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£10m approved for York 'teardrop' bridge
CITY leaders have rubber-stamped £10 million in funding for a new bridge allowing York’s key “teardrop” site to finally be developed.
The money from City of York Council’s Economic Infrastructure Fund (EIF) will pay for an access route opening up the York Central site – ultimately earmarked for 1,083 new homes as well as offices, restaurants, shops and a hotel – from the city’s former carriageworks.
The authority’s Labour cabinet approved the funding allocation last night. The council says the 26-hectare York Central scheme – which stalled in 2009 during the credit crunch – will create more than 8,000 full-time jobs and 6,700 construction roles, injecting about £600 million a year into York’s economy.
All the £28.5 million in the EIF – introduced in February 2012 and funded through borrowing and New Homes Bonus money – has now been committed to projects.
Some £500,000 of the York Central allocation will cover immediate costs, including transport, legal and consultancy fees, with details of how the remaining £9.5 million will be spent emerging early next year.
A land swap will result in a council-owned site next to Holgate Park being sold to Network Rail, which will in turn sell land next to the carriageworks to the authority for the bridge and access routes from the A59.
Work on the first new homes could start in 2015, with the final phase of the overall scheme beginning in 2019.
Council leader James Alexander said York Central had “phenomenal potential” as one of Europe’s largest city-centre brownfield development sites, but its landlocked nature had caused major difficulties.
He said: “It is the right time to allocate this funding, and it is a huge, huge step forward.”
Coun Alexander said the access point may not be permanent, but will mean construction traffic could enter the site for the development’s opening stages, including up to 400 homes.
He said the scheme must be “flexible” and adapt to market conditions, rather than following a “grand masterplan” approach.
Conservative councillor Chris Steward said he was glad EIF money was being used for “proper, tangible infrastructure”, but specific details were needed about what the £10 million would achieve and whether developers would provide match-funding.
He said: “Whatever its rights and wrongs, this scheme has lingered for years and hopefully it can now be done with proper cross-party involvement.”
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