City centre play areas for children; new performance spaces at the Eye of York; pedestrian bridges across the Ouse and Foss; and an evening city centre ‘café culture’.

Just some of the ideas to transform York city centre over the next ten years and beyond outlined in a major city council ‘vision’ document released today.

Other suggestions contained in the ‘My City Centre’ document include:

  • Better public toilets
  • New riverside walkways at Coney Street and Castle Gateway
  • Covered markets and arcades, so that visitors can still enjoy the city centre in bad weather
  • More ‘experience-based attractions’ such as escape rooms and mini-golf
  • A ‘York gift scheme’ to encourage tourists to contribute towards the cost of looking after the city centre
  • Events held more widely across the city centre, at places like the Eye of York, rather than always just in Parliament Street
  • Aiming for ‘purple flag status’ to boost the evening economy

York Press:

My City Centre is all about making York a 'better place for people to live, work and enjoy', says the council.

The ‘My City Centre’ document has been produced following extensive consultation with local people that began in early 2020 and continued for 18 months. Many of the ideas it contains come from suggestions made by local people and businesses.

Completion of the ‘vision’ was delayed by Covid. But the council is now giving local people until September 30 to have a say.

It is organised around eight 'themes':

  • A family friendly city centre
  • Events and public spaces
  • The evening economy
  • Tourism
  • York's riversides
  • A welcoming , accessible city centre
  • Business
  • Heritage

You can read the full document, and have your say, at

A final, reworked version of the document will then go to Executive for approval on November 18.

York Press:

A proposed footbridge over the River Foss linking with Piccadilly

No budget has yet been set aside, but the council says funding streams will be developed once the vision has been finalised. "The council will also bid for Government funding and will work closely with city partners to achieve the vision,” a council spokesperson said.

The document will be used to guide the development of the city centre over the next ten years, the spokeperson added.

“The vision will be delivered over a 10 year period, working in close partnership with key city stakeholders, partners and businesses (including the BID and Make It York), as well as private developers such as the Helmsley Group who are working up proposals for the riverside walkway at Coney Street.

“The vision will give York the best chance of success in future funding bids to continue to invest in and allow our city centre to thrive.”

The aim of the consultation, the council says, was to look at how the city centre can be ‘made a better place for people to live, work and enjoy’.

“We want to create a vibrant city centre, and a city centre that can adapt to change,” the document states. “The most important aspect of this, is people. People create the noise, soul and life of a city, and crucially, the captive audience for businesses to thrive.”

Launching the document today, council leader Councillor Keith Aspden said:

“As all cities across the country, York is facing big challenges - from changing consumer behaviour and transformation of our high streets, recovery from the COVID pandemic, growing environmental challenges and much more.

“My City Centre places the voices of our residents and businesses at the heart of our response to those challenges. This is an incredibly exciting time for York."

York Press:

'This is an incredibly exciting time for York' says council leader Keith Aspden

Deputy leader Cllr Andy D’Agorne added: “The changes facing our city also present us with opportunities to shape our future, creating a city centre that is even more welcoming, forward-looking and vibrant.

“This vision encompasses the views of our residents, seeking to address local challenges and shape an ambitious and exciting future for our city. I would encourage residents to engage in this ongoing conversation and make their voices heard.”

Andrew Waller, the council’s executive member for economy and strategic planning, said there had been ‘lots of insightful and helpful feedback…from residents and businesses on what they want our city centre to look like in the future’.

He added: “This vision sets an ambitious and positive approach to making the city centre a space for everyone to enjoy. The final vision will guide investment and shape development and improvement projects in York city centre for decades to come.”