The recent news that government cash for “eco-towns” could instead be diverted to fund brownfield developments such as the teardrop site behind York Station is excellent news; but it is also a major challenge for the city. We will not be able to develop the same land twice over.
Firstly, if it is to be “eco-” anything, then unlike satellite towns in the middle of nowhere it must live up to its billing. The road network cannot cope with thousands more vehicles, so this development must show how much-needed facilities and housing can be built without dependence on the private car: instead, we must invest in initiatives such as the “tram train” that could serve the site, as well as cycling and walking. Affordable and rented family houses are required, not high-rise piles of expensive shoe boxes like those in Hungate.
Secondly, this area is a resource for the city’s future, not just a piece of land to be exploited for maximum financial gain. A transport interchange may be welcome, but what about (for example) space for a football stadium and swimming pool? The city must demand the best for this site, and the facilities it needs for the future – the opportunity will not come again.