They included: ‘Homes for living, not investment’; ‘People, not more cars’ and ‘A community made through exchange’. We’re now working with York Central Partnership and City of York Council to make these ideas a reality on York Central.
In this meeting we will be working with Ian Gray, Director York Central Partnership to explore:
the York Central development timescale
how community-led development can engage with the master development structure being developed at led by York Central Partnership
how much space there is for us to work with and how to develop plans in relationship to the outline planning consent
how to move forward the more ambitious ideas to create an economic, social and physical structure that enables distribution of resources and enables genuinely affordable homes and a vibrant community
the kind of group and/or constituted structure we need to form to carry the ideas forward
Big Idea: Actively reengineer the inequities in York’s economy and society for redistribution of resources to respond to need and desire.
The connections between people/society and the neighbourhood establish what the economic flows are in each case (someone needing a social rent house, someone needing a workplace for a profitable company)
The place in which the buildings sit is as important as the buildings as it provides the connections between them, and also connections to the surrounding city
Homes are not investments, but people can individually or collectively invest in the neighbourhood
The neighbourhood includes everything including all profit-making stuff
Institutions and the community-led body can together target specific needs or opportunities which will support the vability economic model (affordable accommodation for staff, visitor accommodation for heritage/theme tourists)
There was a wide-ranging discussion. Here are key themes:-
Ebbsfleet, much bigger scheme than York Central. Trying to design communities where they don’t have cars.
An area purposefully left with holes so it can be developed to enable future development. That would be a real USP. Gaps = the anticipation of change over time.
Proposing rather than opposing:- instead of a road through the site (to prevent overloading of Holgate Road and Bootham) could we bring a tram / Very Light Rail route through it, linking the Park & Ride to the city centre via all the new housing sites (British Sugar site, Manor School site and York Central) reducing traffic so a through road isn’t needed?
How to deal with emergency services and deliveries. We must be able to design a pedestrian / cycling surface that can take emergency vehicles. Birmingham City Centre is a good example, large city centre deals with pedestrians and deliveries.
How to deal with affordability, as part of an intervention in housing inequality?
Marmalade Lane appears from the promo video painfully white and middle class.
Need to explore whether/how businesses might invest in affordable houses – one way to ensure the staff they want can live locally
Do we need to buy land and set up a Community Land Trust in order to create an asset lock?
It’s not for the faint-hearted.
But is that socially exclusive? Some people have got multiple jobs and don’t have time to get involved in community-led initiatives.
Part of this is recognising inequality – of money and time – but that all people are contributing in different ways, which are mutually beneficial.
Relationship between York Central and York City Centre
What about empty shops on Coney Street? Could there be residential in the city centre? Important not to have two different parts of the city that don’t speak to each other. Could we think of York as having lots of mixed areas that echo each other (rather that different areas that specialise in work / shopping / leisure / living)
It’s also about the Leeman Road area and community. Edible York has its apple store in Leeman Road and if there was a community kitchen in this area then could make chutney.
National Railway Museum / University of York connections
NRM – future of the railways. Recruitment and knowledge base of skills. Schools, GP practices, infrastructure. Put health centre near the station.
NRM – the main decisions are made in London. Really hard to get an interface with them. Has to be about connection, need that otherwise there will be a missing sprocket.
NRM – it shouldn’t feel like their aims conflict with our aims, how can it be one shared project? Maybe the conversation with NRM should be “how can the community help them achieve their objectives?” Things have moved on since Festival of York Central conversations.
University of York, VC – need to ensure there aren’t parallel worlds. Does the university provide a bit of a lever there? Needs to be driven together.
A new plan / a new model
We need to propose not just oppose.
The other option (to seeking help from NRM/CYC or UoY) is to just to do it. Draw up a new masterplan. Use Power to Change Seed money. Feasibility. Give it credibility. (It’s like wearing a high viz jacket:- no one asks you what you’re doing, you can just get on!)
Neighbourhood Plans? Ask Locality – Can you do a Neighbourhood Plan in a neighbourhood that doesn’t exist yet?
An anecdote that might be encouraging – residents for Lowfield Green, they’ve become a community even though they haven’t yet got a neighbourhood. Someone under pressure asked for help, and they all offered it. There is a Cameraderie. Community is not just about bricks and mortar.
Setting up the model for housing for Lowfield has already been very difficult. But we need to think about how they will think about it in 10 years time.
Is this just a little bit or the whole site? Things are developing so fast in terms of community-led in the development world, York Central Partnership might just be quite grateful.
Strong consistency of vision between the discussions tonight and the My York Central conversations. Make the most of this.
Land position? Ian Gray (Project Director) is focussed on how to set up the overall finance for the scheme, over next 30-50 years. This is designed around deciding what’s wanted on the site and how best to set up funding to enable it.
Do an alternative plan? Financial plan; spatial plan. Do a pilot proposal for a specific area. Start small but all the concepts are included in the neighbourhood. Use this as a building block. Make it modest and deliverable. Don’t sell it as an enclave, sell it as an approach which can be replicated across the site.
Research: Find relevant examples
Funding: Power to Change; Locality – what funding options? Who is applying for funding? Depends on the funds. Could be a loose model.
Neighbourhood Plans: Look into whether they might be useful?
Link with Neighbouring communities: We have contacted Leeman Road Residents Association.
Set Up Co-Owned York Central Group
Aaaaand… …we need to think about a name as “Co-Owned Neighbourhoods on York Central” is a bit of a mouthful. Just to kick off discussion:-
Next meeting in 13th January, 6.30-8.30pm, and will be held on York Central itself in the cafeteria at the Cinder Building, off Cinder Lane (YO26 4XD). All vry welcome!
The York Central Masterplan emerged from a process that took over three years (for just the most recent version – many recall proposals from fifteen years ago or more). There was conventional “consultation” on key early masterplan elements and access route, followed by My York Central process March 2018 onwards which included a five week Festival of York Central. The Masterplan formed a basis for an outline planning application submitted in August 2018. The application was approved by committee in March 2019.
The York Central Masterplan retained a number of key ideas from the original design proposals pre-dating the My York Central process: – a linear green space running through the site, a public square between the station and NRM, and closure of Leeman Road to allow expansion of the NRM. It included up to 2,500 new homes and creation of up to 112k m2 of office, leisure and retail floorspace.
The My York Central vision and eight big ideas were developed through public engagement in March – August 2018 resulting in around three and a half thousand Post-It notes collected and scanned, uploaded to Flickr and tagged to create a searchable database of public input. This open and inclusive process continued with public workshops to develop and refine the final My York Central Vision document, the Key Principles which underpinned it and the My York Central Big Ideas.
Fascinating questions arise from the intersection of the big ideas:
• How can we create an intergenerational circular economy?
• How can people downsize and use capital to invest in stuff which enriches neighbourhood and their lives?
• How can we make use of York’s inequality for good; How can we help York’s hidden creative industries flourish?
• How might the mixed-use neighbourhood of the future be more like the past than the present?
What would a mixed-use neighbourhood mean to me? Post-Its collected and clustered to identify key issues for the discussion in the final part of the workshop.
Looking for inspiration
There were two presentations to generate questions.
TOWN – Neil Murphy on the making of, and ten key lessons from, Marmalade Lane. A partnership between a creative developer and a co-housing group making a humane, much-loved neighbourhood.
Citu – Chris Thompson presentated on the Leeds Climate Innovation District. Innovative construction which provides training and employment, and co-ownership of public realm and energy networks.
Questions and answers, and further notes on Post-Its were added for discussion in the final session of the workshop.
York Central Partnership and Homes England
We then heard from York Central Partnership and Homes England.
Ian Gray (YCP project director) – Outline consent gets the project where it needs to be at this stage, and allows engagement by developers and finance partners. But it’s a starting point. Community engagement can shape it from here.
Helen Fielding (HE Leeds office) – Homes England have funding through Community Housing fund and other routes and are keen to support community-led initiatives as part of delivering the homes which the country needs.
The workshop then split into three discussions to explore different possibilities and approaches.
Tim Moon – collective custom build – What does custom build / self build really mean – how dirty do people get their hands? How do we do custom build at scale and where are there examples? How do we reconcile different expectations into a streetscape which works?
Imelda Havers – Yorspace and People-Powered Housing – what is Yorspace about and how is it going about building forever affordable housing? What legal bodies are needed and what are their different purposes? How will Lowfield Green happen and how might Yorspace be involved in housing on York Central?
Irena Bauman – Built InCommon and very local design & construction – how did we give up the process of actually building homes and let it become remote from us? How can innovative use of technology re-connect people with the homes built for them? How might flying factories create local training and local businesses?
Clustered Post-Its were set out on tables and everyone invited to join one table and take the issue forward. Aim was to ask:-
• What questions does this issue raise?
• Who do we need in the room in order to get answers and move forward?
• What are the immediate next steps we can take?
Identity is established at the beginning and confirmed at the completion of a project? Or does it form over the lifetime of a project as the community forms?
Identity can be based on history and heritage – which is more likely to be industrial or social than residential – but should also look forwards.
Identity should be organic and broad, not contrived.
Identity should speak to the broader community.
What does sharing actually mean – what are the shared places? They can vary from mainly private space which is occasionally shared, to the completely shared such as a common house or pub.
York Arts Centre (on Micklegate, now a bar) was a good example of shared space, available for all sorts of uses and appreciated by the community.
Communities tend to form around income groups – shared spaces are important as they allow these groups to mix.
Mixing Need to provide for groups which have social value – for example students remaining in the city and starting up businesses, generating economic activity. Start-up space has value.
New community spaces will have value to broader community beyond site boundaries – need to build bridges (literally as well as metaphorically.
We could bring water onto the site to create social space – the river isn’t far away.
The importance of the site should be acknowledged by all – especially the major partners (including the council) who should really think to the future.
Play is important in respect of intergenerational relationships – stuff of life gets done and is an opportunity for links between generations.
Good things can come out of chaos – name the killer hit single which was born in a pristine recording studio. Not advocating “designing in crack dens” but we should ensure there is some sort of chaos, some unformed places.
Haven’t heard the word “renting” – we need to retain student talent and their lives often don’t need ties of ownership. Can we provide this innovatively? For example intergenerational living and working – mixed neighbourhoods. If these are sufficiently dense and walkable then care provided for all works for the older residents too.
Play isn’t just for children – public realm is an “anchor tenant”.
Ownership High cost of acquiring land makes innovation hard, and makes affordable homes hard to provide.
“The council need to speak to each other” – silos need to be broken out of. Innovative thinking is needed and innovative partnerships are part of this.
Connections Connections with the past – “identity often comes from past transport and infrastructure”.
Need to open up connections with other parts of the city – create routes through the site but ensure these are not about traffic – don’t make them “normal roads”.
First step should be to revisit the public vision for the development, and see how the declaration of climate emergency allows for fresh conversations with highways and planners.
Wild space can make people happy and healthy – and also save money.
The proposed park is an own goal by being overly curated – we need natural urban space.
We should be creating wild places where kids can explore. But we can also grow food in cities.
Can we make York Central invisible from space? Can we make it better than carbon neutral, and can we make it so diverse “that it pumps out life-forms across York”?
The Next Steps
There was agreement that it was vital the community should be engaged in the development planning process right from the start. How do we do this? Should there be one participative community that acts both to monitor overall direction of the development and engage much more actively in aspects of it? What sort of body is most appropriate to carry forward the community’s involvement? Is it a loose, non-membership body where the consistent elements are the ideas/issues/proposals or is there a role/need for a body which brings greater individual/institutional commitment – some sort of “pioneer group” which is effectively the beginnings of a client body, representing the users of the new neighbourhoods?
There was much discussion about the need for a mixture of tenures. How do we establish what we need to ensure this happens?
There was a wish for the development to have outdoor space of all sorts – some to foster group activity, some to grow food, some to be full of wildlife. Who needs to be involved to make this happen? How can we think about bringing water onto the site? How do we ensure that re-thinking aspects of the approved outline planning consent is done with support from York Central Partnership?
We need to work out what sort of commercial space will work well and bring social value, and how York Central can become a place where creative industries thrive. How do we build links with the universities and other partners to develop a brief for this and make it happen? And more broadly, how do we ensure we have all of the necessary people “in the room”?
A lot of people stated that the development should be car-free. Since the masterplan was developed, York has declared a climate emergency and the most recent election / council power shift has potentially opened the door to reconsideration of the development’s response to transport issues. Can these be looked at in a coordinated way between the council (members and officers), local groups (such as Civic Trust Transport Group / York Environment Forum / YCC etc) and interested individuals?
Thursday 28th November 2019
Friargate Quaker Meeting House, Lower Friargate, York, YO1 9RL Book a place
Our York Design Week event identified a range of issues – from sharing to wildness – and collective discussion of these flagged up a number of initial steps on the path towards a community partnership that could shape York Central and create homes, work, culture and play there. This event will look at these steps and we’ll start working out…
– what sort of body should we establish to carry this process forwards?
– how can we work towards a range of types of housing and tenures on York Central?
– how can we shape wonderful, wild, open space in an urban environment?
– how do we bring on board partners who will connect York’s amazing education and culture with learning, creativity and work?
– how can we ensure the development responds to the climate emergency and zero-carbon commitments which York has made?
Come along and collectively take this forwards. An evening of sharing of ideas and knowledge, planning and setting of goals. If you’re new to York Central and the community’s vision for it, then take a look here.
The Collaborative Hustings led to cross-party agreement for a Citizens’ Assembly for transport to create long-term and cross-party consensus. In getting there the Hustings was structured to move from small scale everyday issues like potholes to overarching aims such as creating a happy city where everyone belongs – but what proved really sticky was what happens in the middle scale in terms of putting ideas into practice…
On 24th April council candidates from all four major parties gathered with 25 members of the public to experiment with a collaborative approach to local elections hustings.
The motivation for experimenting with a collaborative approach in York arises from the fact that council leadership often changes between election cycles and therefore many issues – if they are to be addressed long term – need cross-party co-operation; a point that was noted by some of the candidates.
We chose an issue that everyone agrees is urgent but long-standing:- traffic congestion. We knew there were potentially differences between the parties in terms of the nature of the issue and how to address it, but also that there was plenty of scope for common ground. Traffic congestion is also a very knotty issue with only vague geographic and conceptual boundaries (it connects to health and economy). It is also an issue which has a lot to do with individual people’s actions – and so needs to be addressed collaboratively between the council and citizens.
The approach we took was to see if we could move from the everyday issues each of us experience in our movement around the city to overall goals for movement in York. We asked a spokesperson from each party to respond from the perspective their party and then we sought areas of agreement.
Starting specific: Everyday issues
We began by sharing a journey we do regularly, working together to pull out and note the issues. We then quickly clustered them on the wall. Key issues were: potholes, congestion, air quality; disappearing bike lanes; Park and Ride buses not stopping on their way into town; Pedestrians feeling as though they are at the bottom rather than top of the hierarchy of users.
Explore fundamental purposes: Overarching goals for movement in York
We then distributed each of these clusters to a group to use a ‘7 whys’ approach to get to fundamental purposes. This is where the idea of going from potholes to human happiness comes in. You – a bit like a toddler! – ask ‘why’ seven times to try and get from specific to really articulating why something is important, what its values are.
Our example of the technique was…
Park and Ride buses don’t run late in the evenings. (“why is this important?”)
People can’t get back to their cars after evening theatre or cinema or similar events (“why is….”)
People will drive into the city centre or more likely simply give up on it as a place to spend the evening (“why is…”)
The city centre gets left to those who are living and sleeping there – mainly tourists (“why is….”)
People who live on the periphery of the city cease to feel involved in and invested in the city centre (“why is….”)
The city centre quietly dies and people in the outer parts of York don’t care
All of which leads to an over-arching goal – We want a transport system which means the whole city belongs to everyone
A series of fundamental purposes – of goals – for movement in York were identified.
But what proved a bit tricky: questions of implementation
However, it was clear that going through the ‘7 Whys’ was a far from easy process. Many groups got understandably caught up in the fourth or fifth layer of whys which often focused on the difficulty of how to address a specific issue. This was so instructive and illuminating. In York it isn’t that we don’t have well-articulated overarching purposes that are shared between parties. For example, One Planet York; Human Rights City and now Zero Carbon. But what is very tricky, and is the real work of local politics, is the translation of these commitments into practice.
Perspectives from the political parties
At this point we asked each spokesperson to reflect on the issues from the perspective of their party.
The spokespeople were Cllr Peter Dew (York Conservatives); Cllr Andy D’Agorne (York Green Party); Cllr Johnny Crawshaw (York Labour Party) and Cllr Stephen Fenton (York Liberal Democrats) and you will be able to read their statements here soon [currently waiting for them to be approved].
Areas for collaboration: How to build a legitimate vision; translation into policy; levers for change
As the spokespeople were talking we asked everyone else to listen very carefully for areas for collaboration. These were the areas for collaboration that emerged:
There was a shared cross-party commitment to run a Citizen’s Assembly on transport. The shared motivation for this was to take these very difficult issues out of the back and forth of party politics and create legitimacy for a shared long-term approach.
Proactively shape conversations with funders
There was a sense that having this clear and cross-party vison would allow York to develop a common voice in approaching funders. For York to decide what the city wants and base funding approaches on this, rather than simply accepting external priorities.
Responding to the difficulty of the middle level of the issues – the implementation – there was an agreement to explore the effective use of Supplementary Planning Guidance and the forthcoming need to produce a new Local Transport Plan. Both were seen as possible direct outcomes of the Citizens’ Assembly.
Citizens Assembly ‘Plus’: Building collective understanding and change
There was a shared interest in ensuring everyone in York understood the issues – the need to understand behaviour (for example “why do people make specific journeys in the way they do?”) and the role of education in bringing change were discussed.
Our reading of this – not something agreed at the event – was that this could be something to link to the Citizens Assembly and a way of potentially stoking both its legitimacy and capacities for making change. The vague boundaries of traffic congestion imply the need for broader deliberation, and the long-term nature and likelihood of change over time mean the conversation needs to be long-term. A Citizens’ Assembly would be a very positive way forward, but even better might be a Citizens’ Assembly Plus a connected citizen-driven framework whose broader work gives the Citizens’ Assembly greater capacity and insight.
In preparation for the My Future York Collaborative Hustings we’ve gathered together links to the four main parties political manifestos in one place. All have sections focused on transport and movement.
Hustings are usually a combative affair. This local election season in York, can we create a more collaborative approach? Join us for the My Future York Collaborative Hustings.
In the My Future York Collaborative Hustings we plan to reframe hustings – or, in fact, tap into its more ancient meaning. While today ‘hustings’ immediately evokes a series of candidates making speeches and answering questions for an audience, its arcane use, from Old Norse, is ‘an assembly for deliberative purposes’.
For the 2019 Collaborative Hustings we have chosen a specific issue facing York: traffic congestion. While there are significant differences between political parties in how we might tackle traffic congestion, there is cross-party and wide spread public recognition that congestion is an urgent issue. It’s also an issue with only the vaguest of boundaries, touching on transport, urban planning, environmental issues and the nature of our city centre – it’s much broader than a single manifesto issue.
Traffic congestion is also an issue that cannot be fully understood or simply fixed top down by politicians. It is linked into everyday experiences, actions and choices made by all of us who live in York. It is, therefore, an issue that we need to address collaboratively.
We’ll start the hustings by collectively identifying the key issues which contribute to creating traffic congestion and then coming together to map out the issues, seeing how they might connect and identifying where the leverage points for change might be. We’ll then ask candidates from all parties to talk about how they might respond to these issues and leverage points and look for the commonalities in approach. We will then work together – councillors-to-be and citizens – to set out how all of us can contribute to putting a long term collective approach into practice.
My Future York have been involved with Bootham Park Hospital site by working with City of York Council and One Public Estate to develop a relatively brief public engagement programme. Our work is generally longer-term and embraces the establishment of an open conversation by building a brief, exploring the challenges which it throws up, and then making change together to ensure public/private investment is matched by community-led change and animation.
With Bootham Park Hospital, given the time constraints imposed by the pause in the disposal process, we have focussed upon building a community vision for the possibilities of the site – incomplete and in some areas conflicting – but bringing a context which reflects both lingering anger over the loss of Bootham Park as a hospital and the plans to sell the site as well as the many positive ideas that have been shared as part of the process.
We ran a one-day event on site on 27th October in partnership with Coaching York, and preceded this with networking and site visits with a number of groups and individuals who brought specific skills, understanding or agendas for change. We have also incorporated into our briefing notes below all input via post-its on the consultation exhibitions at York District Hospital, West Offices and the Citadel, plus those from other events such as the Save Bootham Park Hospital evening event and the Guildhall ward meeting. Furthermore, we have incorporated input given via the online questionnaire and social media.
We have used this information to identify the issues which were seen as important and to build links between them where this is helpful. This is not a vote – there is no attempt to count “for” and “against” comments in relation to any issues, but where there is strong feeling this is noted.
We published them here as a draft – reflections and further comments welcome. We’ll incoperate all comments we recieve before 6th December.
As part of the My Future York project, Helen Graham worked with York Travellers Trust and with, Carrieanne Eddison, Denise Lambert, Lorraine Mulvenna, Debi White, Christine Sheppard, Kally Smith and Kay Tate to develop these articles.
Gypsies and Travellers are widely recognised as a significant ethic and cultural group in York. The 2015 floods which affected James Street brought an enormous amount of solidarity and support for the gypsies and travellers who were forced off their site. As one of us, Kally Smith puts it, ‘the whole city came together’.
Yet changes to national legislation have the potential to negatively affect the future of York’s gypsy communities. In August 2015 planning guidance changed the definition of Gypsy and Traveller to remove the idea of a cultural identify, ‘persons with a cultural tradition of nomadism or living in a caravan’. Since the new policy came into effect, this has meant that to be recognised as a Gypsy or a Traveller for planning purposes you had to be only temporarily settled. This has had serious implications for planning for the communities’ future through the Local Plan.
With the Local Plan final public consultation now closed, through four short ‘in conversation’ articles, we explore different aspects of past, present and future life for York’s Gypsy and Traveller communities.
The national policy changes and its implications for the Local Plan has raised the question of how York – a Human Rights City – can be proactive in enabling the city’s Gypsy and Traveller communities to be fully recognised as a cultural group. It also prompts us to ask some broader questions: How can we ensure all of the city’s communities and their ways of life are planned into the city’s future? How can the way we understand the city’s heritage to be expanded beyond our buildings and archaeology to include living culture and ways of life?
You can read the four different conversations here:
My Future York has been asking people about an ideal day in their lives in 10 years time to build bottom up a vison for the future of the city – here we explore summer days on the road and possibilities of co-operatively owning and running sites.
Lorraine: I like having a base, if I was a wealthy person I’d have a base but I’m not so we’re on a council site. But I like to go away. We’ve got horses and a wagon. They can’t stop you. What they do now is put stakes at Appleby time, on the main road sides. Or they’ll cut the grass verges so there’s no grazing. We need more sites with 15 + slabs to enable communities to live together and so it’s not lonely.
Lorraine: In ten years’ time I’d like the children, with grandchildren, to be anywhere on the James Street site. I’d like to use stopping places in the summer months. It would be nice if you could go to sites with grass and with an electric box to plug into. Ideally there would be a transit site in every town. Once upon a time in my mam and dad’s days there was common land wherever you went. You might want to spend the summer somewhere on the road sides. There would have to be an infrastructure for your rubbish.
Kally: You won’t want to go and leave your site just to go to another transit site. It’s more about travelling up and down the roads and pulling on the roadside. Five years ago we travelled, we went to Bridlington, big playfields near the swimming baths and spent two weeks there. It brought it all back. That had been our life.
Helen: Imagine that it is the summer…
Lorraine: I might go down to Cornwall to a transit site there. In the ten years’ time I’d want to be back to the site for the winter. On James Street, the site has been raised up, with bigger sheds and everything is pleasant. They’ve also extended us a bit, we could be up to the hedge and the beck.
Kally: On James Street in ten year’s time, there is no-one on top of one another, there are larger fences for a bit more privacy.
Lorraine: In ten years time, the Council are still running James Street, because the Council are better off owning Gypsy sites than privately-owned because if sites are privately owned we end up with a dog’s life. Owning the site ourselves might also be an option. If I own my little patch. Everyone owns their own plot, if you want to.
Kally: I want to be on the James Street site with the same families, so that the children can take over the family slab. We’d like to be able to pass the slabs on, we’d like to have control over that.
York has become a Human Rights City. This means positively celebrating and enable flourishing of all York communities. If you’d like to support York’s Gypsy and Traveller communities, join the Human Right’s City pledge.