Plans to ‘stop up’ Leeman Road would cause huge problems to thousands of people, councillors have said at the end of the public inquiry.
The inquiry finished last week. It looked into plans to close the road to traffic to make way for redevelopment of the National Railway Museum as part of the wider York Central scheme.
The public inquiry, run by Department of Transport inspector Paul Singleton, will make a recommendation to the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps MP. The Secretary of State will then decide whether or not to grant the order.
The inquiry has looked at the impact of the closure on vehicle users, pedestrians, cyclists and local businesses, as well as looking at the planning permission that has been granted to YCP and whether this justifies the closure of Leeman Road.
It has been strongly opposed by Labour Holgate councillors, Rachel Melly and Kallum Taylor.
In her final submission Cllr Melly said: “We have heard extensive evidence over the past week about the huge negative impacts and inconveniences to thousands of people that this proposed closure would cause.
“We also heard about how the closure isn’t actually necessary in order to carry out development in line with granted planning permission.
“Planning permission for the museum extension hasn’t yet been approved. Granting the stopping up order would set a dangerous precedent, as there is no guarantee that the NRM’s reserved matters application will require the stopping up of Leeman Road.
“The plans can be revisited and revised to include proper access along the route of Leeman Road.”
Not as safe
Dealing with the advantages and disadvantages of the stopping up, Cllr Taylor said: “As we and other objectors have outlined in earlier statements, the disadvantages of closing Leeman Road are numerous, significant, guaranteed, and will affect the daily lives of thousands of people far outweigh the exclusive benefits for the Museum which rest of one undefined idea for expansion.
“The people of York will lose a direct, accessible and safe 24/7 movement corridor. The route through the museum will be unreliable, often inconvenient, perhaps more time consuming, have less safeguards, and be most keenly felt by the most vulnerable sectors of the population.
“The net result of the proposal would see the operations of the Railway Museum essentially become something which residents would need to allocate permanent headspace to.
“This goes beyond “journey planning” and represents a new, huge, and unsettling over-reach from this institution into the lives of people who have nothing to do with it other than geographical proximity.
“If this is somehow allowed to come to fruition, this will be a long-remembered badge of dishonour for the museum, and a huge opportunity missed to create something which all of us could get behind.”