The plan to close off Leeman Road in York will have to go to a public inquiry after over 300 residents made their objections.
Holgate councillors claim the huge number of people lodging concern, about a ‘stopping up order’ for Leeman Road, to the Department for Transport shows the strength of the opposition.
If the National Railway Museum was to go ahead with building a new gallery to link the two existing sites either side of the road then it would have to be shut for good.
This news comes after a huge wave of opposition was mobilised by local councillors during a 28 day “objection period” to the road’s proposed Stopping Up Order earlier this summer.
The Secretary of State will make a final decision after the Inquiry.
Residents were worried about a number of things, including the inferior quality and inconvenience of alternative routes once the road is closed. Another area of concern focused on congestion becoming worse when adding up to 2,500 homes proposed in the York Central development plans.
At the end of the objection period, which ran during the first lockdown period, 413 individual objections were written and submitted by residents. The next stage was then for the applicant (YCP) to try and “resolve” these so that objectors would withdraw them.
The nature of those attempts from YCP’s planning consultant, SCP, drew criticism from some residents accusing them of intimidation.
In an email to councillors the DfT have confirmed that “around 340” objections still stand today. YorkMix has asked for a response from the Railway Museum.
Councillor Kallum Taylor said:“After years of gas-lighting and communication-badged-as-consultation maybe this will be the event that finally forces the Council, Railway Museum, and wider York Central Partnership, to take the community’s concerns seriously. Massive credit should go to every resident who sent objections off during the first lockdown. When more details are known, we will be ready.”
Councillor Rachel Melly added:“Residents in this community are not anti-change but, like many in our city, they are tired of developments proceeding without proper thought given to the knock-on effects elsewhere.
Councillor David Heaton said:
“It’s a total failure of the institutions involved that we are at this point. They’ve had approaching three years to take the community’s concerns seriously and, if they’re not careful, risk losing plenty more than their plans to build over the road.”
Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic the DfT are still working out how they will run this Public Inquiry and when it will be able to take place. Once this is known they will be informing those concerned with the matter.