One of the boldest new pieces of architecture proposed for York in years is now in jeopardy.
The University of York wanted to build this five storey Student Centre at a cost of £35m. But it has withdrawn the application and put the proposal on hold for at least three years.
The university said it was “quite unique in not having a central student building”, and this extraordinary structure was designed to fill that gap.
Plans submitted last March outlined how three buildings were to be demolished – the security centre, the IT services building and the environment building – to make way for the new structure.
It was set to provide events spaces, collaborative study areas, studios for student radio and TV, as well as a new home for both the university’s student unions and frontline student support services.
But after the planning application was withdrawn the university says it won’t return to the project for at least three years.
In a statement, the University of York said: “Like many others in our sector, we continue to face increasing costs, including the impact of inflation and uncertainty in global markets.
“This is adding pressure on our financial planning.
“We have therefore decided in January 2024 to temporarily pause building the Student Centre for a period of at least three years.
“This difficult decision is not taken lightly, and we understand it will have implications for our University community, not least for those who were waiting to utilise the new space.
“Despite this delay, we want to assure you that the Student Centre remains a 2030 transformational initiative of utmost importance to us and continues to be a pivotal initiative for our University.”
The university added: “Whilst the Student Centre project is temporarily paused, we aim to develop the site area into a usable space for everyone by spring 2024.
“This will include wheelchair accessibility, some planting and seating. The currently hoarded off area will remain as it is for several months whilst this work is undertaken.”
The withdrawal of the student centre application is the latest grand plan to hit the buffers blamed on changed financial circumstances.
And the ambitions for the Castle Gateway project around Clifford’s Tower are being significantly watered down after the new St George’s Field multi-storey car park was scrapped.