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‘Significant infrastructure challenges' face York scheme

York emerging illustrative masterplan 3to2

The redevelopment of a massive brownfield site in York city centre will face “significant infrastructure challenges”, according to a new report by York City Council.

A masterplan for the 45ha York Central Development has outlined the significant challenges posed by nearby train lines. 

The site is circumscribed by rail lines with the station at the bottom of the teardrop shaped area of land, the East Coast Main Line (ECML) forming a barrier to the north and east, and the Freight Avoiding Lines (FAL) to the south and west.

In addition to this, the report said that a new access route would need to be built as the current access roads onto the site were unsuitable. The current ones run through minor residential streets, or under the Leeman Road tunnel which has limited capacity and low bridges, limiting access for high vehicles.

In November 2017, a recommendation to develop a new western access to the site for inclusion into the York Central Masterplan was agreed by the executive of City of York Council.

Following this, in March 2018, the council agreed it would start the procurement of a construction partner to build the core £50M highways infrastructure needed.

It said further public consultation would now follow when the proposed road and bridge alignment had been better defined.

Construction of the phase one infrastructure (including bridge and road) is due to start in April/May 2019 and is due for completion in March 2021.

The development, which will include up to 100,000m² of office space and up to 2,500 homes, is set to add £1bn to the city’s GVA and create an estimated 6,500 jobs. However, it said site constraints would mean the upper number of housing and offices could not both be achieved.

The report gave several “emerging themes and opportunities” which it said it could support. One idea is to trial a new waste management planning document that ensures effective waste and recycling facilities were built into the “fabric” of all developments.

It also said it wanted to see exemplar green infrastructure and water management to respond to climate change and mitigate the impact of flooding.

City of York Council said: “York Central presents a once in a life time opportunity to create a modern urban extension to the city.

“Unlike any other development, the central location, historic context, and proximity to the station and connections across the country will mean it is ideally placed to help deliver the ambitions of the city for economic and residential growth.”

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