Developers behind the ambitious York Central scheme say they will build more affordable homes than the minimum 20 per cent requirement.

York Central is a 45-hectare mixed-use development site behind York Railway Station that will have 2,500 homes built on its brownfield land.

Initially, developers planned to build just 20 per cent of the homes as ‘affordable’ – meaning at least 20 per cent below market value – which Cllr Kallum Taylor previously said was a “woeful” aim.

But developers updated one of the City of York Council’s planning committees on Monday, March 18, telling members that the proportion of affordable houses would be higher than 20 per cent.

Tom Gilman, managing director of one of the developers McLaren Regeneration, said: “We want to deliver more than 20 per cent affordable [housing] and we’re working with a well-known registered provider within York who has expressed an interest in a substantial amount of affordable housing.

“We’re working with Homes England on the funding of that.”

Mr Gilman said he “can’t give too much detail” but “we recognise the issues that York faces” when it comes to affordable housing.

According to the Labour-run City of York Council’s plan for its four-year term in administration, the average cost of houses in York is at least 10 times the average earnings and rents increased by 10 per cent between 2021 and 2022 in York.


It reads: “For many people in York, housing is either unaffordable or demand for good quality homes outstrips what’s available.”

Cllr Martin Rowley said the added homes that York Central would bring would be “vital for the city”.

But there have also been concerns by other councillors that the development is taking too long to get off the ground.

Cllr Christian Vassey compared York Central to a similar development in Heidelberg, Germany, called Bahnstadt, which was initially planned at a similar time but was completed in 2022.

Mr Gilman said: “We’re working with the council to bring forward that application in 2024 with a view to getting on-site next year.”

Steven Hind, from Network Rail, said that the site has been “very difficult” to free up because it was operational railway land meaning “the land wasn’t there to develop straight away”.

He added: “It’s taken a lot of effort from the council, Network Rail, Homes England and the National Railway Museum all working together to try and free that land up.

“We’ve now got probably 80 per cent of it free which now allows a phased development that we’re now starting.”

David Warburton, the council’s head of regeneration project delivery, said: “I appreciate there’s been a long time period to get us to this point, but we can only deal with what we’ve got to bring this forward with pace.”