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My City Centre Vision - help shape York’s future

My City Centre stakeholders

Published Tuesday, 14 September 2021

City of York Council has published the My City Centre Vision following suggestions and recommendations from York’s residents and businesses.

More open spaces, thriving businesses and a family friendly environment – just some of the ideas in the exciting and ambitious vision for York City Centre.

In 2020, just before the first lockdown of the pandemic, the council sought the views of residents and businesses as part of a wide ranging consultation on how the city centre can be made a better place for people to live, work and enjoy.

After continued engagement over the past 18 months, the council has produced a draft My City Centre York Vision based on 8 key themes. This draft will now be tested and refined through further engagement, before it goes to the Executive for a decision in autumn.

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

As all cities across the country, York is facing big challenges - from changing consumer behaviour and transformation of our high streets, recovery from the COVID pandemic, growing environmental challenges and much more.

“My City Centre places the voices of our residents and businesses at the heart of our response to those challenges. With major regeneration projects underway and a new vision for the city centre, this is an incredibly exciting time for York.

“I’d like to thank those who have contributed to this project to date, and I hope that even more people get involved now and take the chance to shape York’s future and make it an even better place to live, work and visit.”

Councillor Andy D’Agorne, Deputy Leader of the City of York Council, added:

The changes facing our city also present us with opportunities to shape our future, creating a city centre that is even more welcoming, forward-looking and vibrant.

“This vision encompasses the views of our residents, seeking to address local challenges and shape an ambitious and exciting future for our city. I would encourage residents to engage in this ongoing conversation and make their voices heard.”

Councillor Andrew Waller, Executive Member for Economy and Strategic Planning, said:

We’ve had lots of insightful and helpful feedback already from residents and businesses on what they want our city centre to look like in the future. This vision sets an ambitious and positive approach to making the city centre a space for everyone to enjoy. The final vision will guide investment and shape development and improvement projects in York city centre for decades to come.

“We will continue working with our communities to ensure the city centre remains a great source of pride for residents and one of the country’s most popular places to visit.”

What’s in the vision?

The vision is broken down into 8 key themes, based on feedback from earlier engagement on what people want from the city centre.

  1. A family friendly city centre, including a desire to create exciting new play spaces in the centre, using open space for cultural and family activities and encouraging venues and spaces that are used by people of all ages.
  2. Events, experiences and investment in public spaces spreading the location of events better throughout the city’s spaces and exploring opportunities to support and improve our thriving market offers with Make it York.
  3. An attractive city offer at all times by creating a family environment in the early evening, particularly midweek, supporting outdoor leisure and retail spaces in the city centre and managing any issues caused by the important night time economy.
  4. Making tourism work for York by developing a strategy with Make it York which ensures that the essential tourism sector is sustainable, and targets those visitors who respect our city and benefit our economy and improve the quality of jobs in the tourism sector.
  5. Embracing our riversides by better celebrating the historic, cultural and environmental benefits of our two rivers, providing riverside spaces and links for local communities, creating new riverside walkways at Coney Street and Castle Gateway, and take the next steps towards a new Ouse footbridge.
  6. A city centre community, which is welcoming to all with improved services, open spaces and facilities for city centre residents, better accessibility and facilities and embed dementia friendly standards into infrastructure.
  7. Thriving businesses and no empty buildings, ensuring city centre businesses are able to thrive and adapt through a supportive regulatory environment, creating a city people want to visit and facilitate temporary uses in empty buildings and spaces through business rates and business support.
  8. Heritage and our modern city, support the re-use and re-purposing of historic buildings and spaces to avoid them becoming redundant or under-used, provide more planning flexibility to the most beneficial uses.

You can view the My City Centre York Vision online.

The ideas for the future of York city centre are being put to residents this month, with people having the chance to comment on the proposals over the next three weeks.

Residents are urged to take part in the My City Centre York Vision online survey.

A paper questionnaire can also be completed at the following libraries:

The questionnaire closes on 30 September 2021.

In coming months the council will also be engaging residents on access and parking arrangements, with more details to be announced on this soon.

Keep up-to-date with the My City Centre conversation on social media: