Almost 650 members of the public attended consultation events organised to collect views on the proposed new access road that will enable the development of York Central, one of the largest brownfield city centre redevelopment sites in the UK.
The consultation, which was organised by York Central Partnership, ran from 23rd August until the 13th September and featured four consultation events in the city with feedback collected via the events, online and by post.
Over 600 of those that attended shared a wide variety of views and opinions on the three available access options after being asked about the potential impacts that each might have on the surrounding communities and wider city.
Those attending were also asked to tell the partnership how they would prioritise some of the key criteria that would affect each location. All of the feedback collected is being used by York Central Partnership to help inform the final decision on a preferred access option.
On the impact criteria, those that provided feedback ranked air quality, transport (impact on current traffic levels) and ecology as the highest priorities, with construction impacts, flood risk and the effects on townscape ranking the lowest.
The opinions shared on the potential impacts of each route were categorised into six recurring themes, comments on specific access options, community impact, traffic and transport, environment, construction and alternative suggestions.
On community impact, the Southern Option raised the most concern with 238 comments. Concerns about the impact of Western Option 2 raised 61 comments and 57 comments expressed the opinion that Western Option 1 would have the least impact on communities.
Traffic and transport generated 198 comments about worsening congestion due to the Southern Option, which were interlinked with 150 comments about existing congestion on Holgate Road. There were 50 comments in relation to worsening congestion as a result of a Western Option. There were 77 comments requesting the provision of alternative forms of transport to, from and within the eventual scheme.
The most common response in relation to concerns about environmental impact was the effect on Holgate Community Garden with 260 comments. The second highest response with 197 comments was on the potential impact on air quality of the Southern Option. 115 comments were captured raising concerns in regards to the impact of Western Option 2 on Millennium Green, while 116 comments were made about worsening noise as a result of the Southern Option.
Whilst not asked as part of the consultation, a number of people expressed a preference for a specific access option. Western Access Option 1 gained 196 comments as the preferred option, Western Option 2 generated 115 comments in favour and the Southern Option 29. Opposition to the Southern Option gained 336 comments.
Catherine Birks, commercial project manager for York Central Partnership, said: “The events have very much brought the issues residents are concerned about to the fore, and given us the chance to understand in more detail how people feel each option will impact the local communities around the site.
“Road access is one of the key considerations and challenges in developing the York Central site, so it is hugely reassuring that we had such a good response to this specific aspect. It has generated valuable feedback for the partnership which will help to inform our decision on preferred access ahead of wider masterplan development.”
The Partnership’s preferred access option will be in the Council’s Executive papers on November 7th before being considered by the Council Executive on November 15th.
The full access consultation feedback report is available online at www.yorkcentral.info. The full York Central masterplan will undergo a wider public consultation in March 2018.
The York Central Partnership is made up of Network Rail, Homes England, the National Railway Museum and City of York Council.