This afternoon I had a walk up Haxby Road, heading out of town, to the site where building work has started on the new mental health inpatient unit, the facility to replace Bootham Park Hospital. I’ve been up here before in recent months, but there wasn’t much to see in terms of new structures then. There is now.
It was quite startling, and a pleasant surprise, to see so much progress. Steel frames showing the shape of what will occupy this site, a brownfield site, where a factory used to be.
It’s a long time since this piece of land has had so many people working on it. The place was busy, noisy.
As with Scarborough Bridge, the subject of the previous page, this is a place I’ve covered a few times before, and something I’ve followed with interest. I’ve walked up here a few times over recent months, and looked for signs of work starting.
Around seven weeks ago, 23 Oct, I took a photo from the site entrance on Haxby Road, of signs of some activity here:
And here’s a view from the same gate (slightly different angle), this afternoon:
Looks like progress.
The application was approved a year ago, December 2017. Site clearance took place earlier this year, with retained trees fenced off, and the ground being dug out. I have photos of this too, but they were rather too dull to make a page around. So it was good today to see the steel structures lit by winter sunlight, the framework of a much-needed building, here by the Foss.
The more I walk by here the more I think that it’s a perfect site for the new mental health facility, in terms of its surroundings, its setting. Partly because it’s between the old Rowntree bit of the city (factory and sports facilities) and the Rowntree village of New Earswick — a landscape that has a legacy of caring, and social conscience, not exploitation for profit. And with the Foss behind it, and a green tree-filled area to one side of it, sports facilities to the other side.
Once you reach it, heading out of town straight up Haxby Road, it’s possible to walk back towards town via two pleasant scenic routes, routes I’ve travelled often.
Either across the road, through a field next to the New Earswick nature reserve, then back via the cycle/pedestrian path on Bootham Stray, or staying on the same side, walking a short distance to the handsome wooden sign and an opening in the fencing pointing the way back along the Foss Walk.
Either route back takes you through green space and past trees old and new.
Some very new trees have just been planted on land by the Foss, alongside the new mental health facility. They have been planted for the children born in York this year.
It will be a while until the framework of the new facility is filled and fitted out (2020, apparently, not 2019 as originally planned). It will be a while until the slim vulnerable saplings grow into big sturdy things.
It’s a hard time of the year and many of us struggle with it, and it can be hard to see hopeful things and be hopeful. But the walk today was a cheering thing, and sharing cheering things is the good part of this thing we call the internet, so I’ll finish with a photo of proper in-your-face sunshine, on the walk back home, late in the day, on Bootham Stray.
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