‘Make York Central car-free’ – Campaigners call for radical rethink of scheme after coronavirus ‘changed everything’

13 Jul 2020 @ 7.37 am
| News

Plans for York Central have been fatally damaged by the coronavirus crisis – giving the opportunity chance to rethink the entire scheme, campaigners argue today.

The York Central Action group say the current scheme, even now before planners, is based “on a vibrant speculative private housing market, where the demand for one and two bedroomed flats continues unabated”.

Writing in YorkMix, Chris Barrett from the group says: “This is a fantasy, as every economic forecast predicts a major fall in house prices as potential buyers stay put, worried about the impact of the downturn on their jobs. 

“York needs more houses for families, not high rise apartments.”

And he calls on City of York Council to pause and review the scheme with all its stakeholders – and rethink it as an “eco-flagship development”.

City centre neighbourhood

Lots of potential: York Central. Photograph © Google Street View

York Central Action say the dependence on the car in the plans does not fit with City of York Council’s wider aspirations.

“Never mind that York residents, after three months of lockdown are questioning their dependence on the car,” Chris writes.

“Never mind that the council itself is looking at banning non-essential vehicles from the city centre and is committed to a zero carbon future by 2030.”

This is York Central Action’s suggestions for a re-thought scheme

  • Car usage should be designed out of the whole scheme
  • The scale of housing should be significantly reduced and integrated with the business, retail and leisure to create a vibrant and sustainable community.
  • The employment area should be increased.
  • The development should be re-phased to allow the remaining housing to be built early
  • An economic masterplan should be produced independently which sets out options for development of employment and mixes inward investment with provision for local start up businesses
  • Transport proposals should be significantly revised to create a network of useful bus and walk/cycle routes.
  • Infrastructure plans should be integrated with the plans for the city centre, making York Central a complementary city centre urban neighbourhood, rather than an isolated island.

You can read Chris’s article in full here.