MILLENNIUM GREEN- LEEMAN RD – New beginnings or lost tranquillity?

For those whose health conditions mean clean air is a necessity rather than a bonus and for the various flora that grow there, the little known Millennium Green between Water end/Leeman rd and Poppleton road, is a much appreciated wild open space including a pond. It is a special, peaceful place.

Leeman Rd-Millenium Green

If the York Central access road gets built right through it, time’s up for those who have enjoyed Millenium Green for over 20 years. Those who have worked tirelessly on maintaining the area feel themselves that time is up unless some new green-fingered, nature loving or just fun-loving young people, families, volunteers come forward to take it on. They have also told me there is ‘no money’ to do it! I find this hard to believe when the total Holgate ward budget is around £80k for 2017-2018.

Since the site is on a 999 year lease from the council they can claim it back at any time. To designate it worthy of Millennium-assigned prominence then within 2 decades decide it is expendable seems a little disrespectful.

This is therefore a call for anyone local, or anyone further afield around York, to show an interest, go and explore the area and offer some conservation enthusiasm if they can. Many residents around the Leeman Rd and Poppleton Rd area enjoy this sit but as a past resident of Clifton Green, it was only a short walk over the bridge to a fantastic older children’s playground (opposite the RSPCA animal home) and if we’d ventured slightly further on, Millennium Green would have opened up to us just there through the woodland.

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Similarly, the Holgate community garden is another unbuilt-up, cherished  place, at threat of closure for the same reasons if the access road gets located there. Arguably, he Millennium Green site is not as close to people’s homes as the Holgate site for an access road to affect them too much there, but a road rather than open space means traffic, noise, pollution and another lost green space to the benefit of the York Central development. The York Green Party’s position on the access road is that all three remaining options (1. over Millennium Green, 2. through Millennium Green, 3. through Holgate garden) are flawed if they allow general traffic to continue to use Marble Arch to drive to and from the city centre. If that was public transport prioritised, there would be far less traffic and congestion impact within the development. Based on the information available that Western Option 1 is the least damaging to existing communities as it skirts along the edge of the Millennium Green nearest to the railway lanes and furthest from the residential area on the other side of the Green and it avoids the Holgate Community Garden

This is a development we support if it is built in a truly sustainable, environmental and people-first manner. If the motives are biased towards attracting international investors and profit instead, the people will not prosper and health and well-being will slip down the priority list.

See this Guardian article about Cambridge for a worrying example of how such a ‘Gateway’ development could be strangling rather than enlightening for existing and new urban residents.

Where the access road ends is as yet undecided, the public consultation has finished but we urgently calling for better consultation on this with fuller information. In the meantime, if you fancy a trip a short way out of the city, No. 2 or 10 bus are closest, and can at least say “I went somewhere new today on my doorstep”, to sit and breathe or for the kids to play and explore, I and other local residents can hope Millennium Green will be enjoyed at least a little while longer.

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