Leaders from across the region’s businesses, public
bodies and organisations have come together to send the below open letter to the Government demonstrating the
overwhelming support for a new Government Hub to be based in the city.
letter summarises the unique position of York as the ideal location for a second
city of Government – combining excellent connectivity and burgeoning ‘new
economy’ businesses looking to grow, alongside the available York Central site.
letter has been signed by key business leaders and organisations from across
the city, including Greg Dyke, Chair of Make It York, Keith Aspden, Leader of
City of York Council, Dame Mary Archer DBE, Chair of York Central Partnership
and both of York’s MPs, Rachael Maskell and Julian Sturdy.
letter calls for further detailed discussions with Government to discuss
planned proposals and take the opportunity forward – highlighting the huge
support from both York’s business community and residents for a move which
would be transformative for the city.
The letter is included in full below:
York as a New Hub of Government
We are writing in response to the Prime Minister’s request to
Whitehall that it submits proposals to relocate certain government departments
out of London, his confirmation that he would like to see a Government Hub in
York, and the possibility of moving the Houses of Parliament to York during the
renovation of the Palace of Westminster.
We would like to express our strong support for any such move,
which we believe would have overwhelming public support especially in York and
the surrounding region, would play a major role in delivering the government’s
national levelling-up agenda, and would be a very significant economic boost
for the North.
We also believe York has the ideal available site, in York
Central. York Central is a 46-hectare brownfield site, the same size as the
Kings Cross development. It is currently largely in the ownership of Network
Rail and Homes England, and is immediately adjacent to York Station, itself
just 1hr 48 minutes from Kings Cross. It is one of the largest such sites in England
and its strategic importance has been recognised with the award of Enterprise
Zone status. The economic impact of the York Central development was originally
estimated at £1.16bn in additional GVA. We believe it will be very
significantly higher than that now. The Allies and Morrison Masterplan has
secured outline Planning approval, and the required £155m infrastructure
funding is approved and now only awaiting the detailed accessing information
from Treasury. In short, it is ready to go.
As well as the direct economic impact of any significant move of
central government facilities, such a move would be transformational both
economically and in terms of public perception.
The unlocking of the York Central site would allow sufficient
space, alongside government offices, for York’s burgeoning Creative Tech and
Biotech sectors to expand. York is already home to the Quantum Communications
Hub, a collaboration between leading research universities, private sector
companies, and the public sector focussed on the (highly topical)
commercialisation of secure communications technologies. The University of York
also hosts the Institute of Safe Autonomy which is developing autonomous
technologies for both land and air vehicles. Both these “future economy” Tech sectors
need the business space and facilities York Central can provide if they are to
maximise their huge potential for UK Plc.
Additionally, York is home to a rail innovation community with a
growing reputation for innovation and the city has an unrivalled breadth and
depth of rail expertise with over 5,500 employees and 100 rail related
companies represented in the city.
York has a growing Biotech economy in which it has genuine global
strengths and enormous growth potential. With all the benefits that come from
the short lines of communication in a city the size of York, the key players:
amongst many others, the University of York, FERA Science, and the sector’s
(largely) SME businesses themselves, can build an R&D, and economic and
supply chain ecosystem which, with the right combination of facilities, will
deliver a pipeline of new Biotech businesses and the space for them to grow
from initial concept stage to economically significant commercial scale. Given
the nature of many of these businesses, and with their focus on deriving value
from biowastes and by-products of agrifood supply chains, and developing
high-value chemicals and advanced fuels from plants and microbes, they also
further the government’s carbon reduction priorities and the region’s
aspirations to become the UK’s first carbon negative location (as part of the
ongoing devolution conversation).
Finally, beyond all the historically compelling reasons for York
retaking its place as a second city of government, as is evident from the signatories
overleaf, a government move to York and the associated unlocking of the York
Central site has huge public and business support across the region, for which
we are all committed to help support with a positive campaign.
After 50 years of development deadlock, this is the opportunity
for the current government to be heralded for making it finally happen!
We would welcome any opportunity to meet to discuss this further,
either in London or in York, and can of course provide any further information
you might like to see in the meantime.
Keith Aspden, Leader, City of York Council
Dame Mary Archer, DBE, Chair, York Central Partnership
Sir Peter Hendy CBE, Chair, Network Rail & London Legacy
Greg Dyke, Chair, Make It York
David Kerfoot MBE, DL, Chairman, York and North Yorkshire LEP
Roger Marsh OBE, DL, Chair, Leeds City Region Enterprise
Professor Charlie Jeffery CBE, Vice-Chancellor, University of York
Professor Karen Bryan OBE, Vice-Chancellor, York St John
Rachael Maskell, MP for York Central
Julian Sturdy,MP for York Outer
Dr Andrew Swift,Chief Executive, Fera Science Ltd
Andrew Digwood, President, York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce
Lee Probert, Chief Executive and Principal York College
Tim Whitaker, Chief Executive and Principal Askham Bryan College
Simon Morritt, Chief Executive, York Teaching Hospital NHS
Stephen Lusty, Chair, York Civic Trust
Jonathan Bryant, Secretary & Chief Executive, York
Carolyn Frank, Development Manager for Federation of Small
Businesses North Yorkshire – On behalf of FSB York
Michael Hjort, Chair, York BID
For further information please contact:
Katie Parsons, Corporate Communications
Amy Goodman, Consumer
Notes to editors:
About Make It York
Make It York’s purpose is
to develop and promote the city and its surroundings – nationally and
internationally – as a vibrant and attractive place to live, visit, study, work
and do business. Its mission is to grow the economic prosperity and wider wellbeing
of York and its citizens. In practice, this means delivering a range of
projects and programmes based around our four corporate strategic
priorities. These are:
positioning and profile-raising
Investment and network building
an exciting city centre
the city’s ground-breaking Cultural Strategy