Despite not adding anything to these pages for quite some time, I have as always been doing my best to keep up with what’s been occurring, and what’s planned, in York. There’s rather a lot to think about. My apologies for the tailing off again in February. After the gasworks wander I had intended to continue on to the Layerthorpe area, and new developments there, one of which is pictured above.
Despite the strange times we’ve been experiencing, construction work has continued on numerous sites large and small, and the planning committees have met to discuss and decide on applications for more developments in the future. We may have been going through difficult times, but there’s clearly no slowing down here in York. It feels like the pace of change is speeding up.
Things are opening up, but closures have been in the news too. Just as significant, in terms of what they indicate about ‘cultural shifts’, wider changes in society.
It’s hard to know where to start, but as I have to start somewhere I thought I’d assemble a list of a few things I thought were most significant.
– Bootham Park hospital has been sold, to a private developer. ‘Enterprise Retirement Living (ERL) proposes to bring the Bootham Park Hospital site back into a sustainable use as a high-quality Retirement Community.’ You can look at the plans and give your views at boothampark.co.uk. The ‘vision’ looks all very idyllic …
– Work has begun on the demolition of some of the buildings on the York Central site (previously known as ‘the teardrop’) behind the railway station. I had a walk down there recently, along part of Cinder Lane and Leeman Road. This is a major development site but personally I feel quite disconnected from it, in terms of the visions for its future.
(Shortly after adding this page, I added a couple of pages about my recent visit to check on the York Central demolitions – see Cinder Lane, the Fire House, and York Central and Leeman Road and York Central. Also see all pages tagged ‘YorkCentral’.)
– On Piccadilly, more of the low 20th century buildings have been cleared to make way for larger 21st century buildings. A new hotel block has been built next to Ryedale House.
– On the corner of Rougier Street, the former Aviva office building has been converted to a hotel. It has had an extra bit added to its already lofty height, as I noticed during the recent walk along Leeman Road, coming back towards town. The new bit is the grey bit set back a bit on the building in the middle.
– The Layerthorpe area has new large blocks of residential and student accommodation. Like in Piccadilly, relatively low 20th century buildings are being replaced by much taller structures.
– The Civil Service Club site on Boroughbridge Road (A59) has been a ‘brownfield’ site for many years. As I noticed when I passed it a week ago, clearance work has been taking place there, ready for housing development.
– Though many planning applications have been approved, the controversial plans for the ‘Roman Quarter’ development on Rougier Street weren’t approved. This was, according to the author Terry Deary, ‘The most shameful and absurd decision any committee has ever made‘. Quite a claim. I really did want to write about this, but didn’t know where to start.
– Among quite a few closures of well-known retail outlets, perhaps the most striking was the closure of the John Lewis store, at the relatively recently constructed out-of-town Vangarde development.
– The Mecca Bingo building on Fishergate has closed. Developers North Star and Grantside see it as ‘a key site for York and a gateway into the city centre’, according to a report in the York Press.
– But the most significant closure of all …
… the last game has been played at the Bootham Crescent football ground. Signs and seats have been removed, and the floodlights switched off for the last time, before demolition begins.