Earlier in the month City of York Council’s planning committee approved the National Railway Museum’s (NRM) proposed development across Leeman Road. This was despite strong opposition. It was a very close decision in the end and it only went through because the chair cast his deciding vote.
For anyone cycling between the Leeman Road area and the city centre their only route will be right around the museum – using a route that is double the distance, won’t necessarily be gritted in winter and will likely feel unsafe after dark. The only other alternative is the riverside path, but this is subject to flooding and does not feel safe at night. Once the central hall is open, we’ll be able to walk through the museum, but not if pushing a cycle, and only during opening hours (set by the NRM) and we’ll have to battle with hordes of visitors.
All the way through the planning process, it has been clear that the Council is putting the commercial interests of the NRM above those of the local community, a point that was even made by the inspector at the public inquiry into the Leeman Road Stopping Up Order.
The cycle campaign have objected to the proposed design from the outset and engaged with the council and museum to suggest how the building could be designed to incorporate a direct, safe and accessible pedestrian and cycle route 24/7, every day of the year.
Local citizens are not prepared to give up the fight, and now a team of residents led by Paul Clarke, a resident of St Peter’s Quarter, are taking legal action. They have been consulting with a Leeds-based firm of planning lawyers, Walton & Co. They believe that York citizens have grounds to have the decision overturned through a judicial review. The first stage will be a pre-application letter to the Council and the NRM, as third party, which is being sent tomorrow.
However, it’s a costly process but this will be our last chance to get the decision overturned and put pressure on the Council and the NRM to retain a direct, safe route along Leeman Road for pedestrians and cyclists, available whenever we need it. York Cycle Campaign supports this legal action.
Can you help fund the legal action?
The ability to proceed will depend on being able to raise enough funds. Initially at least £5,000 needs to be raised to help cover the costs of the first stage. There will be a steady increase of legal costs as the process proceeds, with a need to raise further funds.
The team of residents have set up a crowdfunding page to receive donations. All the funds from this page go directly to the legal costs. I know that times are tough, but any donation you can make will help. Please spread the word to neighbours, friends and family.
Thank you for helping fund the fight for justice for the Leeman Road Community.