York Central is a project to transform under-used land in York city centre into residential neighbourhoods, cultural spaces, and a commercial quarter. The project is a collaborative partnership between Homes England, Network Rail, the City of York Council, and the National Railway Museum.
An exhibition and virtual consultation on the plans will be held at the museum until 3 November. Residents of the city and museum visitors will be invited to comment and provide feedback on the plans. The consultation process follows a recent decision by the Secretary of State for Transport to approve the stopping up of Leeman Road, which is a step forward for the wider York Central scheme and will facilitate the building of Central Hall.
Central Hall will provide a new welcome space and gallery for the museum. It will be located between the museum’s Great Hall and Station Hall, and will unite the museum buildings. It is a cornerstone of Vision 2025, which is the museum’s five-year plan to transform its displays and become the World’s leading railway museum. Vision 2025 also includes a new “Wonderlab”, that aims to inspire children to think like engineers through experience, interactivity, and play.
Central Hall will also feature a gallery showcasing the latest innovations in rail technology, a café overlooking the new museum square, a shop, event space, and new visitor facilities.
At the heart of the design is sustainability, with environmentally friendly design principles and materials that are in keeping with York’s rich railway history and the surrounding area. EV charging points and cycle racks will be provided on-site to encourage sustainable travel.
Information and a survey on designs for the project can be found at railwaymuseum.org.uk/centralhall or in Station Hall at the museum until 3 November. Members of the museum team will be on hand to answer questions and explain the plans at the following times:
- Wednesday 27 October 2021 – 14.00–16.00
- Saturday 30 October 2021 – 10.00–14.00
- Tuesday 2 November 2021 – 17.00–19.00
Following analysis of all the feedback from the consultation process, a planning application will be submitted in the coming months. The project is expected to be complete by 2025, which will mark the museum’s 50th Anniversary. The leading architect on the project is Feilden Fowles, who won a UK-wide competition in 2020.
Judith McNicol, Director of the National Railway Museum, commented: “Central Hall is just one aspect of our journey to embed our museum in the heart of our community. We are excited to share the latest plans for the new building, which follow the principles agreed in the outline permission for the wider York Central site. This consultation helps provide further detail about the plans to unite the Museum’s estate as never before and deliver Vision 2025.
“It’s really important that we gather feedback at this early stage in the process so that the plans can evolve to offer as many benefits to our neighbourhood and to our visitors as possible. “These plans will provide a massive economic boost to York and the wider area, acting as a stimulus for a wide range of other businesses too.”
Greg Dyke, Chair of Make It York and York Central Strategic Board commented: “The improvements to the National Railway Museum, through the Central Hall project, will enhance York’s cultural development and provide a catalyst to the whole economy of the city and beyond. It will help to create a national museum that we can be proud of in York and across the country and assist to inspire and educate future generations in technology and the significance of railways across the world. Central Hall will act as the gateway to the transformed galleries and spaces and be the cultural heart of York Central.”
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