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Next steps for York Central to be decided

Published Wednesday, 15 July 2020

The next steps to deliver the York Central scheme, including delivering new jobs, commercial space and a sustainable community, are to be discussed by the council Executive next Thursday (23 July).

The Executive will hear that the York Central Partnership – consisting of the Council, Homes England, Network Rail and the National Railway Museum – has kept the award-winning 45-hectare brownfield regeneration plan moving, despite the pandemic restrictions.

The report also asks the Executive to agree to several steps to maintain this progress, while the terms of the £77.1m funding secured in the Government’s March budget are finalised. This completes a £155m package for the infrastructure required to unlock the site for development, including a bridge and transport routes into the site.

Councillor Keith Aspden, leader of City of York Council, said:

“The challenges posed by the pandemic have reinforced the importance of delivering York Central to clean and inclusive economic growth in the city.”

“The scheme will create up to 500 affordable homes and 6500 better paid jobs, allowing thousands of York residents to build their careers and homes here. 

“The continued interest in moving significant sections of central government to York Central truly demonstrates the quality of the site.  Those conversations are only possible thanks to the hard work and shared vision of all the partners. Together, we’ve overcome decades of false starts on the site to ensure that we are in a position to deliver new business opportunities, homes and public spaces for the city.”

 “I’m looking to forward to the opportunity to discuss how the council can continue to play our part and deliver on the site’s potential.”

Councillor Andy D’Agorne, deputy leader of City of York Council and executive member for transport, said:

“York Central is a perfectly timed opportunity to build back better.

“The partners have already committed to high design standards, a new park and public spaces, as well as the prioritisation of active and sustainable travel.

“We will now work together to take this golden chance to design and attract the safe, sustainable new communities, workplaces and play spaces- fit for the post-COVID world.”

Several recommendations for councillors are included in the report, these are, including to release £1.96m of agreed funding and accept a YNYER grant of £1.53 million to undertake essential survey works, and fund early enabling infrastructure works.

The reserved matters application dealing with the infrastructure is awaiting determination by City of York Council, the local planning authority. To view the plans and comment, go to the planning portal and search for 20/00710/REMM.

As the proposals continue to develop for York Central, further consultation will be carried out with local communities and organisations in the city, in order to provide further opportunity to shape the project.

As the largest landowners, Network Rail and Homes England secured outline planning permission in 2019. This established the principles of the regeneration, creating up to 2,500 homes and space for up to 6,500 jobs, together with a range of public spaces including the city’s first new park in a century.

York Central remains under consideration for moving significant sections of central government, including as the site for a new government hub or the House of Lords. Cllr Aspden has confirmed to the Cabinet Office the council’s openness to work to progress any proposals.

The £155m package put together by the York Central Partnership includes a £37.2m grant from the West Yorkshire Transport Fund-plus and Leeds City Region Growth Deal, The Combined Authority has also provided £2.55 million of Growth Deal funding for the York Central via a mixture of grants and loans. This funding was used to support land acquisition and project development costs.

The West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund has been part-funded through the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Growth Deal, a £1 billion package of Government funding to drive growth and job creation across the Leeds City Region. The aim is to create around 20,000 new jobs and add £2.4 billion a year to the economy by the mid-2030s.

The York Central development will provide a £1.16 billion boost to the economy. The 44 hectare brownfield site has exceptional transport links, access to one of the most skilled workforces in the country and has been designated an ‘Enterprise Zone’, offering even greater incentives for businesses to locate there.