City of York Council (CYC) has pledged to be “more proactive” in kick-starting development work in the city.

Katie Stewart, head of economic development at CYC, told a Built Environment Networking event on ‘York General Development Plans 2014’ at the city’s Guildhall that CYC will be “more proactive at working with industry”.

Stewart said: “We have a very ambitious plan for growth going forward. We want to be facilitating and getting stuck in, working alongside landowners and developers.”

Stewart said CYC will look to strengthen the city’s position as a national centre for the rail, biotechnology, insurance and professional services industries.

Clients Network Rail, the University of York and Lend Lease also addressed the event about their major development plans for the city.

Mike Stancliffe, development surveyor at Network Rail, said the client plans to release the first plots of land for its long-awaited mammoth 35 hectare mixed-use scheme York Central later this year, with a view to construction starting next year.

The four organisations also discussed their development plans and strategies in more detail –


City of York Council (CYC) projects that by 2030 the city will need to develop 164,000 sq m of commercial space and 1,250 homes per annum. The current backlog of homes is 4,000 affordable homes and 5,000 new homes. CYC is currently consulting on extending its local plan, with two major housing sites being considered at Whinthorpe and Clifton Moore. The local plan currently comprises 21 employment sites and 61 housing sites. The consultation period ends on 16 July.


  • CYC is working on the final stages of viability for the redevelopment of the former British Sugar site, with potential for around 1,200 homes.
  • CYC is working with the University of York to encourage commercial development at its Heslington East campus, where 25 hectares is set aside for commercial uses. The two organisations are also working together on BioVale, a proposed cluster of biorenewables research and industry uses.
  • CYC has vacated the city’s Guildhall complex, which will be redeveloped as a creative, media and arts complex.
  • Vangarde Shopping Park, a £90m retail and leisure development at Monks Cross, anchored by John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and Next is being developed. The retail and leisure elements will enable a new community stadium to be built on the site, with a start on site expected early in 2015, to complete the following year.


CYC is looking to build on the decision of insurer Hiscox to locate its biggest UK office outside of London in the city centre by attracting other major commercial occupiers. Work on the Make-designed office for 500 people will start by contractor BAM this month (July).


York Central is a 35 hectare brownfield development opportunity next to the city’s railway station. The site is 90% owned by Network Rail. The development will comprise one million sq ft of space, including a 80,000 sq m central business district and over 1,000 new homes. Network Rail has completed construction of the first phase, a £36m rail operating and training centre.


  • A phased site release programme will commence from this year with a 375 unit residential scheme on the 10-15 acre former Leeman Yard and 5,000 sq m office opportunity to be made available first. It is hoped construction will start next year.
  • Network Rail has started to produce indicative phasing plans for later phases.


Commercial development is planned to the east of York Station, with mixed-use and residential development planned to the west. Network Rail hopes to use the York Central development as a catalyst for improving York Station itself and also the National Railway Museum.


The University of York is a university of 15,000 students and covers an area of 180 hectares. It is split across two main campuses, Heslington West and a newer under-development campus, Heslington East. At Heslington East 55% of available space has either been built out or already allocated for development.


  • The university is planning rolling redevelopment of its Heslington West campus and is prioritising redevelopment of the Sciences zone and Derwent College over the next ten to 15 years.
  • In the biosciences and environment zone, the university is planning to develop a new environment building to complete summer 2015, replacement teaching labs to complete summer 2016 and a 7,000 sq m research wing to complete summer 2019.
  • Other developments being brought forward include a new teaching building on Heslington West and a teaching and social building on Heslington East.
  • The university is in consultation with the city council about plans to develop on a further 23 hectare plot of land south of Heslington East to enable further expansion in the longer term.


The university is keen to grow its student numbers and is planning a “future for growth”, according to John Meacock, director of estates and campus services at the university. The university is constrained by the poor quality of many of the buildings on its Heslington West campus. It is currently developing “a credible and sequential plan for redevelopment” of this campus. Meacock said few of these buildings will be refurbished: “When you do a cost benefit analysis it doesn’t make sense to refurbish them. We’re looking at wherever we can to demolish and replace these buildings.” The university has to maintain a low development density of 23% at Heslington West, as stipulated by the council.


Lend Lease is developing out Hungate, a 4.1 hectare housing-led scheme within York’s city walls. The developer won outline planning permission in 2008 for around 720 homes and 80,000 sq ft commercial. It completed the first phase of 164 apartments in 2010. The scheme is a joint venture between Lend Lease and Leeds-based developer Evans Property Group. Within six to nine months the joint venture will submit an updated masterplan for approval to the council.


  • Lend Lease is bringing forward £25m phase two, comprising 195 apartments. Site remediation works begin this month (July) with a contractor for the main works to be appointed imminently, to start on site in September.
  • Lend Lease is currently working to lodge plans for phases three and four of Hungate soon. Phase three will include development of a new square, St John’s Square, and amenities.


Lend Lease wants to create a “vibrant coffee bar scene” at Hungate, according to Richard Cook, head of residential at Lend Lease.