A community centre to help people with drugs and alcohol next to Lendal Bridge in the city centre of York has won the backing of council planners.

The planning committee of City of York Council is recommended to approve the ‘York Recovery Hub’ when it meets next Wednesday.

City of York Council has submitted a planning application concerning The Hub Station on Wellington Row, which was originally  an electricity substation when it was built in the early 20th Century.

The council seeks a change of use to the building on the west bank of the Ouse, which was previously used as a drop-in centre/ exhibition space with ancillary office space, before being vacated in September 2022. There would be no change to the fabric of the building.


A report prepared for the meeting next Wednesday says the York Recovery Hub would help people with substance use disorders better “enter, establish and sustain recovery.”

The building would host activities to support social connections, health and well-being, employment, host mutual aid group meetings and offer counselling/therapy. The hub would open daily from 7am to 10pm.

The report noted police concerns over the scheme as it “might attract a criminal element looking to pray on vulnerable service users and/or it being a draw for crime and antisocial behaviour.”

The sheltered area under the bridge may see loitering groups causing a problem for passers-by.

York Rowing Club objected to the application, which is why the scheme is coming before councillors, saying some of their own members are ‘vulnerable’ and the station may affect its amenities. The club also criticised a lack of consultation.

But the council has received 67 letters of support from the wider community.

“York in Recovery provide an essential and life saving service to a marginalised and stigmatised group in our city. The recovery hub prototyped at the CVS has proven how impactful it can be for a community group to have physical space, and this space will allow the group to have a proper home and just get on and continue to do the incredible work they already do.

“A recovery hub has been planned for the last 10 years and this application represents a long overdue and much needed resource for the recovery community,” said supporters.

Assessing the issues, the report confirmed the ‘Recovery Hub’ would provide a permanent home for the organisation who currently provide drop is sessions at various premises, including the three Recovery Cafes at Clementhorpe Community Centre, Acomb Garth Health Centre, and St Bedes Pastoral Centre every week.

The organisation was well supported in the community, with backing for it having a permanent home. Council funding was understood to be in place for four years, after which it would need to become self-funding.

Recommending approval, planners noted the hub also supports government aims for social and recreational facilities and services to improve health and social well and would not harm amenity.