Residents have launched a legal challenge to the planned closure of Leeman Road to allow the National Railway Museum to build across it.
The NRM’s hugely controversial plan to build a new central hall and café across the road was given planning permission by a single vote from City of York Council planners.
Now residents have engaged a Leeds-based firm of planning lawyers to pursue a judicial review of the planning committee’s decision.
A pre-action letter has been sent today to the council and to the NRM, as a third party by the Justice For Leeman Road group.
The loss of Leeman Road as a route for around 4,000 pedestrians and cyclists has been raised as a major concern by residents and ward councillors throughout the consultation and planning process.
Dr Paul Clarke, a resident of St Peter’s Quarter, is leading the legal challenge on behalf of residents.
He said: “We have been trying to engage with the council and the NRM for many years, but we have been totally ignored.
“They have put commercial interests before the interests of the local community.
“The loss will severely impact the daily lives of thousands of local residents, particularly women, children, people with disabilities, and the elderly. It also removes a key north-south cycle corridor.”
Too often ignored
He said the alternative route adds about a third of a mile to their journey “along a path that won’t feel safe after dark”.
And while the NRM has agreed to allow people to walk through during opening hours, this would only cover half of journeys made by residents, who “will have to battle through hordes of visitors”.
“We are not opposed to the York Central development or the expansion of the NRM,” he said.
“We are only asking for the retention of a direct, safe route, to and from the city centre for pedestrians and cyclists that is available all day, every day of the year.”
Local people should have the right to help shape York developments that affect them, Dr Clarke said. “Too often local communities are ignored by the council.’
The group has launched a Justice For Leeman Road crowdfunding campaign to help cover legal expenses – more details here.