Your questions answered: Living in York Central [updated]

Please note, some of the content in this piece has been updated, following the submission of additional or new information by the Partnership, as part of the planning process. The updated information has been highlighted in bold italics below.

If you would like to review the revised planning application in full, this can be found at the City of York’s planning website by visiting and entering the reference number 18/01884/OUTM into the search box.

To review the original version of this document, please visit:


This piece focuses on housing in York Central, the range and mix of homes that will be on offer and how it will help contribute to meeting some of the housing needs faced by the city.

You can view our earlier pieces on traffic, vehicle access, pedestrian and cycle movement and access around the National Railway Museum through York Central, by clicking on the links or via our news section.

Housing overview

  • York Central will provide up to 2,500 new homes for a broad mix of people including first-time buyers, families and older people.
  • It will be a unique place to live – well-connected by public transport, rail and cycle routes; within easy walking distance of parks and open spaces, community facilities (such as local shops, doctors, dentists), offices and workspace.
  • We are looking at car-free spaces and play streets that encourage families to live here alongside younger and older people.
  • There will be a variety of housing styles at York Central and it will include a range of houses and apartments. The precise mix and balance will evolve with the scheme, but given the central location, the majority will be apartments.
  • We have taken inspiration from other cities around the UK and are looking at what makes good apartment living for families as part of this, including how two-level apartments within taller apartment buildings can work for young families.
  • There will be different tenures too, including for sale homes, for rent homes and affordable homes
  • There is a commitment to achieving 20% affordable housing at York Central, in line with the planning policy target. The type and tenure of the affordable housing will be determined by the outline planning permission.

Plan 1 – Illustrative plan of York Central showing different uses and locations of residential neighbourhoods

1. 20% of homes on York Central will be classed as ‘affordable’, but what does this mean?

  • This means it will be available to buy or rent at lower rates than usual, available only to people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford it. This could be in the form of below average private rental rates, or other affordable routes to home ownership, including subsidised home ownership schemes and/or homes for essential local workers.
  • Making some of the homes available to rent through housing associations (social rent) is one way to do this, but there are other important types of affordable housing needed in the city which York Central could provide.
  • To respond to the range of needs our planning application proposes that the 20% allocation is made up in the following ways:
  • One third social rent available through housing associations or similar organisations.
  • One third affordable rent (subsidised rent to be lower than normal York prices), shared equity (a loan to put towards buying a property), shared ownership (you part-buy and part-rent a home), rent to buy (rent below normal prices with the option to buy once a deposit has been saved).
  • One third discounted market sale housing.

2. How does this fit with the Local Plan?

  • York Central is a strategic site allocated within York’s draft Local Plan, a document which identifies the spatial vision for the city over the next 15 years, including where homes will be built and jobs created.
  • The planning application responds to the number of dwellings the council identified in the Local Plan. It will deliver the required percentage of affordable housing and seeks to deliver an appropriate mix of housing types for its location.
  • The site will deliver affordable housing to help the city in meeting its housing needs and contribute to York’s policies to help make it possible for people to afford to live in their own home, whether through ownership or rent.

 3. How can we ensure all the homes aren’t sold to investors?

  • We are focusing on ensuring that the mix of homes to be built at York Central creates a supply that can help to meet the local demand for housing, specifically ensuring it has the right sizes of homes to meet the needs of York’s residents, and is accessible to first time buyers and families.
  • Some of the affordable homes will be owned and managed by housing associations, who can prioritise local people in their lettings policies.
  • The site will create a supply of land to be used for open market homes and it is anticipated this could be a mix of sale and rent.
  • While the intentions of purchasers buying a property at full value cannot be restricted under current national planning and housing policies, we will be exploring whether alternative mechanisms could be put in place.

4. When will the housing be built?

  • We anticipate the York Central site will be delivered over a 10 to 15-year period.
  • Once outline approval for the masterplan has been received, we hope to start the enabling works on site in early spring 2019.
  • We are looking to have the main access road into York Central completed by the end of 2021.
  • We anticipate the construction of the first homes to be built at York Central will start in 2020.

5. What will the housing look like?

  • York Central site has been broadly divided into five areas on the diagram below and the residential areas will be around the Foundry Quarter (yellow), York Yard South (red) and a small amount included in the Station Quarter (‘zone F’ blue). Each one will have distinct characteristics that allow the housing and buildings to blend in with the existing communities, particularly around Leeman Road and the Foundry Quarter.
  • We have produced a detailed Design Guide as part of our planning application that will provide parameters for developers when building the housing on the site, to ensure all buildings are of a high-quality and sympathetic to the city’s current look and feel.
  • There will be a big focus on encouraging low-carbon living and providing the flexibility needed for sustainable energy solutions for modern and future ways of living. High efficiency standards will also be built in to ensure low running costs.

Plan 2 – The main communities within York Central

The main communities within York Central

York Yard South

  • York Yard South will predominantly be a mix of apartment blocks, some with courtyards, which will provide a range of apartments and duplex living.
  • Residential streets, play streets and community gardens will connect the courtyard blocks and provide routes through the community, joining it with the park and wider site. Features including street-facing balconies and communal rooftops will overlook these streets and provide additional space for residents.
  • Building heights will step down towards the bridge approach from Millennium Green and the heights of the buildings will not obstruct keys views across the city.
  • The Design Guide specifies that the colours of masonry in York Central will follow a similar palette to the existing historic city.

Figure 3 – Indicative materials and styles that could feature in York Yard South

York Yard South precedent images

The Station Quarter

  • While the Station Quarter will primarily be office and commercial space alongside retail, cafés/restaurants and leisure it will also include a small amount of apartments as well.
  • Due to the mix of uses it will be part of a vibrant new area for the city which will be active throughout the day and into the evening.
  • The buildings in this quarter will draw on the industrial heritage of the site and reflect the industrial buildings associated with the railways in their look and feel.
  • The homes will be a range of apartments and duplex living, mirroring the offering of York Yard South.

 Figure 4 – Indicative materials and styles that could feature in the Station Quarter

Station Quarter residential character

Foundry Quarter

  • The Foundry Quarter is envisaged as an area with a more traditional focus, influenced by the current residential character across York. The buildings will be centred around a number of community-focused, open spaces- including play streets and recreation areas.
  • The area will provide a broad mix of housing including terraced, mews, maisonettes, mansion blocks and workspace, with an amount of supportive retail-based buildings around the Foundry Yard.
  • The buildings will also reflect the existing neighbourhoods of St Peters Quarter and Salisbury Terrace in their style and design to ensure the new buildings blend with the existing homes and communities.

Figure 5 – Indicative materials and styles that could feature in the Foundry Quarter

Foundry Quarter precedent images