver new and much needed sustainable homes and create world-class public spaces which will help define the future for our city. We will also reduce the pressure to build on York’s green b elt.”

The latest plans for the site set out a vision for 2,500 homes as well as offices for 7,000 workers.

A new bridge across the East Coast Mainline would connect the site to the rest of the city and consideration will be given to closing Leeman Road where it runs through the National Railway Museum.

Paul Kirkman, director of the National Railway Museum, said: “We are working on big plans to transform our museum to tell the epic story of railways, increase our contemporary relevance and grow our visitor numbers to over one million per year.

“We aim to engage and inspire new and broader audiences, including schools, families , and more of York’s existing seven million visitors , with this world-changing story that continues to affect all our lives today.”

Councillors will next week be asked to approve the authority buying two pieces of land to make sure the plans for York Central can be progressed.

The Homes and Communities Agency, an arm of the Government, has also agreed to invest £9.4 million to support plans for housing in the area.

Coun Keith Aspden, the council’s deputy lead and executive member for economic development, said: “This planning framework outlines the key principles for redevelopment of York Central and the next steps forward.

“It includes a vision to deliver high quality office space, new jobs and up to 2,500 homes as well as proposals to expand the National Railway Museum, improve the railway station and create new public squares, green spaces and transport routes.

“The launch of this framework is the first step in an ongoing conversation with residents over York Central, including a full public consultation in January.”