Barton Howe is the landscape architect. Credit: via Big Old House

Go-ahead for York Central public realm 

Reserved matters approval has been secured for the first piece of civic space in the £2.5bn masterplan, linking the western entrance of the railway station to the National Railway Museum.

The consent represents the latest development as momentum gathers around York Central, the project aiming to bring 1m sq ft of commercial space and 2,500 homes to 45 acres of brownfield land.

In December confirmation that McLaren and Arlington Real Estate had been selected as preferred development partners was followed by a GPA planning application for a 196,000 sq ft government hub at the site.

Barton Howe Associates is the landscape architect and Allies Morison the masterplan architect for York Central. Avison Young is the planner.

With detailed consent for the first element of the masterplan now in place, 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 a new civic space featuring a contemporary design that is respectful of local heritage and ensures accessibility to all, said the partners.

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 on behalf of the York Central Partnership in summer 2023.

To date, £135m of public sector funding has been secured for York Central. Infrastructure work began in summer 2022 to build 2km-plus 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.

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