Opposition mounts to York Central road plans – as residents, politicians and business leaders object

Leeman Road tunnel. Photograph © Google Street View
2 Jul 2020 @ 7.54 am
| Transport

Residents, business leaders and politicians from three parties have united in their opposition to close Leeman Road and other major transport changes as part of the York Central development.

More than 50 objections have been lodged against the infrastructure planning application.

The application for the next stage of the project includes new roads, segregated cycle routes, footpaths, extra bus routes and a bridge over the East Coast Mainline.

Part of the plans would see traffic wait to go through the Marble Arch tunnel – which will add to congestion and increase pollution, say the city’s Conservatives.

Under the York Central plans the Leeman Road tunnel will be reduced to a single carriageway for traffic, with a one way system controlled by traffic lights.

Conservative Group Leader Paul Doughty said: “With the Lib Dems spend on the York Central development looking increasingly over budget and out of control and even a fallout with the Greens over the project, costs must be looked at.

“Plans for the tunnel are a cost that actually makes things worse. It will be seen as anti car, discourage much needed city centre visitors and is a further barrier for city businesses.”

Car-dominated

Cllr Paul Doughty

Labour MP for York Central Rachael Maskell has written to the council outlining many serious concerns about the infrastructure plans.

She writes: “Local opposition to the plans for Leeman Road, which are an integral part of these plans, is very strong.

“At a time when many York neighbourhoods are taking proactive steps to reduce car use and create living streets, these proposals will create one new car-dominated neighbourhood, whilst also threatening to create more traffic, pollution and noise in neighbouring communities.”

Labour councillors Cllr David Heaton and Cllr Kalum Taylor write: “Instead of looking at improvements to how people travel in and out of the city, we’re left with choosing which parts of the city should be brought to a standstill over others.”

As we reported last month, the York Green Party also oppose the ‘car-dominated’ scheme – pitting them against the council’s Lib Dem-Green coalition leadership.

Royal Mail fears delays

Royal Mail are objecting because the construction and new road layout would have a ‘serious impact’ on their Leeman Road sorting office operation.

It says the proposals could impact its statutory duty to deliver mail as quickly as possible.

The York Environment Forum Transport Group says: “This development as currently envisaged completely fails to produce an appropriate 21st century transport solution to fitting such an intense development into the heart of York, thereby failing to meet the transport objectives in the Local Plan ‘To reduce pollution, noise and the physical impact of traffic, by restraining growth in the use of motor vehicles’.

“It also thereby misses a major opportunity for a world class exemplar of low
traffic development.”

And many residents have also objected to the plans. One, Sarah Hodge, writes: “I’ve lived here for 23 years and the green has been a place where I’ve played, climbed trees, explored and now where I walk my dog.

“It’s a beautiful peaceful area which is perfect for a walk.

“To place a road through it is absolutely ridiculous, not only will it ruin the area, it will cause so much traffic and pollution which simply isn’t needed.”