Airspeed building: Cabinet meeting

The Airspeed (Reynard’s garage) site was discussed at the City of York Council Cabinet meeting on 7 January. The meeting is now available to view on YouTube.

Gwen Swinburn, Denise Craghill and Dave Taylor are speaking in this clip, cued to start at the relevant point:

Watch extract from agenda items 1-4, City of York Council, on YouTube

Alternatively, if you’d prefer to read it, the full text of

Denise Craghill

Dave Taylor

speaking to cabinet. Reflecting the views of many residents who have commented online, on this site, in Press comments and letters, on Twitter and Facebook, etc.

the Green Party believes that the Council holds public assets in trust for the people of York and that the priority in each case when disposal is considered should be to provide the greatest benefit for York residents, not simply the highest capital receipt to the authority.

– Denise Craghill

The Leader’s comment in The Press that “this site would most likely become a four star hotel” worried me greatly, as it seemed that the process was being undermined. It also puzzled me as the hotel industry has been saying for over a year that there is over-capacity in the market.

– Dave Taylor

Gwen Swinburn raised concerns that there were no background documents provided, ‘virtually no information for the citizens or other members of the council to consider’, said she would be seeking clarification on certain aspects, and concluded ‘we need to have a lot more information available to us, and I wish you would do that.’

Responses to the above:

Cllr Dafydd Williams states ‘No decision has been taken but we do have to try and maximise our financial interests.’

This link is cued to begin at the relevant point:

Agenda item 12 extract: discussion of Airspeed/Reynards site

He’s followed by Council leader James Alexander, who states that he hasn’t seen or been involved with any of the bids, and that he ‘didn’t want to prejudice’ the bidding process. But we know what James Alexander thinks of the Airspeed/Reynard’s building, or at least what he thought a few months ago.

Cllr Tracey Simpson-Laing then reminded us that we’ve in the past demolished buildings of a similar period/type, as if this somehow justifies demolishing this one.

Cllr Janet Looker says ‘You can do an awful lot with a nice tasteful plaque’. (? Surely all you can do with a plaque is attach it to a wall or other structure.)

Several speakers in this meeting refer to ‘reflecting the heritage’ of the site in some way.  A plaque on the wall of a new hotel, presumably.

As Dave Taylor mentions, Alison Sinclair is approaching English Heritage to have the building listed, for its historical associations.

And finally – those mysterious criteria no one could get hold of. According to the information eventually obtained and quoted by Denise Craghill, the scoring system used:

40% to price, 30% to benefit to the economy, 15% to deliverability and only 15% to community value. No specific scoring was allocated to heritage value.

I think we all knew already that they’d decided price was the most important factor. But I wonder how York residents feel, knowing that ‘community value’ gets a measly 15% and heritage value is completely absent?

Comments welcome, as always.


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One comment

  1. I wish i knew what ‘deliverability’ meant in this context…. or, indeed, any context.

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