York Central is the most significant urban expansion in the ancient city of York’s modern history and currently one of the largest development projects in the UK. At 46 hectares, radiating from York’s railway station and railyards, the site is a very large expanse of brownfield land immediately adjacent to the city’s historic core.

York is an important cultural, academic and economic centre in the north of England. It is also a historic place with settlement dating back to Roman times, and a pattern of Medieval buildings and urban fabric that survives today. The masterplan thus builds on this character, its ‘Yorkness’, to shape a new compact urban extension. The site has been shaped by the railways for more than 150 years and this aspect is also an important part of the proposals. Heritage will be brought to life through the revitalisation of historic railway buildings, a new central gallery for the National Railway Museum and a new railway park.

The masterplan defines a collection of distinct, yet complementary, places: a new urban core to the west of York Railway Station; a museum quarter containing the enhanced National Railway Museum, the main cultural anchor for the site; as well as new neighbourhoods – Cinder Yards, York Yard South, Park Street, Foundry Village and Leeman Yards – each characterful and varied. Lined with new housing, a new Great Park will span the length of the teardrop-shaped site, framing views of York Minster. Care has been taken to design new connections with surrounding communities, which are focused on sustainable transport whilst also knitting new development into the existing fabric of the city. There will also be significant investment in infrastructure, with a new western railway station entrance and platforms, enabling HS2 and the Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) to connect with York.

The project aims to deliver up to 2,500 new homes, up to one million sq ft of new Grade A offices and hotel use and up to 6,500 new jobs. This is an ambitious project that will influence both York and the wider region in the north of England, providing a framework for sustainable urban and economic development. A complement to York’s medieval walled city, the overall plans for this site respond to local needs, establishing a flexible framework for a piece of city that whilst largely new, will emerge in ways authentic and familiar.


York Central Partnership
Project partners
Homes England
Network Rail
City of York Council
National Railway Museum
Engineering and infrastructure
Landscape architect
Gustafson Porter + Bowman


46 ha