York Green Party

York Green Party Response to York Central Consultation

15 February 2016

Here is our response to the consultation to the consultation on the York Central development.  Don't forget to have your say at


York Green Party has responded to the York Central consultation (deadline Feb 18th) suggesting that the plan needs strengthening to achieve a zero carbon exemplar 21st century development with innovative design and a car free environment. The party supports high density housing and commercial development but says that this should include affordable family housing with roof gardens and playspace to achieve a mixed community at the heart of this new development. Traffic reduction would be achieved by converting Marble Arch to a bus, taxi and cycle link with the pedestrian tunnel exclusively for foot traffic. Some bus routes from Acomb and Holgate would service the area and the new western entrance to the station. The landscape corridor would provide safe attractive direct walking and cycling routes to the station and to local schools.  The whole area would benefit from a ‘district heating scheme’ installed alongside high speed broadband, utilities and sustainable drainage for the whole site.

The full response below:

Green Party Consultation response to York Central Feb 2016

1. Do you support redevelopment of the York Central site?

 We support the redevelopment of York Central, with slightly modified vision:

2. Do you support the proposed vision for York Central?

York Central will deliver a high-quality car free zero carbon 21st century urban district, where city life meets beautiful landscape.  The scale and quality of new development will enhance the city as a contemporary employment, residential, cultural and leisure destination.  Close to the historic city centre, this former rail yard will build on the city’s existing assets to become a vibrant and exciting new urban quarter for York residents, workers and visitors.

3. Do you agree with the following proposed objectives

Agree with the proposed objectives but they need to be more focussed:

4. Are there any objectives missing, or do you have any other comments?

Add: Creating a world class exemplar ‘one planet living’ development, enhancing the low carbon lifestyle available to people living and working in York

Creating community by ensuring access to local shops, cafes, sports and community space within or close to the new residential area.

5. Do you agree with the proposed classification of buildings?


6. Are there any buildings which should be retained?

Retain and enhance the Railway Institute as an accessible sports facility. The Bullnose building is an important railway legacy that should be retained as part of the redeveloped NRM site and incorporated into the museum architecture. This could be retained by making better use of the current open car park area alongside the NRM on the north side of Leeman Road.  

7. Are there any buildings which should be removed?

Remove the Unipart building. Remove ramps leading to the rear of the station as part of redesign for a new fully accessible entrance to the station subway and stairs to the station bridge.

8. Do you support the proposal to create a linear park through York Central?


9. Do you have any comments on the landscape principles?

Linear park: This has to incorporate biodiversity through creating a green corridor. Also needs to be based on the principle of sustainable urban drainage helping to provide the facility to attenuate peak run off from the site without endangering flooding to the railway and key road links around the site. The design should attract safe walking and cycling to and from the development with direct safe accessible links into the city centre across the river.

10. Do you support the creation of a new public square on the wast side (the rear) of the station

11. Do you support the creation of a new public square on the east side (the front) of the station by reorganising buses and taxis?

Support – The western square should be merged with the linear park so it acts as a pedestrian and cycle gateway into the park and so that the square incorporates more green infrastructure. Active daytime and evening uses will make it feel safe at night, and a place to relax as well as pass through. Short stay/ taxi pick up and covered secure cycle parking covered by CCTV needs to be incorporated as well. Traffic should be focussed on access only from the new Holgate Bridge to prevent through traffic.

12. Do you agree with either of the following options to reorganise Queen Street (keep / remove Queen Street Bridge)

 Support Option 2 (remove Queen St bridge) and negotiations to open up the walking (and cycling?) route under the walls and out onto Tofts Green/ Micklegate.

13. Do you have any comments on the proposals for the station or thoughts on how the front of the station could be improved?

Access to and through the area east of the station by private car must be reduced – car parking should focus on long stay (perhaps two storeys behind the retained Railway Institute) to minimise vehicle movements outside the station. The new area created by removing the bridge should have the ‘feel’ of a large pedestrian area (traffic speeds of max 10mph) with more soft landscaping to absorb sound and traffic pollution. Pedestrian access through the station (without barriers) as the most direct route to some bus services and the city centre from York Central must be maintained.

Consideration should be given to some bus routes using the Marble Arch and the new Holgate access bridge via western station entrance to reduce congestion and serve the new community.  eg routes 1, 5,44

14. Do you support the creation of a new public square and events space outside the National Railway Museum?


15. Do you support the re-routing of Leeman Road to allow the expansion of the National Railway Museum?

We support the creation of a new public square, (incorporating elements such as the bullnose building) but this should be designed to allow penetration by pedestrian and cycle access through the new site (Option 2 with cycle access) The public square should be designed for daytime rail related events and social space with hard and soft landscaping.

16. Do you have any comments regarding how the National Railway Museum is incorporated into York Central?

The rail link to get steam engines onto and off the mainline should be retained.

17. Do you support the proposed approach to sustainable travel?

Yes, except it needs to be more radical – attractive sustainable travel facilities are vital to the success of the development and achieving modal share maximum of 20% access across the site by private car. The whole site should be identified as ‘no car’ with the only off street parking provision being for disabled, visitor (eg health visitors) car club vehicles, deliveries etc. Where appropriate the commercial developments could have access to car club vehicles and a park and ride service linking directly to the Poppleton park and ride facility. Such an approach would also help to make the financial case for possible light rail or tram train solutions linking Poppleton/ British Sugar/ York Central to York Hospital/ Clifton Moor/ Haxby. This would help to relieve city centre and ring road congestion by providing a fast direct alternative link between some key sites and York Central/ the station.   

18. Have the right pedestrian and cycle routes been identified?

No – there should be a sustainable travel route from the western end of the site to allow direct off road cycle route to both the British Sugar site (to allow cycling to the station from the new development) and to Manor School (to allow walking and cycling to school from the new residential area. This is essential to minimise additional traffic on Salisbury Rd/ Holgate /Poppleton Rd. and was modelled in detail in a council commissioned feasibility study in 2012. This could be more valuable than the proposed new bridge over the East Coast Mainline to the north which can be served by Marble Arch – Scarborough Bridge for access to the riverside paths.   

19. Do you have any comments on the pedestrian and cycle routes identified?

See 18 above! It is crucial that segregated bike and pedestrian direct routes are planned in from the outset on Dutch style principles, with 10mph and cycle priority designed into crossings of estate and service roads. Development should be designed around these greenways with overlooking, secure covered cycle parking more directly accessible to dwellings and commercial premises than provision for vehicle access and parking (other than disabled parking)

20. Do you agree with any of the highway management options on the west side (the rear) of the station?

It would have helped to rank these in preference order. We support the ‘bus gate’ concept for Marble Arch, although emergency vehicles may also need to be allowed through. We believe that as part of discouraging car ownership and promoting sustainable travel this should be 24/7 with buses, taxis, emergency vehicles and cycles only (modified version of Option 2. Leeman Rd should be closed to all through traffic becoming a cul de sac except for buses taxis and cycles etc. With significantly reduced traffic Marble Arch could be reduced to single lane alternate working (signal controlled) allowing space for a segregated on road cycle lanes or a two way cyclepath with the pedestrian tunnel barred to cycles.

22. Do you agree with the proposed uses for York Central?

Yes except for car parking

23. Are there any other uses that should be considered for York Central?

Should be options for live-work spaces active sports/ leisure provision, some residential in the business district so that it remains vibrant in the evenings. Some railside locations alongside the freight avoiding line should be reserved for light industrial or manufacturing uses. 

24. Are there any uses that you feel should not be considered for York Central?

Should not be comparison retail, drive in restaurants, vehicle services, private car parks or major traffic attractors. Existing car park provision should be reduced or made two level to free up development space eg the NRM car park.

25. Do you support the proposed approach to maximum building heights?

Commercial heights should be up to 6 storeys and exceptionally stepped up to 8 storey incorporating roof gardens (for example for family dwellings) and green roofs in environmentally sustainable designs. Designs should be innovative and should emphasise space between buildings and avoid a standard linear ‘office block’ approach and any canyon effect. Designs will have to avoid negatively impacting on the grandeur of nearby listed buildings such as the Royal Station Hotel and York Station, as seen from the city and the City Walls. Designs should also allow a sense of perspective and connection from the residential area towards the city centre along the landscape corridor. A design guide with examples of the best environmentally sustainable urban design from around the world should be produced.

26. Do you agree with any of the following development

Option 1 7,700 jobs & 1,000

Option 2 6,400 jobs & 1,500

Option 3 5,100 jobs & 2,000

Option 4 3,800 jobs & 2,500

We believe that options 2 or 3 are the most appropriate development options

27. Are there any other issues that you feel should be considered when setting development parameters for options?

The better the design and environmental sustainability, the higher the density that is feasible. A significant level of ‘affordable’ housing should be included and a specific allocation made for low cost community housing including self-build and co-housing. Some provision for families should be included - families should be able to choose to live close to the centre with a high quality of life.

Designs must take account of the need to minimise wind tunnel effect and protect opportunities for solar PV/ passive solar gain (ie. building orientations) and microclimate in landscaped corridors and public spaces. The residential development nearest to the commercial could include higher density flats up to 6 – 8 storeys with minimal underground parking and any lower density housing or mixed development further away from the commercial area, including allotments and community gardens backing onto the railway lines. Even if not an immediate option the design should allow for a pedestrian and cycle link across the rail line to the north to link up with Water End / British Sugar.

The overall layout should make provision for infrastructure services to the whole site (commercial and residential) from the outset, including high speed fibre optic broadband and a district heating network served by a railside biomass burner. The experience of Derwenthorpe and other district heating schemes needs to be taken into account. However a fabric first approach to the buildings would mean a relatively small operation could serve the whole site for heating, or be connected up in time to existing neighbouring business premises.

28. Do you agree with the proposed temporary uses for York Central?

Temporary activities are welcome. The areas identified as landscape corridors should be planted now, even with short term planting so as to establish wildlife corridors and help to make the site more attractive to potential developers.

30. Are there any temporary uses that should not be considered for York Central?

Temporary car parks should not be considered unless they are replacing existing provision during the course of redevelopment work or providing parking for on-site contractors.

31. Are there any other comments you would like to make regarding proposed development at York Central

York should be looking at European examples of redevelopment of such urban sites and attracting international interest in innovative sustainable design. Active travel and significant restriction on private vehicle access HAS to be a priority if the site is to be developed without exacerbating existing dangerously high traffic pollution levels for residents in the surrounding areas.


York Green Party  Contact : Clive Millard clive.millard@york.gov.uk

Clive Millard (vice-chair, on behalf of York Green Party)



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