‘Welcome to York Central. Children are playing on the streets. You can hear birdsong. It is vibrant and peaceful.’
These are the opening words of a new vision for York Central, unveiled by YoCo (York Central Co-owned).
It envisages an area which is “full of life and enables work spaces, cafes, community spaces and genuinely affordable places to live.”
The plan says: “The Big Idea of the YoCo Community Plan is to set up a social and economic structure that enables money to be distributed to where it needs to be. A place where economic activity is designed to support and enable the vibrant and diverse neighbourhoods we want to live in.
“If we reorientate the economic structure of York Central then this York Central is possible – we show how in the YoCo Community Plan for York Central.”
York Central is the large brownfield site to the west of the station.
The YoCo vision is put forward as an alternative to the plan being coordinated by City of York Council, which would see up to 2,500 homes and 112,000m2 of office, leisure and retail buildings built there.
There are few cars in this version of York Central.
“Cars are a rare sight – kept to the edge in a multi-storey car park near Water End, only interrupting the games or conversations to enable access for the neighbourhood’s older and disabled residents.”
People can travel by light railway across the site, and new foot and cycle paths would be created.
As well as independent shops and cafes, the vision includes a Centre for Learning, linking the three local primary schools with the universities and supporting collaboration and creativity in all forms.
There will be wild spaces encouraging wildlife and diversity, and areas where people can grow their own food.
Homes would be genuinely affordable through schemes including mutual home ownership and by allowing a range of tenures.
Sustainable funding for the plan would be overseen by a strategic board, linking “the landowners, current and future residents and business owners”.
Some of the money would come via a ‘a social contract for tourism’ – it would include “community-owned visitor accommodation and visitor experiences as a means of redistributing wealth”.
Community investment and cooperative purchasing are also fundamental to the YoCo vision.
Find out more and get involved on the YoCo website here.