York Central moves a step closer

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The Secretary of State’s decision not to ‘call-in’ the York Central outline planning application has been welcomed by the scheme’s partners and the bodies responsible for economic growth.

The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government has confirmed that the application will not be ‘called-in’ or subject to a planning inquiry.

The Secretary of State has considered the application and decided that it should be determined by the local planning authority. This allows the council to implement the decision of the planning committee – approval subject to a Section 106 agreement – on 25 March 2019.

The application includes 2,500 homes, 20 per cent of which will be affordable, and a commercial quarter creating up to 6,500 jobs adding a £1.16 billion boost to the economy.

Councillor Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council, said: “This is very welcome news. Delivering York Central is a major opportunity to build new affordable homes, attract better paid jobs, deliver new public spaces and create sustainable transport links for the city.

“The outline application reflects the ambition we’ve demanded for the development, including the sustainable design standards. We will work with all stakeholders to seek further improvements where we can, particularly with clean growth, as we continue to work with the partnership to make sure the development makes the city an even better place to live, work and spend time.

“The partnership approach has been crucial to get us this far and we will continue to work with our partners, such as Homes England and Network Rail, to progress the development.”

Chair of the York Central Strategic Board, Dame Mary Archer, said: “I welcome the Minister’s decision, which will enable vital investment in the cultural, economic and social development of the city. We remain fully committed to maintaining a constructive dialogue with local MPs and other special interest groups, to ensure that everyone’s voices are heard as we enter the next important phase of the project.”

Ian Gray, project director for the York Central Partnership, said: “We welcome both this decision and the additional scrutiny provided by the referral of the application to the secretary of state.

“York Central has long been identified as critical to delivering new communities, jobs and public spaces for the city.

“So we’re extremely proud that, by working together, the partnership is on the verge of transforming this brownfield land into a place which will be at the heart of York’s economic and social life for generations.

“There is still a huge amount of hard work ahead of us, but this decision allows us to get on with the next phase of making York Central happen.”

National Railway Museum Director, Judith McNicol, said: “This is a major step forward for York Central and it is right that a decision on a development of this size and significance should be made here in York.

“As well as new homes and jobs, York Central will transform the National Railway Museum into a world-class visitor attraction and our new Wonderlab gallery will provide fantastic opportunities for young people to learn about science and engineering.”

Rob McIntosh, Route Managing Director for Network Rail, said: “York Central is a brilliant example of different organisations working together to deliver a truly transformative project.

“We look forward to playing our part in delivering a development the city can be proud of and something that will benefit people, businesses and the economy for years to come.”

The region’s two Local Enterprise Partnerships have also welcomed the decision.

Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Northern Powerhouse 11 (NP11) group of northern local enterprise partnership chairs said: “York Central is a very important scheme for the whole region; one which will create new and better jobs, affordable homes and even more economic opportunities in the heart of this thriving city.

“That is why our LEP is supporting York Central with significant investment through our Government-backed Local Growth Deal, and why I’m delighted that this ambitious development can now take another step forwards towards becoming reality.”

David. A. Kerfoot, Chair of the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership said: “We’re delighted to receive news from the Secretary of State that the York Central outline planning application can move forward.

“As our Enterprise Zone, we see York Central as having a pivotal role in the economic growth and transformation of York as a city, with wider regional benefits.

“Piece by piece, through a solid commitment to partnership and collaboration, the project has continued to take shape. York Central offers an opportunity for an ambitious vision for York, one that will positively impact the city’s residents and visitors, and transform business growth.”