PLANNING approval has been granted for a new public square in York.

The square at York Central has been granted approval by City of York Council.

The site, behind York Railway Station is one of the largest city centre brownfield regeneration sites in England, with some parts of the 45-hectare site restricted to rail uses for more than 150 years.

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Reserved matters planning approval was granted by City of York Planning Committee on Thursday (February 8), subject to conditions. This decision approved the submitted plans for detailed access, layout, scale, appearance and landscaping in respect of the first piece of new public realm at York Central. 

The square will link York Central to the back entrance of the railway station and to the front of the National Railway Museum. 

Leon Guyett, Director of Regeneration Partnerships (York), on behalf of Homes England and Network Rail, said: "This is a major step forward in the creation of York Central. We’ve gone to great lengths to make the design inclusive, accessible and safe for pedestrians and cyclists, while improving lighting, seating and planting. Approval for this next section of the scheme is a real positive step in building out the York Central vision.  

 “We’ve listened to what people wanted and worked closely with multiple design and planning teams to incorporate feedback from public engagement and specialist groups. Some great ideas were suggested that have not been possible in this section of the scheme, yet we are keen to try and accommodate these elsewhere on the site, where appropriate.”  

It will consist of a large, hard surfaced area with areas of soft landscaping to create shade and shelter. It will also include seating, lighting and wayfinding with opportunities for public art also under discussion.   

Plans for the Square at the York Central development were submitted for approval by Homes England and Network Rail Limited on behalf of the York Central Partnership at the end of July 2023. The granting of planning permission for the Square is the latest positive step at York Central. It follows on from the announcement of McLaren Property and Arlington Real Estate as preferred developer partner in December, coupled with the submission of a reserved matters planning application for the Government Property Agency for a proposed Government Hub.   

York Central will also provide up to 2,500 homes, at least 20 per cent of which will be classed as 'affordable', create over 1 million sq ft of commercial space for offices, retail and leisure and provide a significant boost for the local economy with potential to create up to 6,000 jobs.