Planning approval granted for new Square at York Central 

A Reserved Matters planning application for a brand-new public square at York Central has been granted approval

Reserved matters planning approval was granted by City of York Planning Committee on Thursday 8th February 2024, subject to conditions. This decision approved the submitted plans for detailed access, layout, scale, appearance and landscaping in respect of first piece of new public realm at York Central.   

The Square will create a vibrant new civic space for both York Central and the city of York, linking the western entrance of the railway station to the front of the National Railway Museum. 

Leon Guyett, Director of Regeneration Partnerships (York), on behalf of Homes England and Network Rail, said: “This is a major step forward in the creation of York Central. We’ve gone to great lengths to make the design inclusive, accessible and safe for pedestrians and cyclists, while improving lighting, seating and planting. Approval for this next section of the scheme is a real positive step in building out the York Central vision.   

“We’ve listened to what people wanted and worked closely with multiple design and planning teams to incorporate feedback from public engagement and specialist groups. Some great ideas were suggested that have not been possible in this section of the scheme, yet we are keen to try and accommodate these elsewhere on the site, where appropriate.”  

The design of the Square will create an iconic new civic space featuring a contemporary design that is respectful of local heritage and ensures accessibility to all. It will consist of a large, hard surfaced area with areas of soft landscaping to both define the new square and create shade and shelter. It will also include seating, lighting and wayfinding with opportunities for public art also under discussion.   

Formally referred to as RMA3 (The Square), the application detailed the proposed layout, scale, appearance and access for creating the new public space with associated infrastructure and landscaping. It also included suggested alterations to the existing road network, in line with the design guide and outline planning considerations.   

Plans for the Square at the York Central development were submitted for approval by Homes England and Network Rail Limited on behalf of the York Central Partnership at the end of July 2023. The granting of planning permission for the Square is the latest positive step at York Central. It follows on from the announcement of McLaren Property and Arlington Real Estate as preferred developer partner in December, coupled with the submission of a reserved matters planning application for the Government Property Agency for a proposed Government Hub.   

York Central is one of the largest city centre brownfield regeneration sites in the country, with £135m public sector funding already secured to build key upfront infrastructure. Infrastructure work began in Summer 2022 to build over two kilometres of new roads plus public footpaths and cycle ways, as well as new utilities and the building of two new bridges over the East Coast mainline. 

It will also provide up to 2,500 homes, at least 20% of which will be affordable, create over 1 million sq. ft. of commercial space for offices, retail and leisure and provide a significant boost for the local economy with potential to create up to 6,000 jobs.   

For more information on the new Square, visit 23/01494/REMM | Reserved matters approval on the City of York Council website.  

More details are also available at