A new public square dedicated to the Queen and featuring a life-sized statue of Her Majesty – that’s the remarkable plan unveiled by York Minster today
The first public square in the city for nearly 200 years is one of the proposals in the emerging draft Neighbourhood Plan for the York Minster Precinct.
Queen Elizabeth Square is part of a wider city initiative to improve Duncombe Place at the Minster’s west front by creating a new civic space for York and a ceremonial space for the county.
Other plans include:
- a new café and outdoor seating on the south side of the Minster
- a new ticket office and welcome centre for visitors
- a dedicated cycle path at Deangate allowing for safer segregation of cyclists and pedestrians
- a sensory garden with access to the ancient city walls
- improving storage capacity and back of house facilities for the Minster’s operations.
The new square will be pedestrianised and landscaped to provide a pleasant seating area for visitors, creating a comfortable and safe protected space where people can gather for major events such as Christmas markets and other activities.
Access for local residents, businesses and the taxi rank will be retained.
A life-sized statue of the Queen, will be installed on one of the empty niches at the front of the Minster.
Honouring her long reign on the throne, the statue will be carved by a stone mason from the Minster’s internationally renowned Stoneyard.
Phase 2 of the plan will focus on enhancements in education and learning with investment in the Minster School and the Old Palace to make it a centre of excellence for education, learning and as a museum space.
Last May, York Minster launched a public consultation on the future development and use of the buildings and land within the Minster boundaries.
Altogher 290 responses were received and the feedback was used to develop and refine the proposals in the Neighbourhood Plan published today.
Alex McCallion, director of works and precinct at York Minster, said:
The future of the Minster Precinct is hugely important to many people, particularly to those who live and work in the neighbourhood.
The draft Neighbourhood Plan has become the catalyst for one of the most significant and exciting civic improvement projects anywhere in the country.
This is a tremendous opportunity for the city of York to create an outstanding and accessible new public square that draws people to the space and is sympathetic to the city’s history and heritage.
See the plans
Alex McCallion said the York Minster Precinct Neighbourhood Forum has been set up “to ensure that any proposals are viable, sustainable and appropriate for the precinct and the local area”.
Chaired by local resident Mark Calvert, the forum is now 39 strong and will ensure the Neighbourhood Plan is community-led.
The Neighbourhood Plan proposals will be available for public view and comment at a two-day exhibition event in the Minster’s South Piazza on Friday 17 and Saturday 18 May from 10.00 am until 5.00pm. The proposals will also be available online until midnight on Sunday 16 June.