MAJOR redevelopment schemes in York WILL go ahead despite the city failing to get any of the £25 million of levelling up funding it had applied for, council bosses insist.

The plans - which include a 'world class public space' to replace the Castle Car Park at the Eye of York, a new Haxby Railway Station, and regeneration of Coney Street and the York riverside - are NOT wholly dependant on levelling up funding, the council says.

The regeneration of Coney Street and the riverside is a private initiative by the Helmsley Group. The £10 million of levelling up find the council applied for for the project would have been used for 'public realm improvements' that were not a central part of the plan.

The £5million applied for for the Haxby Railway Station project, meanwhile, would have been to provide 'active travel links' between the new station and surrounding communities, rather than for the station project itself (see panel).

The council also applied for £10 million to provide 'public realm' improvements for the Castle Gateway project.

The masterplan for the multi-million pound project includes closing the Castle car park to create a 'world class' public open space around Clifford's Tower; a pedestrian and cycle bridge over the Foss; new flats at Castle Mills on Piccadilly; and a new multi-storey car park at St George’s Field.

York Press: Illustrative view of what a new public space at Clifford's Tower may look likeIllustrative view of what a new public space at Clifford's Tower may look like (Image: Planning documents/ supplied)

Plans for the public space at the Eye of York were formally submitted in February last year. But last July The Press reported that almost £3.5 million had already been been spent on the project without a spade being lifted.

The council, meanwhile, has still not made its mind up whether to build a new multi-story car park at St George's Field. The Castle Gateway page of its website says: 'A decision on the replacement car parking strategy that will allow Castle car park to close is due in summer 2023.'

The failure of the £10 million levelling up bid to help pay for 'public realm' improvements as part of the Castle Gateway scheme is a blow.

Quizzed by The Press, the council said it may consider a bid in the next round of levelling up funding once it had received feedback on its failed bid.

Council leader Keith Aspden stressed the authority remained committed to all three projects - Castle Gateway, the riverside regeneration and Haxby Railway Station.

"Regrettably the Government has not recognised that York faces some serious challenges and shares with other areas across the North of England the need for targeted investment in the city’s future," Cllr Aspden said.

"Nevertheless, we remain committed to moving forwards and delivering these transformational projects.

“The projects continue to make progress, and following this announcement, we will be reviewing the business cases and looking at all available options.

“Other internal and external sources of funding will be considered, following which a report will be taken to the council’s executive to agree the next steps."

But Cllr Claire Douglas, the leader of the Labour opposition group on the council, accused the authority of 'putting all its eggs in one basket'.

“The city centre is in real need of investment," she said. "Putting all their eggs into the basket of Government funding, even when the council was told funding was highly unlikely, has proven to be completely the wrong decision”.

Haxby Railway Station

City of York Council has already committed more than £4million to plans for a new Haxby railway station at Towthorpe Road. It hopes central government will fund the remaining £12million needed.

York Press: Artist's impression of what a Haxby Railway Station may look likeArtist's impression of what a Haxby Railway Station may look like (Image: Submitted)

The £5 million of levelling up funding the authority applied for but has failed to get would not have been for the railway station itself, but to 'improve active travel links and accessibility to the new station for surrounding communities'.

Any government funding to build the station would come from the government’s Restoring Your Railways (RyR) fund, an entirely separate funding pot.

Depending on RyR funding announcements and the outcome of a planning application, the council says it hopes work on the new station could begin in about one year, with the new station opening for passengers later in 2024.

The failing of the £5 million levelling up bid for active travel links could be hugely important, however - as it would have made the station more accessible to those who might want to use it.

A report to the council's executive last October said that, in a consultation, 83 per cent of the 1,200 people who responded said they 'would likely use Haxby Station to one extent or another'.

Nevertheless, as reported in The Press, many people in Haxby say they would prefer a site closer to the York Outer Ring Road than the one proposed at Towthorpe Road, because it would be easier to access.

Claire Douglas, the Labour opposition leader on City of York Council, said: "With no funding for active travel routes to Haxby Station, the threat is residential streets in the village are turned into a giant car park."