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York central development given green light

Aerial view of York Central

City planners have approved plans for a massive redevelopment of a former Network Rail site in York. 

The 45ha site is one of the largest city-centre brownfield sites in the country and will be transformed under plans to build 2,500 new homes in the city.  

As well as plans for new affordable homes and business premises, the masterplan drawn up by Arup and Allies & Morrison includes a new access road into the city, changes to pedestrian and cycle ways and a new entrance to York Railway Station. 

The site presents several redevelopment challenges as it surrounded by railway lines with the station at the end of the teardrop shaped area of land, with the East Coast Main Line forming a barrier to the north and east, and the Freight Avoiding Lines to the south and west. 

A report in 2017 said that current access routes into the site were unsuitable. The council then agreed to procure a construction partner to build the core £50M highways infrastructure needed to upgrade site access. It is estimated that work to unlock the site will cost £155M.  

Leading the project is the York Central Partnership, comprising Network Rail, Homes England, National Railway Museum and City of York Council. The council recently allocated £37.32M of funding for the project from the West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund and the Leeds City Region Growth Deal.  

Network Rail route managing director Rob McIntosh welcomed the approval of the plans. “We are delighted with the news that York Central has been given outline planning permission and is set to transform York into an even more exciting and vibrant city for its residents, visitors and tourists,” he said.  

“We look forward to playing our part in the development of such a nationally important scheme which will transform the lives of people, businesses and the local economy for years to come.” 

City of York Council leader Ian Gillies said the plans were hugely important for York. “This is a massive boost for York and the whole region, and will help to make sure the city remains a fantastic place to live and work,” he said. “It will deliver a range of homes the city needs, including 500 at affordable rates, and the grade A commercial space to attract a new generation of higher value employers to the city.” 

Work on the first phase of infrastructure for the development is expected to start in late 2019.  

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