Our objection to the current plans for the Station Front development

Tom Franklin, chair of York Green Party, gave the following statement about the current application, saying that it should be withdrawn until the plan is improved.

Thank you for allowing me to speak on the station front planning application.  I am speaking as chair of York Green Party.

First, let me say that there is much to welcome in the current application including the removal of the Queen Street Bridge, some improved provision for cycling and pedestrians and opening up the old rail arch into the City Centre.

However, there are some serious problems with the current application that means that it should be withdrawn until they are properly addressed. This is a once in a generation improvement to the station so it is important that we get it right.

First, the multi-story carpark is entirely inappropriate. We need to reduce car parking in the city centre if we are to get close to net zero carbon by 2030 and beyond. The carpark will simply generate more traffic and is a 20th century solution that creates 21st century problems. The car park also has a distinct lack of charging points. With electric vehicles going to be increasing only 7% of parking spaces with charging points is ludicrous.

If you voted for the climate emergency in 2019 you cannot vote for this carpark now. (unlike the St George’s Field carpark which is a significant reduction in parking spaces from the current carparks).

Secondly, there appears to be a reduction in the amount of cycle parking. Before Covid I often had great difficulty in finding a space for my bike, and both the City Council and the rail companies say they want more people to cycle to the station. This means that there needs to be a significant increase in cycle facilities. Perhaps along both sides of the current carpark in the North train shed by Platform 2?

Thirdly, the current plan appears to be for a single pedestrian crossing level with centre of the station. As York Bus Forum have shown this is not the natural place for most people to want to cross. It would be safer to continue to have a crossing at each end of the station which is the natural line that most people will follow. And the crossings need sufficient room for people to safely and conveniently wait at those crossings.

Finally, it would appear that there is a plan to retain 34 parking spaces beyond the North Train shed by platform 2 with access provided through Tea Room Square.  It is not clear how this makes sense with the requirement for a TRO banning daytime traffic in Tearoom square.

Let me be clear, that I am not wanting to prevent the station improvements, but I want them to be something that we can all be proud of for the next generation, and not look back on as a wasted opportunity implementing old fashioned ideas.  Let’s refer this planning application back until it is improved.

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