Bold plans for £10m riverside walkway and bridge would ‘renew’ York city centre

A bridge could cross from Coney Street to the gardens on North Street. Photograph: YorkMix

Council plans to build a riverside walkway behind Coney Street have taken a step forward – with cash put aside to look at the proposals.

The project could see a walkway created along the north east bank of the River Ouse and a bridge built from the rear of Coney Street to North Street Gardens, according to a council report.

And City of York Council has now been given funding for a feasibility study to look at turning the plans into reality.

The feasibility study would look at “establishing the deliverability of a riverside walkway scheme along the north-east bank of the River Ouse within York city centre and a bridge to North Street Gardens, supporting the renewal of Coney Street and the support for long term economic prosperity of city centre, exploring mixed use, exploiting riverside and responding to early feedback from My City Centre and Castle Gateway,” according to a council report.

It says the authority has been handed £65,000 by North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership to look at the plans – and at a separate project to make the business space planned for York Central as environmentally-friendly as possible.

Buildings face both ways

The riverside walkway would go behind Coney Street. Photograph © Google Street View

The report adds: “Covid-19 has accelerated the changes that high streets, towns and city centres were facing in terms of changing shopping habits and behaviours, whilst also giving rise to growing societal support for a green recovery.

“Both feasibility studies are in tune with this new reality and are important for the city’s economic recovery from the pandemic.”

The council is asking government for £10 million to create the walkway in a devolution deal – saying Coney Street buildings could become “dual facing” with entrances at the back of the buildings allowing new cafes, restaurants and shops to open.

The local authority bought the building occupied by Holland and Barrett on Coney Street for £2.796 million in December 2019 – saying it could be used strategically to “influence future developments”.

It has also been suggested that goods could be delivered to the city centre by river – in a bid to cut the number of delivery lorries.