CITY leaders are asked to uphold a vision for York that puts residents at the heart of future plans for the city center.
York’s My City Center Vision presents the vital role of tourism in the economy, but recognizes that the city center exists, first and foremost, to serve the needs of local people.
It fixes that if the city center works best for the people and communities that live here, the visitors who support the economy and continue the shops, markets, restaurants and jobs will follow.
By creating a vibrant city center where a wide range of people want to spend time, it will create the right conditions for businesses to grow and adapt, for urban life to develop, and for cultural and social activity to thrive.
The York City Council official will be asked to approve the vision on Thursday.
It includes family events and playgrounds of the city center, ensuring no vacant buildings, opening riverbanks and creating a city for the 21st century living while celebrating York’s heritage.
The draft vision was developed through public engagement and led by the My Downtown concern group, with the York IDB, Civic Trust, and York Retail Forum among the partners.
The council then sought public views in September, including proposals on how it would be delivered.
The consultation received nearly 1,000 responses with overwhelming support for the main goals of making York’s vibrant downtown, where a wide range of people want to spend time, live and work. A place where businesses thrive, sustainable communities grow, and diverse cultural and social life flourishes. ”
There was also positive support for the 39 proposed actions.
Residents and businesses also shared ideas for further improvements, and the outline was updated.
It now includes the creation of a green space in the city center, including publicly accessible green roofs; affordable parking for residents, businesses and city attractions; more housing in the city center; and further support to independent business sectors.
Councilor Andy D’Agorne, deputy chairman of York Council, said: “Following a broad engagement with residents and businesses, this vision aims to address local challenges and shape an exciting future for our wonderful city, creating a city center even more welcoming, forward-looking and vibrant. .
“We had some amazing ideas presented that were added to the outline vision, including sustainability, affordability and more. We look forward to continuing to work with communities to advance this important work.”
Councilor Andrew Waller, executive member of economics and planning, thanked everyone involved.
“The final vision will now guide investment and shape development and improvement projects in downtown York City over the coming decades.
“Having a clear vision that has the consent of our residents and partners will leave the council in the best position to ensure future government funding and private sector investment.
“The hope is that it will improve the lives of residents and businesses and ensure the city can thrive in the coming years. The next steps will include developing an action plan with a focus on ongoing work with stakeholders and businesses to realize this vision.”
Steve Secker, President, York Property Forum, York & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “My Downtown Vision of York strikes a sympathetic balance between the different needs of stakeholders and residents who use our big city.
“The vision recognizes the need to both evolve and preserve our buildings, and the spaces between them, to preserve the city’s unique history and heritage, while also ensuring that we have the ability to thrive and grow for the benefit of all.”
Andrew Lowson, at York IDB said: “There is a lot here to be welcomed in My Downtown’s vision. Indeed, some of the proposals echo closely the work the IDB has already set in our own business plan, including the creation of more family-friendly facilities, development of new green spaces, and the importance of the budding experience economy.
“The crucial part comes next – to turn this into action. This will require strong leadership and cooperation – a key principle of location-building, and essential to York’s future economic prosperity.”
What is in the vision?
The vision is divided into eight themes, based on feedback from an earlier commitment to what people want from the city center.
1. Family Friendly Downtown
The first theme presents resources to place families in the heart of a reimagined downtown, removing barriers that have been identified by residents, and creating attractions and facilities to attract local families to the center and create a more exciting, welcoming and nutritious environment for people of all ages.
2. Event Experiences & Investing in Public Spaces
This theme seeks to focus new investment in improving existing city spaces, squares and streets by revitalizing the city’s event program and broadening its appeal, and supporting and improving the market offerings in the city.
3. Attractive City Offer Always
This focuses on improving how attractive the center is in the early evening during the week when it has traditionally been quieter, and encourages new domestic workers to visit the city after work to offset the economic effects of the center’s loss of office workers. This will also look to build on the popularity of the outdoor cafe culture that developed during and beyond the pandemic. We are also looking to manage some of the more negative impacts to the city center in busier times such as weekend evenings and to set clear behavioral expectations of those visiting our city.
4. Making Tourism Work for York
Recognizing the enormous benefits that tourism brings to sustaining our economy and sustaining our downtown area, this section presents resources designed to harness the positive benefits for our residents and communities and reduce, offset, and mitigate any negative impacts.
5. Taking Our Riverbanks
In this section we present ways in which we will ensure that our rivers are part of everyday life in the city, opening up new access roads and riverside environments and exploring their use as transportation corridors, while also focusing on river safety.
6. Downtown Community that is Welcome for All
A focus on downtown housing – the opportunities exist to create new city life and ensure the facilities and services our downtown communities need to thrive. We also explained how the center can be improved so that diverse communities and people can access it conveniently, and how we plan to improve safety for everyone in the busy city center.
7. Living Businesses and No Empty Buildings
Within this section we present measures designed to keep businesses at the center, allow them to grow and adapt, while promoting more temporary uses and making better use of vacant buildings.
8. Celebrate Heritage and Make Modern History
Recognizing how the city has always adapted and changed over time, here we reflect on how we balance our heritage environment with the needs of a successful 21st century city that supports the modern lifestyles of our communities, and how we can better use the history of the city to sustain. an exciting and culturally rich experience.
The individual measures across these eight issues present aspirational actions that the council could take, working with partners, to realize the core vision. These actions will require further work and commitment to translate them into reality.