COUNCILLORS have hit back at claims that funding and planning permissions for York Central would be put at risk if the closure of Leeman Road did not go ahead.

City of York Council officers said at a meeting this week that if plans to close Leeman Road are refused by the Secretary of State, it could mean that millions of pounds' worth of funding and two large planning applications that have already been approved for the project need to be reviewed.

But Holgate councillors disagree, with Cllr Rachel Melly saying: “You would have thought that if this was indeed the case, it would have been front and centre of their argument at the public inquiry.”

They say they asked the York Central Partnership in a Freedom of Information Request if the closure of Leeman Road was linked to £77.1 million of government funding and were told it is not.

A five-day public inquiry into the York Central Partnership's stopping up order for Leeman Road concluded last week.

A spokesperson for the partnership argued that the road closure was needed for the delivery of the infrastructure and for the two sides of the National Railway Museum to be united in future.

They said the closure would increase journey times but that alternative roads, a walkway and cycle route would be created.

But Holgate councillors Rachel Melly, Kallum Taylor and David Heaton spoke out against the plans. They said the museum's expansion does not yet have planning permission and that the closure is not necessary for the York Central development to go ahead.

More than 1,400 residents signed a petition objecting to the road closure, which led to a public inquiry being held to examine the plans.

Several neighbours spoke at the inquiry, with a spokesperson for the residents of St Peter’s Quarter saying the plans would isolate households from the city centre and the disadvantages of the road closure outweigh the advantages for people living in Leeman Road.

The inspector concluded the inquiry, saying he will prepare a report and recommendation for the Secretary of State by the end of May.

A decision on the stopping up order will then be made by the Secretary of State and published.