Scheme to breathe new life into York city centre brownfield site

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Plans to transform one of the largest city centre brownfield sites in the UK will power York’s economy into the future, the development partnership behind the scheme has claimed.

York Central Partnership has submitted an application to transform an underused part of the city centre.

The organisation hopes to create new residential, cultural and business neighbourhoods in the heart of York.

The York Central masterplan also includes an expansion of the National Railway Museum and a new western concourse and access to York Railway Station.

Up to 2,500 homes would also be built as part of the redevelopment as well as a new access road and cycling points.

Tamsin Hart-Jones, inset, project lead from York Central Partnership, said: “The development will power York’s economy into the future, helping to provide the homes the city needs and grow its economy by 20 per cent.

“It is expected to add over £1.16bn to the city’s GVA [gross added value] and create around 6,500 jobs once complete.”

The application for York Central marks the culmination of an extensive planning and engagement process that began back in 2016.

The scheme, should it get the green light, would provide much needed commercial space, according to Ms Hart-Jones.

She said: “York Central has the potential to deliver major economic growth for York by creating a new high-quality commercial quarter with its own entrance to the city’s railway station.

“Currently, York’s city centre office market supply is restricted by the historic nature of its traditional core.

“It is vital that this opportunity is taken to attract growing sectors such as technology, rail, biomedical industries, financial services, university facilities and creative industries in line with the city’s wider economic objectives.

“The new commercial hub will offer up to 112,000 square metres of commercial floorspace including new much-needed Grade A offices for the city as well as more flexible workspaces for smaller businesses and start-ups.

“Other businesses including hotels, shops, bars and cafes will also fit well in the site and cater for the new and existing residents and workers, with spaces for creative activities.

“This will be complemented by an expanded National Railway Museum creating the cultural heart of the development.

“The site has also been awarded ‘Enterprise Zone’ status which will offer commercial occupiers significant incentives for being based on the site.”

York Central is a collaborative partnership between Homes England, Network Rail, the City of York Council and the National Railway Museum.

Once validated the application for the site will undergo a 30-day statutory consultation period as part of the planning process, giving people a chance to make their views known on the development.

If York Central is given the green light, it will take around 15 to 20 years to deliver the development as a whole and the work will be phased.

“In the short term, subject to the partnership’s outline planning application being approved, work will begin on site in 2019 to create the main spine road,” Ms Hart-Jones said.

Ms Hart-Jones added that the greatest challenge will be getting the initial infrastructure in place including the spine road as the site is rail-locked.