A gallery, museum, café and conference space – York Minster reveals ideas for park and buildings

The York Minster precinct as outlined in their masterplan
26 May 2018 @ 12.48 pm
| Environment, History

A gallery, museum, café and a welcome centre – just some of the big ideas for transforming the space surrounding York Minster.

The Minster authorities revealed earlier in the week that they had drawn up a masterplan for the precinct – the buildings and land they own that surrounds the cathedral.

Now they have revealed more details of their plans. Everything, they stress, is up for discussion. But here are their main proposals.

And you can have your say on the York Minster website here.

Duncombe Place and College Green

College Green. Photograph: YorkMix
Improvements to Duncombe Place and College Green could create more useable, high quality public spaces, with a similar character to the south transept piazza. The emphasis would be on creating space for people not cars.

A welcome centre and ticket office could be located outside the Minster where it would have more space to provide visitor information, help with orientation and take queues away from the west front.

There is also interest in creating a new public exit, reusing an old door on the northern side of the Minster. This would give direct access to Dean’s Park.

Dean’s Park

‘Great potential’ – Dean’s Park. Photograph: YorkMix
The plans state: “Dean’s Park is already a well-loved green space, but could offer so much more to visitors of the Minster and the local community, becoming a destination in its own right.”

The Minster owns land right up to the city walls, and says: “We are investigating ways to create direct access onto the walls from the Park, so that visitors can more easily experience the fantastic views of the Minster.

“The Old Palace houses the Minster’s library and archives and is a historic gem. There could be greater public use of this building as part of the Dean’s Park plans.”

Ideas under consideration include:

  • a formal garden
  • a children’s play and learning area
  • a café and toilets
  • an exhibition gallery
  • a new museum space
  • a learning centre
  • an events space.

School and Stoneyard

York Minster’s Stoneyard
“The Minster School’s site is cut in half by Deangate which is no longer needed for vehicle traffic but is a popular cycling route,” says the masterplan.

“We are exploring opportunities to reorganise access and redefine the school’s boundary together with the Stoneyard to create a more cohesive site.

“We are exploring opportunities for new facilities here, such as a school hall with dual community use.”

St William’s College

St William’s College in 2014. Photograph: Duncan Lomax / Ravage Productions
The Minster says there may be an opportunity to introduce a small number of new affordable homes for cathedral staff in precinct buildings.

St William’s College was built as a home for medieval priests but has been empty for many years. It is currently undergoing significant restoration works and has potential to house a range of new uses:

  • office space for the Minster and Minster Police
  • a high quality conference and events space
  • and a restaurant spilling out onto College Green.

Church House and Chapter House Yard

Church House on Ogleforth. Photograph © Google Street View
By moving the Minster’s offices out of Church House, that building could become a valuable residential development, generating income to support the Minster’s restoration work.

Chapter House Yard has potential to provide additional space for Minster back-of-house functions. The unsightly car park could be redesigned and screened.