York & North Yorkshire

York Central development gets £10m bridge boost

Aerial image of the area from Google Maps
Image caption Previous attempts to attract developers for York Central have failed

Funding has been approved to build a bridge which it is hoped could "kick-start" development of brownfield land.

Senior councillors in York have agreed to spend £10m to improve access to an 86-acre (35-hectare) site behind the city's railway station.

The York Central site has been earmarked for more than 1,000 homes as well as offices and retail space.

Council leader James Alexander said previous attempts to attract developers had stalled because of poor access.

"The city has been talking about [this development] for a generation," Mr Alexander said.

"The land is landlocked by railway lines and marble arches you can't get construction traffic underneath.

"Let's just sort out the first access point to get onto the site and start the work, and then developers and investors will want to come on board."

'Good message'

The bridge would link the teardrop-shaped site, which is directly behind the railway station, to the A59.

A report put to the Labour-run council's executive on Tuesday evening said the £10m would come out of its economic infrastructure fund, to "boost short and long-term growth through investment in infrastructure".

It said several other developments in York were moving forward, such as Hungate, British Sugar, and the site of the former Terry's factory, but the York Central site needed "financial support" from the council.

It added that as well as 1,083 homes, the development would create 8,000 full-time jobs by the time it is completed.

Councillor Ian Gillies, leader of the Conservative group, said he "welcomed" the investment in the bridge, which he said sent a "good message".

But he said it would not be enough on its own.

"For the site to take off in any significant form it will need central government or European grants," Mr Gillies said.

"It's so big, there's an awful lot of decontamination from the site's former uses in the railway industry that needs to take place before any building can begin, so I think more funding is needed to progress the site before a developer takes it on."

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