LNER runs York railway station – and the company is not happy with the plans to make major changes to the site.
The train company says City of York Council has shown a “lack of consideration” for the requirements of the railway with its plans.
The council proposes to demolish Queen Street Bridge, alter the station car parks and taxi rank and create a new front for the building.
An objection letter from Elaine Hunter, head of property, says LNER has concerns that the scale of the work will have a “major impact” on day to day activity at the site.
Ms Hunter writes:
The scheme delivers minimal to no benefit to the station or the wider rail network but instead delivers direct benefits for the highway in and around the station.
Funding not secured
A spokesman for LNER said the company is supportive of the scheme but is keen to understand the impact on station users.
The letter says the plans are not detailed enough for the company to decide how the project will affect the heritage of the building.
And they have concerns about work beginning before enough funding has been secured:
We also understand that there remain elements of this planning application which cannot be progressed due to a lack of funding.
These unfunded elements are intrinsic to the scheme as they are required to replace the facilities at the station proposed to be removed as part of the funded works.
Due to the nature of the above concerns and the uncertainty they create it is considered the potential reduction in the public facility may give grounds for objection.
The York Station frontage plan is part of the wider York Central scheme and the council says the work will take place as a series of separate projects, partly due to funding.
‘A stunning gateway’
James Gilchrist, assistant director for transport at the council, said: “The plans for the station would represent a massive improvement to for its 12 million annual visitors, and a stunning gateway to the city which respects and reveals our railway heritage and bar walls.”
It is vital that we provide a safer, clearer arrival experience for all modes of transport, and prepare the station for an anticipated tripling of visitors over the next 20 years.
The plans have been developed through extensive engagement with the public and our partners including Network Rail and LNER, so we’re already aware of the issues raised.
We will continue to work with LNER to address their concerns, and appreciate this scheme has to have their approval before construction can begin.
He said the council was confident that they could work with LNER to resolve these issues.
Autumn start date
The first phase of the scheme could get underway as soon as the autumn.
And funding has already been approved from West Yorkshire Combined Authority and the council for work to start on the highway aspects – including the taxi rank and short stay car park – and the public realm projects.
This would involve turning Tea Room Square into a pedestrian space and opening up routes through the historic archways in the city walls.