Bridge demolition and radical revamp of York Station set to go ahead, despite opposition

Plans to demolish Queen Street Bridge and revamp the front of York railway station are set to be approved.

If the scheme goes ahead a new road will be built outside the station, a multi-storey car park will be built and part of the station building in Parcel Square will be demolished to make way for a new façade.

It would 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 three metre-wide cycle lane created.

City of York Council’s planning applications are recommended for approval at a meeting next Thursday.

But Historic England, York Civic Trust and LNER have all opposed the plans.

Historic England says they object on heritage grounds and York Civic Trust say there is no justification for building so many parking spaces at the station – saying that there will be 1,300 bays in total when both the four-storey car park and York Central development are completed.

LNER against

Plans showing how the station might look

LNER, the rail operator that runs the station, have also opposed the plans.

They say the project prioritises the roads around the station rather than the rail network.

According to a council report, LNER’s objection says: “The scheme delivers minimal benefit to the station or the wider rail network but instead delivers direct benefits for the highway in and around the station.”

The company also has concerns about parts of the scheme not being finished due to a lack of funding and the impact this could have on station facilities.

But the planning report says the work is critical to improving public transport for residents and visitors.

It says: “The creation of a new taxi rank, relocation of the bus interchange and the rationalisation of short and long stay car parking is critical to the ability to deliver the public transport improvements for those who live in, work in or visit York.”

It adds that the project has been designed to enhance listed buildings and nearby heritage sites.

And says the benefits of the scheme will outweigh the “less than substantial harm”.

“In general terms, there will be the creation of public spaces and improved setting to the city walls and ramparts and railway station, enhancing the features that make this city so unique.”

The planning application was submitted nearly two years ago, in March 2019.

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.