National Railway Museum ‘totally ignoring residents’ concerns’ over blocked routes
Residents say the National Railway Museum is riding roughshod over their concerns about a controversial expansion.
As YorkMix reported on Friday, plans for a new Central Hall to link the two sides of the museum are being recommended for approval.
This is despite significant concerns about access for locals through the building.
Council officers say the drum-like Central Hall should receive planning approval at a meeting on Monday, 20 June 20.
But Leeman Road – currently a direct route towards York – will close to allow for the expansion, and there has been strong criticism from residents and councillors about the resulting walkway agreement, which dictates how people will be able to get through the museum towards the city centre.
Residents have said they want 24/7 access, but they will only be able to get through the museum during opening hours, which are currently Wednesday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm.
Paul Clarke, of the St Peter’s Quarter Residents Association, said: “We are deeply disappointed in our neighbours, the railway museum, for totally ignoring our concerns, and we despair about the state of City of York Council, who are also ignoring petitions and concerns.
“The current plans do not address the needs of the current residents of York Central.”
Other concerns about the museum access include the fact it can be closed up to 10 times a year, excludes dogs, dismounted cyclists, some types of mobility aid and allows personal property to be searched.
Mr Clarke added: “It is not beyond the wit of man to build a central hall with a walkway through it that is accessible 24/7.”
The council’s own highways officers have also raised concerns about residents having to queue with visitors to get through the museum.
The riverside path has been proposed as an alternative route. Residents have raised concerns about flooding and lighting, but the council has now said it has acquired the land and aims to improve it before Leeman Road is closed.
Altogether, 119 people have objected to the plan. In their objection, Holgate councillors David Heaton, Rachel Melly and Kallum Taylor said: “The plans still remove the only route that is direct and always available for the 4,000 residents living in the Leeman Road area.
“If this application is approved there is will be no other route available which meets both of these requirements.”
NRM director Judith McNichol said: “Our transformation will make the museum a critical part of the city’s rail present and future – from the Railway Futures Gallery within Central Hall, providing a showcase for York’s railway industries and innovation, to Wonderlab inspiring the railway engineers of the future.”