Your questions answered: How will York Central create a sense of community?

In our latest ‘your questions answered’ piece, we are looking at how a sense of community will be created in York Central.

We want York Central to be a place full of life and vitality, and a large part of creating this will be by enabling a strong community to flourish. The site has an excellent location in the heart of the city, next to York Railway Station, and the York Central Partnership’s vision for the development is that it will deliver well-connected and sustainable neighbourhoods, which are accessible to all.


How will York Central create a sense of community?

  • Providing community facilities is fundamental to the development of York Central and will be key to its success. The Partnership is committed to providing space for community facilities on the site and the specific details of what the facilities will be, and where they will be located on the site, will evolve as the planning process develops.
  • Creating a sense of community goes beyond physical buildings, and inclusive communities will be encouraged through play streets, which have reduced traffic and enable children to play outdoors freely and safely in the street close to their own home, and community spaces, which could contain community gardens, food growing spaces and nature or fitness trails.
  • The Partnership will also be exploring how the community can be involved in the long-term management of York Central.
  • A lively public square will be at the heart of the new development and will welcome residents, visitors and workers alike to the city. A large public park and extensive public spaces throughout the site will be available for cultural events, community interaction, play and recreation.
  • The open spaces in York Central will also be designed to provide flexible areas which can accommodate a variety of community events, including sports events, performances, play and informal gatherings.
  • Ground floor areas and public spaces in the commercial quarter will be lively destinations with a mix of small shops, restaurants, cafes, bars and potentially community facilities. These will complement the existing offer in the city, creating a sense of vibrancy and activity which appeals to residents, workers and visitors.
  • The Partnership will explore financial models that allow priority to be given to local independent businesses for some of the retail/business units.


Have the community facilities for York Central been decided?

  • The outline planning application which has been submitted gives broad parameters for the development, but is not designed to go into detail around what each building will be used for. This means that there is the flexibility to create a mix of community facilities as the scheme evolves, depending on what is required.
  • The Partnership believes that community facilities work best when co-created with local residents, so it will explore opportunities to work with the community and City of York Council to understand what types of places and spaces would work best at York Central. These conversations will then feed into the more detailed proposals for the site, as they develop.
  • Feedback from engagement, including the Festival of York Central, has fed into our thinking and will continue to do so as we continue the conversation.


Why hasn’t a new school been included in the plans?

  • The current position not to include a school on the site itself was taken following discussions with York’s Local Education Authority (LEA), which is responsible for education in the local area. York Central Partnership will continue to explore potential options with the LEA if needs are identified.


Will there be space for general healthcare provision i.e. doctors and dentists in York Central?

  • There is considered to be sufficient capacity in the existing primary healthcare provisions in the local area for York Central, but we will be working with NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group to explore any further opportunities.


What will the site be used for in the meantime?

  • Subject to approval of the Partnership’s outline planning application, and a further planning application on the design of the highway, work will begin on the new road from Water End to Leeman Road tunnel in 2019. Its construction is anticipated to be completed in 2021.
  • It is expected that the York Central site will be delivered over a 10 to 15-year period, with the construction of the first homes to be built at York Central starting in 2020.
  • Areas of the site not developed in the first phase of construction will be considered for temporary uses, which will play an important role in creating an early sense of buzz and activity around the development and form a focus for community engagement. Some temporary uses could include pop-up events or theatre performances.