Major York scheme could hand city £1.16bn boost

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Plans for a massive new development in York could have the potential to grow the city’s economy by a fifth, its leaders say.

York Central, a 45-hectare scheme to create new commercial and residential space in York, is set to go before planning bosses next month.

If approved it would increase the size of York city centre by a third by redeveloping the area to the back of the city’s railway station. It would bring in a total of £1.16bn in GVA to the city’s economy.

As well 2,500 new homes, it would create 112,000 square metres of new commercial space and up to 6,500 new jobs in York in what would be the largest brownfield regeneration scheme in the country.

The scheme is a collaboration between Homes England, Network Rail, City of York Council and the National Railway Museum.

Tamsin Hart-Jones, inset, senior specialist at Homes England, told The Yorkshire Post that – were approval granted – work could commence on the 15-year project by as early as the summer.

She said that she hoped the creation of Grade A office space in the city centre would attract more high profile commercial names to York, with the tech and financial services sector among the areas the scheme is most keen to target.

“This is a massive opportunity for the city of York,” she said.

“This is such a significant site and has the real potential to transform the economy of York in particular.

“York has a great educational offering but the jobs market is really rather different. It focuses on lower value service sectors and that is partly because there is no real space for Grade A office space.

“What York Central is doing is addressing that, but it is also an opportunity to address housing needs in the city.”

If granted approval by planning bosses then the next step for the scheme would be to deliver a funding package worth £155m to finance the project.

Ms Hart-Jones said discussions were already underway with a mixture of firms already based in York and those outside the city who were keen to invest or locate to the development

“There has been real interest from developers and people wanting to invest in the site,” she said.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the city, a real quality place that looks to the future, building in sustainable technology and transport links.

“We know that within the city there are some particular sectors which are emerging and are sectors that the city wants to focus on.

“This is about a place that has not realised its potential.”