The development of the York Central site offers a real opportunity to make significant, positive and long-lasting changes to the whole of the city of York. It is clear that any development of the site will impact hugely on neighbouring wards and so must be undertaken sensitively and with the full engagement of all relevant stake-holders and community groups.
I believe that any housing must be high quality, sustainable and genuinely affordable to local people. There must be a mix of social housing and rental properties alongside some saleable properties that give those who wish to the opportunity to get on to the property ladder.
Access to the site must be sympathetic to the needs of the existing communities and should take into account the public transport, pedestrian, cycle and vehicle needs of the site as part of a broader vision for York in the 21st century. I would like to see future-proofing of the area as we move towards low and zero-emissions vehicles and less dependency on individual cars.
York has below national average wages and so the opportunity to encourage high-quality, long term jobs to the area must also be taken. Research, education and training opportunities are vital and could replace some of those lost by the closure of the carriageworks. I fully support the idea of encouraging start-ups and business innovation and again, I would be keen to see this done within the wider context of the whole city.
In summary, the development of York Central must not happen in isolation; it must be done with the needs of the people of York at its heart and we must grasp the opportunity to make its development part of a greater vision for the type of city we want York to be going forward.