Homes England and Network Rail will be investing £77 million to ensure that York’s new city centre quarter development York Central goes ahead, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has confirmed.
Subject to planning approval, the funding will allow the development of up to 3,705 homes on the 45-hectare site, one of the largest urban brownfield regeneration sites in the country.
The funding will also aid up to 1.2 million square feet of commercial development, including 80% Grade A offices, and enhanced access to York’s National Railway Museum.
The government has now handed over responsibility for overseeing the £77 million investment to Homes England and Network Rail, the site’s largest landowners, after it first announced the funding in this year’s Budget.
Simon Dudley, interim chair at Homes England, said: “This investment is a clear signal of the government’s commitment to levelling up across the country by providing much needed homes and employment space in York.
“The confirmation of funding provides that market with some much-needed certainty around a major strategic site at a time when it is planning ahead to recover from the pandemic.
“We look forward to working with all the project partners on behalf of the government to unlock this challenging site so it will become a real landmark development for people living and working in the city, as well as visitors.”
The £77 million funding will enable vital infrastructure to connect and ‘unlock’ the site, including a bridge over the East Coast Main Line railway.
City of York Council confirmed earlier this year that the York Central partnership – consisting of the council, Homes England, Network Rail and the National Railway Museum – has submitted a planning application to deliver this infrastructure.
The reserved matters planning application for the first phase covers a new road entrance to the development site, the new bridge over the East Coast Main Line, new cycling and pedestrian routes, and improved existing and new drainage systems.
It also covers critical landscaping to start work on the new park planned as part of the development, York’s first new public park in over 100 years.
Homes England and Network Rail hope that work can commence on site in 2021, although COVID-19 may yet have an impact on this start date.
Cllr Keith Aspden, leader of City of York Council, added: “This is fantastic news for York and it clearly demonstrates the importance of the partnership’s continued work and commitment to delivering this ambitious scheme.
“The funding is a vital step to unlocking a £1.16 billion boost to our economy and delivering a new generation of better paid jobs and hundreds of affordable homes, at a time when York needs it most. The scheme will also set new standards for sustainable living and clean growth, utilising brownfield land in the heart of the city.
“Our shared vision for an ambitious development which delivers cleaner, greener growth and a fairer economy in York underpins the entire project, and we will keep playing our part to make York Central deliver for the whole city.”
Photo: Artist’s impression of the proposed York Central scheme. Credit: York Central Partnership