York Central Community Heritage Group: first meeting and some plans

York Central Community Heritage Group
2nd June 2018

Follow a series of fascinating heritage events during the Festival of York Central we’ve set up the York Central Community Heritage Group to develop discussions and events linked to the archaeology, history and heritage of the site. We had our first meeting on 2nd June 2018 at Friargate Meeting House and asked ourselves ‘What can we learn by looking at old maps and old photographs?’

Here is a brief summary of the discussions, the questions generated and the next things we’re planning to do. Let us know if you’d like to join the group: myyorkcentral@gmail.com

The Romans!
We had a map of Roman York to look at which shows the roman cemetery that John Oxley referred to in the Festival of York Central event. This raised a few questions for everyone.

Questions about the Romans on York Central.

It also prompted some discussion about the sense of ownership over the Roman history, that it always seems not to be ‘local history’ as such but as history very much stewarded by institutions.

‘Everyday Romans’


Most of the maps and images related to the changes in the area that came with the railways. There was a sense that the signifiance of the loss of the carriageworks had not been acknowledged properly.

‘The closure of the Carriageworks – we’ve not taked about the loss’
Because York Central is available to be developed because of the loss of railway work over the lst 30 years it was said ‘there needs to be jobs, it’s a legacy thing’.

There were some ideas to take here for thinking about future employment and the danger of reliance on big employers.


And ideas about how to reclaim cycling as part of York’s living heritage with a re-enactment.

Bikes use to pour out of the factories and Carriageworks – can we do a re-enactment?

What to do next?

What other York Central-related archives to York Explore and NRM have?
Can we orgainise a re-enactment of shifts ending and cycles pouring out of Holgate works?

How can York Central be designed to work for people who have Multiple Sclerosis?

Joanne Chapman lives in York, and blogs about her experiences of being a parent and having Multiple Sclerosis. In this blog, Joanne explores what possibilities York Central might offer disabled people. This is part of a strand of My York Central work looking at how York Central can be an inclusive and accessible place where disabled people can live, work and play.

What would your home be like? How would the designs enable you to live?

My condition makes the way I live more planned. I just want my home to be easy. My main symptoms of reduced mobility, fatigue and bladder weakness have to be accommodated in the house adaptations.

For my mobility, I need to ensure that access to the front and back of the property e.g. getting in and out, access the garden as well as moving around my home is easy. In terms of what I’d be doing, I would like every room to work for me, so the adaptations and design has to assist my condition by making my home more accessible. My aids need to be discreet, so my home doesn’t look like a special home that is “aid central”. I recently went to NAIDEX, a disability conference with one of the aims to help understand how home design can assist me.

Homes on York Central could be designed to be easy to use for disabled people.

I don’t wish to think how to make my home accessible for a wheelchair but it’s a necessity. With an ageing population and individuals wanting to remain in their homes for longer and not strain services by moving out, new homes need to address accessibility, so doorways have to be wide enough for a wheelchair to easily pass, items placed at appropriate levels from a wheelchair like light switches and plugs, using technology for smart accessibility like blinds and smart door locks so accessing via a chair isn’t an issue, accessibility into and outside the home, to include your garden. Mood is also important especially as MSers have a high likelihood of depression in their lifetime. Different light levels can aid mood. This can be used effectively in different areas of the home.

I recently had a company in to provide understanding of the decisions involved before purchasing a stair lift. I spoke about the marketing material the company used which featured elderly people. I told him that I appreciate that the elderly are the target market but everything was marketed towards the elderly (photographs, language used). The biggest learning is not to assume. Not all disability is visible. If I was a designer, I would be getting a range of opinions from individuals who have a wide range of disability.

What would public spaces and social spaces be like? What would they enable you to do there?

Public spaces need to be redesigned to enable people using wheelchairs easy access, including accessible Changing Places toilets and rest places.

Public spaces like my home need to be easy. So a lot of what I’ve written for my home can be applied to public spaces. I’m disabled not because of my condition but because public spaces make me feel disabled as there are usually unfriendly. For example, I visit a local park. The entrance is blocked by a gate. I park my scooter near the gate and use my walking stick to walk in and access the park. I understand the gate prevents bikes entering the park they also restrict wheelchair, scooter and pushchair access therefore preventing many individuals from using. When my mobility gets more challenged I will be unable to visit. I choose not to use this park for its lack of accessibility and ironically it is the closest to my home. For every public place I visit, I think about my condition and how my symptoms of reduced mobility, fatigue and bladder weakness affects visiting them. Before MS, I just went out. How this affects me in York, is proper planning for best parking, places that are accessible (my husband gets me into shops, by supporting me as some York shops have steps. As an old city obviously York wasn’t designed for accessibility). I also think of somewhere to rest and use the toilet. To be honest, I now need to think like this. I also look at how accessible a place is for children too as I’m a mum. Public places often don’t have a resting spot. For example, I visited the York Balloon Festival last year. A blue badge gives you closer parking but not closer toilets and no resting place. If public places addressed this, it would be a god send (like a resting place specifically for disabled guests and families, accessed via a blue badge).

Public spaces also includes transport links. At the moment, you usually ring ahead to plan a ramp etc. You’d prefer to just turn up. The partnership with Network Rail presents many opportunities to ensure all aspects of the rail journey is accessible: from using the toilet beforehand (I highly recommend Changing Places toliets) to boarding the train.

Being a true Northern powerhouse, we have to ensure all our spaces are accessible, for all children and adults. For those who are disabled or those supporting disabled individuals like a child or if you are a carer. We need to change the current attitude.

Social places need to reflect this too. I phone ahead to reserve tables at bars and restaurants. I inform taxi drivers of my condition. Again, like an able person you wish to act spontaneously but can’t.

In York Central, I’d like all places would to be easy and spontaneous.

Where would you blog from? Are there co-working, live-work arrangements / facilities /networking opportunities that would enable you to write?

Unfortunately as public places aren’t accessible, I would write from home. They are currently no facilities/networking opportunities established for accessibility. If this was different I would have a different answer.

How would you get around? What transport options would there be? What would enable your mobility?

Getting a scooter then a wheelchair on public transport is simply a nightmare. I would struggle independently. I need charge for the scooter. There is no designated area for disabled people to rest or visit the toilet. The main toilets in the city centre have been removed. I avoid visiting the city unless it’s vital. York is bike friendly. I would love to see the city as a beacon place for accessibility. Sadly no place is easily accessible, but maybe York will lead the way?

To read more or follow Joanne on social media see:


Facebook: poorly parents

Twitter: mummywithmsjmhc


What tagline should we choose for a Re-imagined York?: My Future York at the Festival of Ideas

‘Reimagining the City’, 17th June. Part of the Festival of Ideas.

On Sunday 17th June My York Central is taking part in an event ‘Re-imagining the City’ as part of the University of York’s Festival of Ideas.

We’ll be inviting participants to reflect on what the panel talks and discussion might mean for York. We’ll be doing this during the day with our trusty post it notes but also online.

You can take part in the discussions via this link.

We have an overall question:

The tagline for Las Vegas is ‘what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas’. What tagline should we choose for a Re-imagined York?

And then two questions for each session. One quick fire ‘in three words’ and one more open question.

For the ‘Technology and Transport’ session which explores ‘how architecture, technology and transport underpin urban living and how they impact on the environment, our lives, health and happiness’ we’re asking:

What does ‘city living’ mean in a city like York?

In three words: How would you like to be travelling in York in ten years’ time?

For the ‘Building Sustainable, Successful Communities’ session we’re asking:

Who needs to be involved to build communities in York?

In three words: What does ‘success’ mean for you in your communities?

And for the final ‘Re-imagining York’ session we’ll be asking:

What aspect of York needs the most re-imagination?

In three words: You are in York in 10 years’ time, what do you see and hear?

Book your tickets to come to the event.

How can York Central enable careers and businesses in the railway industry?

Contributions to the Festival of York Central which raised questions about the future of rail in York.

How can York Central enable careers and businesses in the railway industry?
24th May, 6.00-8.00pm
National Railway Museum

Last week we ran an event at the National Railway Museum to explore the question: How can York Central enable careers and businesses in the railway industry?

The event was chaired and introduced by John Nelson who has a long-standing involvement in the railways. In terms of considering the intersection of York Central and rail industry,  John described his interest as motivated by a ‘passion for the rail industry’, that he was still involved with three rail companies, a former trustee of the NRM and is a local resident, based in Holgate.

When John arrived in York in 1987 there were about 8,000 rail employees and about a quarter of the population some way dependent on the rail industry. The Carriageworks was closed due to political decision to “show the benefits of privatisation” and was at the time the most advanced facility in the UK. The loss of the Carriageworks meant the loss of many motivated people. The loss of higher-skilled jobs (and hence higher paid jobs) has lingered. John believes promotion of higher-end employment in York is needed – and that York Central is an opportunity.

Currently around a 1000 people in York work in the rail industry – a massive change in twenty years. Nationally, (via the Rail Industry Association website) it is noted that the rail sector is worth £36bn to the UK annually, with a tax benefit of £11bn annually, bigger than food and drink or pharmaceuticals. Across the UK jobs directly/indirectly associated with rail number just under 600,000, with 115,000 working directly within the system, 42,000 in the retail side, 250,000 in the supply side.

Can we re-find a role in the industry which might allow York to live up to reputation as a rail city?

The next speaker was Lynne Minett, who is Head of Learning and Events at NRM. Lynne’s role is to make collections engaging to all. Lynne said that she knows that people want to engage with the site and collection and acknowledged that in the past they haven’t always told York’s story well. York Central is a catalyst to:-

  • Reinvigorate South Yard and other outdoor spaces
  • Reinvigorate indoor displays
  • Create new central gallery linking two main buildings
  • Create a Wonderlab and a maker/tinkering space

The NRM are conscious of need to fill the STEM skills gap and that both the NRM and whole Science Museum Group have a role in this.

The NRM now working more closely with rail industry via the York Central Partnership and elsewhere. Through the Future Engineers initiative there will be a programme of events to focus on engineering and in particular encouraging young women into STEM.

The NRM very positive about rail industry on York Central giving an opportunity to being the story of railway up to present day.

The final of the three speakers was Alastair Morrison who works for Tracsis in Pride Park, Derby.

Pride Park is bounded by rail lines, river and the station. It is soon to be extended by the extra Triangle site. The initiative was supported politically when it started in 1990’s. It took 20 years (almost) to fill the site. Derby College has a large number of engineering courses and apprenticeships.

Pride Park has very good rail connectivity and road access. Bus services improved after temporary diversion of services demonstrated the need. Tracsis moved there for connectivity. There are the nearby Network Rail offices, a good network of collaborative companies and bigger pool of employees. There are lots of companies working in different aspects of the industry and the East Midlands Rail Forum is very active in promoting the industry. There are other supporting businesses too such as banking, food, property consultants, hotels etc.

Two of the post it notes on the rail industry contributed during the Festival of York Central


The event was then opened up for discussion.

1990s legacy of lack of investment

‘It was difficult during 1990’s. York was relatively prosperous and so it missed out on government funding. There was also in this period an escalation of land values which limited the type of businesses which can be attracted. Inward investment dried up too, which left the city dependent on the region’.

Museum – about the past but also for the future?

‘I am thinking about the ‘museum’ part of the title of the NRM. Does “the past” get in the way of thinking about the present and future?’ Lynne responded that there is a strong commitment that current industry needs to be focus of the museum now. NRM is partnering with companies in the industry to fund events. Alastair added that on Pride Park Roundhouse (College) offers ‘good facilities for events and as a shopfront to the site’.

What kind of railway businesses?

‘Can we generate rail activity?’

‘Any new activity  would probably on supply side – what strategy would deliver on the potential? How can the council as planning authority help drive change and overcome hurdles such as high land value?’

‘I work in the rail industry for Siemens, could HS2 could be brought into York either as station or for maintenance depot?’

‘There is still significant rail employment which will collapse if the issue of future of the industry is not addressed. Neither of the Universities do engineering; could this change? Or could York College grow to fill this gap?’

‘If York wants rail to grow, then all participants need to “sing from the same hymn sheet”. Regional development agencies in midlands very focussed on engineering – not the case in Yorkshire. There was no drive across the board to retain / maintain rail industry in York’.

Lynne noted: ‘York is a “City of Media Arts” which leaves engineering out and often makes NRM a lone voice for engineering’.

So, there is an image problem and a problem of advocacy with the universities. Isn’t there a digital strand to the rail industry? John Nelson replied that ‘yes there is, but we’d need a broader group than this to explore that’.

‘Does the training college at Doncaster create problem by draining skills from region, leaving gap for creation of training facility in York? We need to involve a wide range of partners and explore synergies – universities etc. Need a process to involve immediate partners (Network Rail etc) as a starting point’.

‘How did the HS2 training centre end up in Doncaster? Mainly due to mechanical engineering in Doncaster’.

‘The demise of Virgin Trains East Coast franchise might give a chance for new opportunities – new alliancing arrangement. Can we set up a conference to explore ideas? Local links are useful such as the Institute of Transport Studies in Leeds, and the closeness of Doncaster’.

It was noted that no-one from CoYC Economic Development at the meeting and that Make It York is very focused on tourism.

How to increase the number of people involved in the conversation

‘There is a possibility with York Central, but this needs buy-in from wider range of partners. We need engagement of local people in the process of development. Also the broader industry such as HS2 and construction / civil engineering’.

‘North Yorkshire LEP should be contacted. There is frustration with York in terms of tackling future employment’.

‘We don’t have an equivalent of Midlands Rail Forum. Should we form an equivalent? ‘Railway Industry Association cover supply side across the country, could they be involved in providing member information? ‘The lack of attendance tonight is a symptom of lack of stimulus – so how do we target and engage wider group’.

‘York Central has dominated discussion, but around access etc there has been no real discussion of wider issues of business nor what actually goes on within the site’.

‘Perhaps we need to frame a discussion about the rail industry in York, not just York Central. Perhaps the better question (that the title of this event) would be “Is there a future for the Rail Industry in York?”’

Next steps

  • Develop an advocacy process for the rail industry in York
  • Explore an event on alliancing opportunities and an event asking ‘Is there a future for the Rail Industry in York?’

Build university contacts in this area

The Role of Arts and Culture in York Central

Post it notes jotted during the discussions at The role of Art and Culture in York Central event.

31st April 2018

Robert Powell (former Beam Director and RIBA Honorary Fellow 2018) and Hazel Colquhoun (York Curiouser and independent consultant) introduce the real possibilities for arts, culture and making a brilliant place in York Central.

Robert introduce the cultural wellbeing policy with the local plan.

Hazel gave a series of inspiring and thought-provoking examples of how arts can be used in developments and make new places.

View the slides.

We then opened up for discussion, the aim of the quotes below are to give a real favour of the discuss they’ve been roughly grouped to identify key themes:

York, Heritage, Tourism and Contemporary Culture
‘What kind of culture are we talking about, heritage or contemporary? I am from York and I left. York is dead and that’s why I left. Heritage has it place. But we’ve been kicked over the head by it. The heritage offering is for visitors has been done to death and that is the monolithic overarching problem. There is nothing for me’.

‘Here we house 850 years of the archives of the city and this holds the stories of people of York. The people make the story and make our heritage real. It’s not just about monuments and buildings, we have the stories of the people of York. We have invited artists and creatives to research the rich stories in the archives and to re-tell the story in different and exciting ways. Bringing artists, creatives, digital makers and heritage together to create something new. For example, through our Explore Labs we have worked with young people, hacking stories and creating something else. Both inspirational and aspirational – who knows where it will lead. Explore Labs challenges the imagination – it’s where, artists, tech, heritage and stories collide’.
(Barbara Swinn, from York Explore)

‘We were recently voted in the Sunday Times, the best place to live in England. As far as I am concerned noblesse oblige. If you are given a title, that we have something special, fantastic and wonderful, we need to be optimistic, forward looking and positive. York Central and Castle Gateway and other developments are a fantastic opportunity. This is fantastic future’.

‘This site should be a canvass. Sometimes York is still historic and stodgy’.

‘York that is the sell, the hard tourist sell. I am sick to death of that kind of shtik. You feel like there isn’t anything for you’.

‘There is a lot going on and a lot of independent people getting up and doing things’.

‘I’ve come to York and I can’t quite get in there. York is shared space but where is my bit? I want to do various class and I want to enjoy things but there is such little space for residents. But we don’t make enough money as tax payers to take up that space’.

York Central and Railways
‘The unique thing about York Central is railways. So much of York is about looking backwards, you can combine, shame not to focus in on railways because that is unique. You can combine that heritage with something very modern and incorporating art into it. You can use rail as a motif to direct people through the site. We are looking at many people stories. Phoenix Boulevard, where I live, used to be a foundry but apart from name of the street there is to other reference to it. Before they dismantle the site, can we retain some of those icons. Railways are about travel and movement and you can look forward to what movement might be in the future’.

‘The most exciting thing in the plans is the stream train going backwards and forward’.

‘How do people feel about the railway heritage? We already have a cultural institution on it and playing a role? How do people feel about the railway heritage and can you meld this with the future looking?’

‘Challenges in York Central is to persuade people to come to York Central. Everyone goes to York. Difficulties will be making it less of a island, as there are only limited ways to get into it. One of the things that NRM could thinking about is ‘breaking out of its space’, they should they be thinking of spreading through the space in ways that that would take people further into the space. There could so some quite creative things in other parts of the site’.

‘In terms of the railway theme, there is the Highline in New York. They used a disused rail track, which is elevated. Now become a hugely important outdoors space, hosts music events, arts events, planting. Green space, involved with volunteers, friends of the highline. This would be one way of attracting people to that site. I know its talked about as Great Park but if it’s purely static I don’t think it will survive’.

‘Railway Institute gymnasium. If you go in the is a wonderful magnificent building and that is a building that needs to be retained. It is popular and much loved’.

‘One thing that’s strikes me the culture of the city was not planned and here you’re trying to plan it. I also feel calling is York Central is a misnomer because it is the connection between the city and whole has to be thought of seriously. The culture of the city which grew organically, the concern of the railway, the railway is part of the culture of the site. NRM will expand, absolutely vital but it has to be done in an imaginative way’.

How can culture be democratic?
‘These artists intervention have been about making sense of a space, in this city’s ancient monuments. One thing add, how is that going to affect our children now? With a monument, there is a danger that it is grown over. Or is it going to be something that a community can relate to?’

Hazel: ‘In Cambridge, the Art project included lots education projects. As well as making art that is about the new development, they worked as part of a new school building to link to what the children talked about. There is lots of scope for people of all age as involved. Making a place that can change and making place and spaces that can be used for something’.

‘We make buildings and then the buildings make us. Then it changes us and changes the people that come after that. It’s about having values in minds when they set out. In post-war towns, the approach was ‘build an art gallery’ and ‘build a theatre’ and we’re done. Instead think about embedding capacity for change in the longer term. It is good to have artists in resident but maybe instead of having an art gallery we need an art school!’

‘There has been some talk about digital facilities. Don’t let’s separate artists from the community. We need to encourage them to come from the community, for everyone to be able to explore their talent. If you see that happen then you are getting somewhere close to the ideas for cultural wellbeing’.

‘Picking up on the future and arts of the future, one of the ideas for York Central is the Great Park. I was struck with the Cambridge ideas and trees, the development is growing and evolving as the trees grow. So could we use this Great Park to animate the story, something that is growing and everyone could be involved in it. Because people how move there, future residents and children will grow up with the trees. I like the idea of growth and it being literal’.

‘Language is exclusionary. Particular vocabulary and discourse and if you do not have the way to understand that framework – and therefore it’s not accessible to a lot of people. Topics, complicated not quite able to understand them on an immediate level of what will affect me. We often forget the immediate – the cup of tea – the immediate point of entry, plain English directly, this is how it will hit you. Then I’d be very concerned about the cultural wellbeing plan for York central. I’d worry that you are disenfranchising people right away’.

‘Planning system you do not understand without specialist knowledge but this is how we are going to hit home for you’.

A cultural hub/lab?
‘What if we had an Explore Lab on York Central that could enable artists, creatives, digital/tech and our heritage to collide – re-imagining the stories our history.
An example from our Explore Labs – an 11 year old boy, developed a holder on a 3D printer that could be attached to the base of a takeaway coffee cup – this would be made of biodegradable material and filled with wild flower seeds that would grow and attract pollinators. Who knows where this will lead? We could connect with those young people using the digital labs and ask them what they would like to see and re-visit 20 years later – they could be the very ones using the space in York central – It could be a dynamic and living space. As they grow it grows’.
(Barbara Swinn, York Explore)

How to start to build culture on York Central now?
‘Something mobile or pop up maybe? Could one of the buildings can be used ‘meantime’ to explore making and digital making?’

‘It would be easy to do something tame and has been done before. We are allowed to be risky even if we are York. We’re allowed to think about the future even if we are historic. We have strong roots and therefore we can grow’.

‘But It will be water down if we don’t pull our fingers out’.

‘There are somethings (in Hazel’s presentation) about process and becoming. There were also some things that were something physical in the space. Some of those interventions were about ownership, my brick, my windmill, that’s for them. But there needs to be a longer-term plan too. The cultural plan can have a process, what do we do while it is become, what do we want to become’.

‘We need the process of becoming. But as a community we need that feeling it is ongoing. We also need buildings that can stand the test of time. Good opportunity to have all of them – but we might just get a Windmill!’

‘It is about retaining people and bringing people back. It is about providing space for artists. In Bristol, they have turned themselves around and provide space for artists as a permeant feature. E.g Watershed. We need a place for start ups. If that was in conjunction with the regeneration and the museum itself so much the better. It could be a way of melding old and new, earning a living and stay. That will do well for our native population as well as retain graduates’.

‘Often there is a sense that it’s Leeds you go to for an exiting place to see art. But what about forward thinking art that involves the community. Including communities that are not always wanting to get involved in art’.

‘Retain the element of what it was and what was there and forward looking, NRM is trying to do’.

‘You are talking about people taking ownership over a part of that site, time to box clever to get ongoing funding, that helps to pay for that activity on to the future’.

‘In the Highline in New York, they have kept the essence of what it was I the past, It has sculptural pieces and some of old buildings have been retained and the city has taken ownership over it definitely’.

‘In Birmingham Wharf people can make things. Entrepreneurs can try things out, there are great big tunnels thinking about transport in things at high speed, a place where people can understand things not like a museum, some kind of makers environment where you are doing things because without artists being about to prototype something and try something out. There is a space to prototype then that’s very difficult’.

‘I keep reading your cultural wellbeing plan. You should have a cultural infrastructure plan wellbeing in the result, cultural infrastructure is what underpins it. Physical as well as social. Infrastructure is not just bricks and mortar it’s social. Whatever that infrastructure is it will set the foundation for what follows on. Whatever form it takes it will influences what happens next. Principle area part of an infrastructure and can change – but can give you an infrastructure’.

‘Lots of old building, factories, on the site, I hope there is no suggestions that they should be cleared away as they could be excellent for start of space for artists. Convert them in workshop spaces’.

‘I complete understand its lovely when an arty people get together. But what do you need on a day to day basis is to eat and be outside. I liked the fruit trees idea from Cambridge. As people use the path, they might think about Newton. Railways signify innovation but not everyone will be a maker. They might just wat an apple to immediately take away’.

‘Looking at other tools to describe the space, it uses one kind of language, architectures to tell stories, how people describe, storytelling other way of giving people a chance of places for them’.

‘We can be active with the cultural plan, we want that building for arts and we want to take that. We should be pushing now, to start to use somewhere like the Bullnose Building’.

Next steps:
• Keep in touch: sign up for further discussions about culture and York Central – within the view of starting to make some of these ideas happen?
• Develop ideas about a hub?
• Meantime use of buildings on York Central?
• Arts Council bid to being arts to York Central placemaking?

Vision Workshop 12th May – loooking at “how”.

These are notes from our open workshop, elaborating the Big Ideas and looking at next steps which we could collectively take to turn the ideas into reality.

Feedback on the Big Ideas

Homes for living, not investment:-

  • What kind of social contract works best to keep housing for homes forever?
  • Living on York Central doesn’t have to be about ownership – renting could be good.
  • Who will be the developer and what would work best? Homes England? The council?

Exploit the benefits of high density:-

  • Can imagine it feeling similar to behind Kings Cross – businesses at ground level, green spaces but also hardwearing finishes.
  • Site should have facilities for local people – supermarket for example – so no need for a car.

Build in low running costs through high standards:-

  • Is there an assumption it will be there in ten years’ time?” – are we building for the long term?
  • Can we build for true long-term sustainability by building for disassembly and re-use of materials? Considering flexibility, re-assembly?
  • How can we make service charges affordable? Would there be ways of doing this through community involvement?

People, not more cars:-

  • Need to create more connections to the riverside – cycle and foot paths.
  • We need to see pollution statistics to really know what the problem is.
  • Let’s make walking and cycling attractive and safe – the first choice – and make cars “possible but inconvenient” to use. Direct cycle routes are first priority. Let’s invest on things which make cars/parking irrelevant. Best intentions are not enough – need to think *how* we reduce car ownership.
  • Make the new station entrance work for cyclists – secure storage, well lit.
  • York Central should not be used to resolve congestion elsewhere.
  • Can we have multi-storey parking for station and NRM on the outskirts of the development to remove need to drive in?
  • Learn from elsewhere – good and bad. For example look at what went wrong with public transport at Derwenthorpe.

Beyond zoning:-

  • Can we enable people to downsize yet stay accessible?
  • Different layers of building can provide different uses to reduce zoning.
  • How about living units with networking space, meeting space, co-working space included/nearby?
  • How can we integrate York Central with the communities around it?

A community made through exchange:-

  • Can we set up Park & Ride so the profit is shared?
  • How do we build in ways for shared ideas to be developed and succeed?
  • What form of local governance would work best, and can York Central act as a catalyst for this across the city? How can this be open and accountable?
  • Can we achieve cross-party consensus?
  • We need to create a place which is serious about economic activity.

A hub that catalyses York’s creativity and innovation:-

  • How can we create a place to live and work for creatives coming out of York’s universities?
  • Can we create a learning and skills exchange?
  • Gallery / museum space?
  • Small / indie businesses are characteristic of York – we don’t need Google like Kings Cross. How can we take the success of Spark into York Central?
  • Can we also provide affordable space for existing businesses under pressure (rail industry)?

Public spaces that enable people to be collectively creative:-

  • Opportunities presented by the river shouldn’t be missed – recreation on the river provides recreation for others watching it. How about a watersports centre on Leeman Park with upper floor bar and viewing? A new home for York canoe club?
  • Allotments can be a place for sharing and learning
  • Ownership and control of public space must allow / encourage community use. How can it be adaptable to change with the seasons – eg water fountains (summer) and markets (winter)?
  • Can routes become experiences of art / creativity? “Paperchase” or art on the route? Public space should set high standards – quality street furniture etc.

…and how we move forward:-

  • Can we set up a body which allows for inclusion / investment, and can this be done soon? Can this include housing within its remit but also broader issues of economic development and inclusive governance? Can we hold events to inform and engage people?
  • Can we get involved in the discussion about cars and transport on York Central, with the same information on transport modelling which is available to the Partnership and council?
  • Can we broaden the thinking to go beyond York Central, and use the vision developed for York Central to also guide British Sugar site etc?

Sustainable Construction on York Central

13th June 2018, 6:00pm – 8:00pm
York Explore
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During the Festival of York Central many people expressed a wish for development on York Central to be of the highest standards of sustainable construction; for it to be an exemplar which went beyond statutory requirements and demonstrated the benefits of higher performance. But what does “sustainable” mean and how can high standards be guaranteed when the word is so often casually applied? How can we use a mix of well-tried good practice and genuine innovation in order to create buildings and places which will guide York in its commitment to being a One Planet city?

This workshop session will feature presentations by experts on three themes:-

Innovative Development – Chris Thompson and Jonathan Wilson of Citu will explain how Citu build ultra-low carbon places at the cutting edge of sustainability, with a focus on building for people, not cars (or investors!). They will be sharing how Citu’s people first approach is taking shape at the Climate Innovation District
Sustainable Materials – Rachel Trend of Native Architects, looking at new uses for natural materials including strawbale, hempcrete and woodfibre insulation
Passivhaus and beyond – Phil Bixby of Constructive Individuals, exploring how Passivhaus design and construction plus renewables can bring really low-carbon, comfortable living

My York Central’s eight Big Ideas include “build in low running costs through high standards” and our underpinning principles include community engagement and co-design. This workshop will give a chance to gain knowledge about current technology and practice, to discuss ways in which those high standards can be implemented on York Central, and how you might be able to help this happen.

This event is held in partnership with York Explore

My York Central | Big Ideas, Principles and Vision


Summary of the ideas, principles and vision emerging from the My York Central Festival of York Central

In March and April 2018 we ran the Festival of York Central. We kicked off by calling for any questions anyone had about York Central. We then used the questions to develop four weeks’ worth of events exploring York Central from lots of different angles. You can read about the events and what happened on our blog.

From these events we ran weekly open anyalsis workshops to pull together Open Briefs – working documents around key areas: Public Space, Home, Work and Movement.

Following the end of the York Central Exhibition we used the thousands of post it notes to draw out a Vision, a Big Ideas summary and key Principles to guide the development of York Central. You can download the whole document.

You can also read it online via these links:

York Central Partnership Prelude: How will the York Central Partnership use the My York Central summary?
My York Central: How were the Big Ideas, Principles and Visions produced and how will they be used?
Big Ideas: My York Central
Principles: My York Central
Vision: My York Central
York Central Partnership Annex: Planning Application Engagement context

My York Central: How were the Big Ideas, Principles and Visions produced and how will they be used?

Vision Background

Over the six weeks of the Festival of York Central and York Central Exhibition at the National Railway Museum we’ve been exploring the plans and possibilities for York Central. Each week we produced Open Briefing documents. We have now drawn out and synthesized the discussions into a Vision for York Central, with a very short summary Big Ideas document, and a set of Principles of how York Central can be developed in the next stages.

This document has been drawn together from community engagement through the Festival of York Central, largely through:-

  1. Feedback through Post-Its at the exhibition, photographed/uploaded/tagged on our Flickr site.
  2. Discussion at festival events, summarised through a series of blogs and informing a set of open briefing documents which were produced on the festival themes of open space, homes work and movement.
  3. Other input via various meetings and workshops with specific groups (for example elected members, local schools, pop-ups, York Youth Council).
  4. Contributions via conversations on the doorstep, via door-knocking carried out by local councillors and support teams.

The purpose of this document

Revisiting the open briefing documents following the Festival, it was clear that while they largely captured the engagement during each of the themed weeks, there was still scope for a consolidating document which minimised duplication and built upon the links between the issues contained in the individual documents. For example the relationship between homes and movement is itself a key point and one which the two separate briefing documents doesn’t satisfactorily address. There were also over-arching principles which we wanted to give due prominence (for example sustainability) and others which – while central – hadn’t been part of the four weekly themes (for example heritage significance).

These ideas, principles and vision are not only for the York Central Partnership. Many are broader than the site and beyond the control of the Partnership. Therefore these ideas are for organisations across the city, community groups and individuals to work collaboratively to help make them happen.

YORK CENTRAL PARTNERSHIP ANNEXE: Planning application engagement context

Since late 2017, York Central Partnership have developed opportunities for the public to engage with, and input into, the proposals as they have developed as follows:

• Stage 1 – YCP met with local groups and organisations and held three public pop-up events to hear thoughts on the emerging principles for the York Central masterplan.
• Stage 2 – YCP held a series of workshops with members of the community to discuss key themes for the emerging York Central masterplan. The workshops allowed YCP to explore issues raised in Stage 1 in greater detail which has helped to progress key elements of the masterplan.
• Stage 3 – The Festival of York Central – a comprehensive process involving an exhibition and dedicated website, as well as a series of events and activities to promote deeper understanding and engagement. This six week process finished on 29 April 2018.

Purpose of stage 3 – Festival of York Central

Following a focused and intensive period of design work, technical studies and engagement with local people over the past six months, YCP identified five main objectives for the stage 3 engagement:
1. Provide a clear overview of how the emerging masterplan is evolving.
2. Hear your views on the overall approach, vision and key principles.
3. Understand your thoughts on more specific elements of the proposals including site access and open spaces.
4. Deepen the level of involvement and understanding of the site through conversation and dialogue to enable long term community involvement in the site as it evolves.
5. Enable a masterplan that better meets the needs of the York community.

My York Central – Background Context
During Stage 1, respondents asked YCP to look at the My Castle Gateway project as a best-practice example of good engagement. The same team created My York Central (MYC). MYC goes beyond conventional community consultation by enabling all those interested to become part of a sustained long-term conversation where influence comes through sharing responsibility for the area and its future. Throughout the festival MYC has worked to make getting involved active, challenging and fun.

The purpose of this note is to summarise the feedback and discussions which took place through the events and activities which took place through the My York Central process alongside the exhibition. It is important to note that responses were also received via the Commonplace platform and main project website, and hard copy questionnaires.