City councillors have refused plans for two retail pods and other changes at the entrance of York Station.

LNER had sought the changes including glazing the frontage as part of a package of renovations, which the railway operator says will complement the already approved Station Gateway Scheme.

Members of City of York’s Planning Committee supported the idea of renovations but they baulked at the suggestion of the retail pods saying they would harm the setting of the historic station.

However, LNER, who manages the station, says the pods are needed to make the renovations viable.


At the meeting, LNER’s managing director David Horne said the proposed changes, including the pods and a new glazed area at the front of the station, would solve many problems.

If the portico remains open, pigeons will keep roosting and making a mess, and there would be more rough sleeping and anti-social behaviour, which took up a lot of time from his staff and transport police.

Earlier disability campaigners Flick Williams and Anne Norton said they opposed the planned changes as removing vehicular traffic from the front of the station would double the distance people would have to walk from taxis. There also wasn’t enough seating.

York Press:

Flick Williams believed the retail pods could be left unlet and Anne Norton said the proposals had ‘multiple accessibility failings.’

However, Tim Hedley Jones of the Railway Heritage Trust backed the plans, saying the use of railway frontages change with the times, his group would give money to LNER to help fund the renovations, which would restore stonework and remove the unsightly canopy at the front.

Mr Horne further explained that removing the traffic was to happen anyway under the approved plans for the Station Gateway, which would prove an ‘impressive entrance’ to the station. Removing the canopy would reveal nine arches creating “a more dignified entrance.”

Historic England had removed its objection, and if approved the entrance could be restored “to its original glory” in time for York Station’s 150th anniversary in 2027, he added.

York Press:

In the probing that followed from councillors, Emily Nelson doubted the need for the retail pods, saying the station had many other places selling coffee.

Cllr Chris Steward felt the changes would improve the experience of station users.

Cllr Tony Fisher said he had no issue with the proposed glazing, adding the front of the station can get extremely cold. His ‘main worry’ was the pods which were “not an asset to the setting of the building.”

After members voted in line with officer recommendations to oppose the scheme, planning committee chairman Cllr Jonny Crawshaw noted there appeared support for the principle of an enclosed space, should LNER revise plans further.

Either way, he added current plans will see the front area paved in York Stone and its use “changed anyway.”