Plans to transform the front of York railway station have been approved.
The scheme will see Queen Street Bridge demolished, a new road built outside the station, a multi storey car park built and part of the station building in Parcel Square knocked down to make way for a new façade.
It will also see York Railway Institute band room and extensions behind the gymnasium demolished, the Unipart Rail Service Centre building – which lies between the station and the commuter car park – knocked down, and a new 3 metre-wide cycle lane created.
Campaigners had concerns about two elements of the project – the planned 636-space multi storey car park and whether there is enough space given over to bus services at the front of the station.
Plans would see a multi storey car park built on the current car park behind York Railway Institute.
Andrew Morrison from York Civic Trust said the group supported the ambitions of the project – but that room for bus services at the front of station under the plans are “insufficient” and would lead to “delays and conflict”.
He added that there will be 1,300 total parking spaces at the station when combined with the spaces provided by the York Central development.
Tom Franklin, chair of York Green Party, said: “The multi storey car park is entirely inappropriate, we need to reduce car parking.
“It’s a 20th century solution that will create 21st century problems. If you voted for the climate emergency in 2019, I don’t see how you can vote for the multi storey car park now.”
Three votes in it
But Michael Howard from the council said: “The growth in passenger numbers at the station means that in real terms the multi storey car park will represent a reduction in parking spaces per passenger.”
He added that the number of bus stops will be increased by four, adding that longer bus stops will allow buses to pull out more easily: “This should allow bus services to operate more efficiently with reduced delay.”
Niall Melvin from LNER told the meeting the multi storey car park is needed for people who may drive to the station to make longer onward journeys by train.
He said the company recognises the need to reduce car journeys, but that there will still be parking spaces needed for electric vehicles.
And added that there are ongoing plans to bring e-scooters for hire at the station and to create storage space for bikes near the new multi storey car park.
Councillors voted in favour of the scheme by a majority of nine in favour and six against.
Funding of £14.5 million was secured in March 2020 from a successful bid by the Leeds City Region to the government’s Transforming Cities Fund to move ahead with the project.