Welcoming Streets Reimagined to York Central

A busy Coney Street in the 1970s. Image by Trevor Jones. Thanks to York Explore Libraries and Archives.

We delighted to have been able to invite Finlay McNab from Streets Reimagined to York to help us explore York Central and Picadilly, part of the Castle Gateway project.

York Central: Streets Reimagined Walks
21st March, 1-4pm
The Winning Post, Bishopthorpe Raod
Book your free place

Join Finlay McNab from Streets Reimagined to explore some of York’s most and least successful streets. We will work with Finlay – drawing on his experience of developing thriving streets in other cities – to analyze and understand what make streets work. We will use observation and ethnographic techniques to develop new perspectives on how people use and interact with urban spaces, and in turn, how this can inform the design of successful urban places. We will ask: How can you combine homes, work and social spaces? What makes streets feel safe at all times of day? What enables children to play outside? We will co-produce a range of materials that will then feed into an evening event – with a bigger group – at the National Railway Museum. You are welcome to attend both workshps but you can just come for the afternoon workshop if that suits you.

York Central: Streets Reimagined
7-9pm, National Railway Museum (West Enternace not the main enterance)
Book your free place

How might streets in York Central be designed around people, sociability and play? Drawing on extensive experience of developing living and livable streets Finlay McNab from Streets Reimagined will help us build on an analysis of streets we know well in York – their strengths and weaknesses – and help us all imagine the streets of York Central. As well as highlighting an array of examples from around the world to inspire and challenge, this interactive session will invite participants to explore what makes a street or a neighbourhood more liveable. There will also be an opportunity for participants to get involved, to debate and to get creative. We will end the workshop by developing a York Central: Manifesto for Streets to be shared in the National Railway Museum as part of Festival for York Central for further ideas, debates and conversation.

Week 2 #My York Central Questions

Welcome to Week 2 of My York Central Questions – we’ve had the responses to our first batch of questions and we’re currently using all the questions submitted to help us develop events for The Festival of York Central. We are delighted to present our second crop of questions – sent off to the York Central Partnership for their consideration. We have one more week of calling for questions before we move into our Festival events, so do send ’em in. And there’s a chance to pose the questions in person at the Meet the York Central Partners and Professionals event, 14th March, 7.30pm (book your free place).

In terms of the York Central Partnership, who is investing what and what to they want to get out of York Central?

How can we make the streets of York Central full of children playing?

Where are the planners – Allies and Morrison – getting their inspirations from?

Have we properly conisdered trams and light rail?

How long will york Central last? Are we building an area of the city to last as long as parts of York’s city centre?

How can we ensure all the property doesn’t get sold off to investors?

Green Space and York Central: Look At Your City walk

West Bank Park Gates. Image with thanks to Katherine Blaker.

Green Space and York Central: Look At Your City walk
Monday 19th March
4:30pm at the West Bank Park gates on Acomb Road
5:30pm at Holgate Community Garden
By 7pm at Leeman Rose Pub for reflections, discussions and, well, a drink
Book your free place

Proposals for York Central include the principle of plenty of open space – a “Great Park” maybe – but what sort of open spaces work best, are most loved and adopted by surrounding communities, and most used by those who live and work nearby? How can we learn lessons from what’s already there which can help shape what gets created in York Central?

We’ll be doing a guided walk on Monday 19th March, starting at 4:30pm at the West Bank Park gates on Acomb Road. We’ll visit a variety of spaces and places and will pass through Holgate Community Garden at 5:30 (join us there if you want/need a shorter walk) before heading onwards via further open spaces to The Leeman Rose where we can talk, gather and record our thoughts – and get a drink! Please join us and bring your ideas and questions, your local knowledge and creativity. And warm/dry clothing as dictated by weather on the day, of course.

These will be – literally – the first steps through our Festival of York Central – keep an eye on our Events page at and if you want to see what questions an comments are coming in already about York Central green space – take a look at our Flickr site at and just click on a tag to see what people are saying. You can join the discussion on social media using #MYCQuestions too!

Week 1 #MYCQuestions: responses from York Central Partnership

We took the questions from the first week of My York Central to the York Central Partnership. Their responses are published below each set of questions. Some answers are clear and address the concerns the questioners were raising. Other responses inevitably invite further questions, discussion and exporation. We’ll be using these cases – where there is no simple or settled ‘answer’ – to help us design events to deepen the conversation during The Festival of York Central. And invite anyone interested to come forward with ideas for events.

So to each of the York Central Partnership responses below we ask: What further questions or issues does this raise for you?

Questions from week commencing 19th February 2018.

Affordable Housing: How many houses will be affordable…and what is affordable!?

Affordable Housing? And what is affordable?

Response from York Central Partnership: YCP is committed to ensuring that York Central delivers housing for all affordabilities, providing a proportion of its housing as affordable housing in line with the Council’s policy requirement of 20%. CYC defined the types of affordable housing that could be provided.

Follow up: Why only 20% affordable housing when York is one of the least affordable places to live in the north of England? Can’t we be more ambitious?

Response from York Central Partnership:One of the core objectives of the York Central development is to ensure the scheme is viable and deliverable as well as helping to deliver the homes necessary for the people of York. Nevertheless, the Partnership has committed to meeting the Council’s Policy target of 20% affordable in line with the Council’s Local Plan target of 20% affordable housing provision on Brownfield land.

Density: How high will the buildings be?

Density: How high will the buildings be?

Response from York Central Partnership: Design work is currently ongoing but we expect buildings to be between 2 and 6 storeys in height.

Cars: what are the target figures for car movement through the site?

Through traffic

Response from York Central Partnership: We are in the process of determining traffic movements but we are looking to minimise the use of cars and car movements through the site through our prioritisation of pedestrian and cyclist movements, our approach to parking and traffic calming measures.

Traffic Impact: How is that being modelled?

Traffic Impact

Response from York Central Partnership:A Transport Assessment is being undertaken and the approach to modelling is currently being agreed with CYC.

Air Quality: How are we planning to ensure York Central reduces pollution?

Air Quality?

Response from York Central Partnership: This is part of the traffic modelling work.

Follow up: When will the transport assessment – with the assessment of air pollution levels – be made public?

Response from York Central Partnership: All documentation associated with the submission of the planning application, which includes the Transport Assessment, will be made public once the application is submitted in August 2018. It is unlikely this information will be available in advance of this owing the timescales for undertaking the environmental impact assessment work.


Leeman Rd: Will there still be through access?

Access via Leeman Road?

Response from York Central Partnership: Yes there will continue to be access from the Salisbury Terrace area via the new access road subject to further work relating to the potential to bus-gate Marble Arch. There will continue to be access for pedestrians through the museum during opening hours. Further information will be available in the forthcoming exhibition.

Cycling: Is proper infrastructure going to be put in?

Cycle Infrastructure

Response from York Central Partnership: Yes, there is an intention to provide segregated cycle lanes along the new access road as part of a wider package of measures. Further information will be available in the forthcoming exhibition.

Who owns the land? How public is it?

Who owns the land?

Response from York Central Partnership: The land is owned by all four partners, with the majority of land owned by Network Rail and Homes England.


Will the YCP ‘design work’ be shared during the Festival?

There will be some information relating to the heights of buildings, including examples of the heights of the buildings when compared with other landmarks in York available at the festival. This will be shown through images on the boards and the model.

The Festival of York Central

The Festival of York Central – coming soon!

This is a festival with a difference. The Festival of York Central will be a celebration of people power, of being part of shaping your city, of being part of something big. There will be walks, workshops and videos (and you may find yourself starring in some of them!). There will be questions and some answers. There will be lots of discussions and debate. There will sometimes be food and pubs. And there will almost always be Post-Its. There will be many, many Post-Its (and every one will count).

The York Central Exhibiton is based at the National Railway Museum from 21st March until 27th April. The exhibiton will remain the same throughout except for the many post-it note contributions people are making annotating the boards with their questions, views and ideas.

Alongside the exhibiton we’re running lots of events. Based at the National Railway Museum but reaching out into York Central, the neighbouring communities and the rest of the city, we will be working with the masterplanners Allies & Morrison and York Central Partnership to use the current thinking behind emerging masterplan ideas as a springboard to develop richer and deeper thinking about York Central.

We’ve looked at the questions which are already coming in, and have shaped the first four weeks events around the biggest broad themes:-

Public space in York Central: Week 1 – 19th March – 25th March
Living in York Central: Week 2 – March 26th – 1st April
Working in York Central: Week 3 – 2nd April – 8th April
Moving around (and beyond) York Central: Week 4 – 9th April – 15th April

We’re in the process of setting up activities and events, which will appear on our Events page here, but we want your ideas too. What ideas would you like to kick around, and how? What would you want to be part of, and what would bring in your neighbours and friends? Ideas to myyorkcentral@gmail.com. In the meantime we’ll be busy filling up the diary, so keep checking back to see what’s new and look out for news on Twitter and Facebook (and say hello to us there too).

Meet the York Central Partners and Professionals

Come and meet the partners making York Central happen.

Meet the York Central Partners and Professionals
Wednesday 14th March, 7:30-9:00pm
National Railway Museum

As part of the launch of My York Central, we’ve set up an event where you can come along and meet the York Central Partnership. We’ll have speakers invovled in shaping York Central from City of York Council, Network Rail, Homes England and the National Railway Museum. There will also be contributions from key professionals who are involved in the development of York Central: Arup, Allies and Morrison and Aberfield (Communications). There will then be time for Q&As from the floor.

All very welcome. Book your free place here.

Week 1: My York Central Questions…affordable housing, air quality, land ownership and more…

Last week we launched My York Central by asking for questions you might have about York Central or any of the issues it raises.

Thanks to everyone who has submitted questions so far. If you want to get a flavour of the range of questions that have been rolling in, you can have a look at the list of tags on our flickr site.

The questions will be responded to in the following ways. Everyone Monday we will gather together a batch of questions.

Where there are specific answers we’ll pass them to the York Central Partnership team for them to respond to. As the responses come in, we’ll also use this as a chance to meet the different members of the partnership and of the professional staff team.

Where there are no answers because decisions have yet to be made – or the questions are focused on bigger issues about the kind of city and world we want to live in, as some are – then we’ll say that and use the questions to inform events for the Festival of York Central, which will begin in the week commencing 19th March (and we will probably try and get the question asker involved in running the event too!).

Keep the questions coming, if your question hasn’t been picked this week, we’ll aim to get to it next week!

Questions from week commencing 19th February 2018.

Affordable Housing: How many houses will be affordable…and what is affordable!?

Affordable Housimg? And what is affordable?

Density: How high will the buildings be?

Density: How high will the buildings be?

Cars: what are the target figures for car movement through the site?

Through traffic


Leeman Rd: Will there still be through access?

Access via Leeman Road?

Traffic Impact: How is that being modelled?

Traffic Impact

Air Quality: How are we planning to ensure York Central reduces pollution?

Air Quality?

Cycling: Is proper infrastructure going to be put in?

Cycle Infrastructure

Who owns the land? How public is it?

Who owns the land?

Brief/Vision: What is the Council’s brief to York Central Partnership? What is the vision from each partner?

A brief for York Central?

A vision for York Central?

#CitizenMedia #York: How can we create a positive democratic culture online?

How can we use online spaces to have good conversation about the future of York?

#CitizenMedia #York: How can we create a positive democratic culture online?
Thursday, 15th March, 7.30-9.30

Throughout the Castle Gateway process, we’ve used social media to seek open conversations. Sometimes this has worked well and great ideas and thought-provoking stories have emerged. At other times we’ve not quite known how to respond, or how turn to cynicism, frustration and anger into to constructive discussion. We’ve also met some people who have said they simply don’t engage in debates about York online for fear of personal attacks and sniping. The danger is we all retreat into our own silos of people who think like we do and the sense of a shared public sphere where ideas are shared, debated and exposed to challenge is lost.

We invite you to join us to explore whether there is another way of having debates about York through Facebook, twitter and in the comments on the York Press. How might social media become a space for us as citizens to engaged in debate about our city? How can we shift the emphasis in local debate from what is wrong and what is hated towards people being able to positively contribute what they want to see? How can social media discussion support democratic culture in York and feed into local decision-making?

The objectives of our first workshop are to:

” Explore techniques for engaging well on social media
” Create a community of people prepared to go out there and try some new techniques and then feedback on how it goes, so we can all learn from the experience

Places are limited to 12. To book a place email Helen on h.graham@leeds.ac.uk
Organised by My Future York and Coaching York