YORK Central provides York with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to invest in desperately-

needed jobs and housing, stemming inequality and ensuring no-one is left behind.

Well, this would have been the case if council leaders and their partners were willing to revisit their disastrous plans.

Sadly, instead York Central will be an alien monstrosity dropped at the centre of our fine city, packed with thousands of unaffordable flats, designed to line the pockets of millionaire investors.

Meanwhile, York Central’s economic zone will make up just one fifth of the site, an area so small there is no hope of it attracting the investment needed.

Once a site of thriving industry, we will be left with a yuppie paradise that turns its back on

local people.

The great social reformers of York’s past will be turning in their graves.

Eighty per cent of housing need in York is for family housing, with gardens and safe spaces

where children can enjoy the outdoors.

York Central’s luxury apartments are the antithesis of this.

When the average York house costs 10 times the average salary, and jobs are increasingly low paid and insecure, living in York is becoming just a dream to many.

One hundred years ago York’s leaders inspired the national introduction of good-quality social housing - we should still be leading the way.

Back then New Earswick was the blueprint of how a high-quality development could meet the needs of everyone in the community, not just the super-rich, as York Central will.

It breaks my heart when day by day, I am fighting for families living in damp or overcrowded homes, and letter after letter comes back from the council saying they do not have enough homes and cannot help.

Over the last year I have witnessed the council forcing people out of their homes when a parent has died, or a tenancy has changed.

I have seen those least able to travel being housed further and further out of town.

We urgently need more decent homes people can afford to live in and it sickens me that the council are failing to make this a priority.

As for jobs, York desperately needs investment, at scale, to reduce our dependence on the tourism industry by growing new vibrant sectors like bio-tech and digital media.

This was all possible at York Central, but the absence of a comprehensive economic plan has allowed developers to trespass on our city and put their short-term financial gains ahead of the interests of young people who want to stay and build a future here.

The consolidation of the rail sector alone could take up three quarters of the space available for business, without creating a single additional job and leaving virtually no space for any other significant economic growth.

When the current Lib Dem/Green administration had an opportunity to make the case for local people and for adjusting the plans, they just sat on their hands, making them no different from the previous Tory-led administration.

They may have been eager to sign up to a Climate Emergency, but when given the opportunity to stop thousands of cars being drawn into York’s congested city centre,

polluting the air and gridlocking the city, they were silent.

It is only Labour that will speak for everyone in York.

Creating jobs, housing and a better environment is the reason we exist.

We will continue to fight for you across every corner of our city.