CAMPAIGNERS have branded the consultation over an access road into the York Central site a "shameful sham" - and called for the deadline for comments to be extended.

York Central Action, a coalition of community groups, claimed people had been poorly informed about drop-in sessions and key information on traffic flows and pollution was being kept secret until after the consultation ended.

Its claims came as the consultation into three possible routes for the access road into the redevelopment site behind York railway station - where up to 1,500 new homes and 100,000 square metres of commercial space are planned - is due to come to an end tomorrow.

Two of the routes come from Water End - one crossing over the Leeman Road Millennium Green - and the third comes from Holgate Road, crossing the Holgate Community Garden.

Spokesman James Pitt claimed a flyer advertising a series of public events in the area had been delivered as part of a junk mail delivery, wrapped in a larger flyer for pizzas.

“Most people we have spoken to simply do not know that the consultation is happening,” he said.

He said the drop-ins took place over three weeks, two of which were in the summer holidays, making it very difficult for parents of school children to get involved.

He also claimed one of the drop-in venues, St Barnabas, was cramped due to the very small space. “It did not lend itself to a healthy information gathering session.”

He also claimed the public had not been given the information needed to make a reasoned judgement.

“We have repeatedly asked for full disclosure of data especially on the effects of traffic on health and the environment. This has been refused despite the partnership having it.

“York Central Action is asking for the consultation period to be extended and for ALL the relevant information to be published.

“We wish to see the site developed for the benefit of the people of York, and our belief that the best way to get genuine and meaningful community buy-in is through openness and transparency on the part of the (York Central) Partnership.

“The current consultation is a shameful sham!”

A spokesman for the partnership said it welcomed the opinions of all York residents, but strongly disagreed with the views expressed by James Pitt on behalf of York Central Action.

“Over 600 people attended the four consultation events and over 300 feedback forms have been received so far, with a wide range of views expressed,” he said.

“A significant amount of information has been shared via the consultation boards and the website and we have received positive feedback on the level of information made available and how it has been explained.

“The partnership has publicised the events and appreciates the constructive community discussion the proposals have generated which has helped to draw even more people to the consultation events and website.

“In total, 33,000 leaflets were distributed in the neighbourhoods immediately surrounding York Central, to promote the consultation events.

“In addition, adverts were taken out in the York Press from early August, as well as numerous news stories appearing about the events. Facebook advertising has also been undertaken to help target different demographics, which has reached more than 22,000 York residents.

"This was further supported ahead of the consultation by a number of engagement meetings with community groups and organisations, in order to generate wider awareness and understanding of the process and the upcoming events.”

He added that political parties and organisations had distributed their own leaflets promoting and encouraging people to attend the events.