Labour is calling for a clear economic vision for the York Central development, to show how the commercial space on the site will be used to benefit the city’s economy for generations to come.
Current outline planning permission states nothing more than the site having commercial space of up to 112,000 sq. metres, some of which is intended for grade A offices. However, there is an absenseof an economic vision for York Central, an absence of any economic appraisal for the site and an absence of an occupier strategy that reflects our city’s values and aspirations.
Councillor Claire Douglas, Labour’s spokesperson for the economy, argued for a proper economic vision at an Executive Decision Session last week. She said that inaction means the site could fail to rebalance the city’s economy and achieve its potential for all York residents.
Cllr Douglas said: “We’ve called for Councillor Waller as Executive Member to prioritise getting various stakeholders together through a focus group, including businesses, councillors and officers, to work on a shared vision of what we want to see York Central bring to our city. The current hiatus allows for this and it should be made a priority.
“The current approach of simply allocating commercial space and seeing what happens isn’t going to cut it and won’t deliver the transformative rebalancing of the economy that York so desperately needs.
“We’ve also called specifically for the council to develop a comprehensive occupier strategy that builds on both the focus group work and that of TalkYork and the MyYorkCentral consultations. This will enable views from all sides to contribute to a vision for the commercial element of York Central.
“And additionally, we need the economic appraisal for the site that has so far been missing. How can we be promoting the site to would-be occupiers if we don’t know its potential or exactly what our vision is for the site? This will have a huge bearing on whether or not a business wants to locate to the site. It will also allow us to identify the types of businesses we want to encourage onto the site. We want to see those who will bring good quality, well paid jobs and contribute to the economic health of all our residents.
“An appraisal would test the social, economic and environmental costs and benefits of the site and better inform us of what we can achieve for our city from York Central. Our view is this is not just another large site to be developed; it’s different due to its size, location and transport links. This must be capitalised on if existing residents and future generations are to benefit, which they absolutely must do”.