York Minster’s trailblazing approach to planning for the long-term future care of the cathedral and its surrounding Precinct has received overwhelming public support.
Following a majority vote at a community referendum of all residents on the electoral register within the Minster Precinct Neighbourhood Area, the Minster’s Neighbourhood Plan will be adopted by City of York Council as part of the statutory development plan for the city of York.
As well as carrying significant weight in the determination of future planning applications within the designated Precinct, the Neighbourhood Plan will provide a 15-year route map through a policy-led approach to create a sustainable future for the Minster and its seven-hectare estate.
Delivery of the Neighbourhood Plan will signal the biggest programme of planned works at York Minster and within the Minster Precinct Neighbourhood Area in 150 years.
Alex McCallion, Director of Works & Precinct at York Minster, said: “We are thrilled about the referendum result and extremely grateful to everyone who voted.
“This is the first time a Neighbourhood Plan, prepared by the York Minster Neighbourhood Forum, has been used to map the future care of a cathedral or heritage estate. It sets out an ambitious masterplan to sustain and enhance the cultural significance and environmental value of York Minster’s Precinct and its buildings through specially created planning policy.
“The Neighbourhood Plan is crucial in not only meeting the ongoing restoration challenges we face but ensuring the Minster and its Precinct continue to flourish for generations to come. Sustainability sits at the heart of its aims for the next 15 years, specifically around three core strands of environmental, financial and heritage craft.”
Significantly, the Neighbourhood Plan will allow the Chapter of York to bring forward ground-breaking changes within a heritage estate at the York Minster Precinct.
Key projects include the Centre of Excellence for Heritage Craft Skills and Estate Management, the creation of new visitor facilities, a new public square and enhanced public realm and green spaces as well as a new discovery and learning centre, and museum.
Alex added: “The approach to our Neighbourhood Plan has been truly community led and will inspire others to follow as we become an exemplar for how heritage estates address not only their own futures but the wider challenges that they face, such as climate change.
“It is also enabling residents and those who work within the Minster Precinct to have a positive role in shaping the future of the area in which they live and work.”
Mark Calvert, Chair of the York Minster Neighbourhood Forum, said: “We have worked collaboratively with key stakeholders, including City of York Council and the local community to develop this Neighbourhood Plan. We are appreciative of their support and will continue to take a partnership approach as the Neighbourhood Plan is implemented and makes a positive impact on the community and wider city.”
The Revd. Canon Michael Smith, Acting Dean at York Minster, added: “On behalf of the Chapter of York, we are delighted with the result and the culmination of four years of work creating a bespoke planning policy document, against which all future planning applications in the Precinct will be determined. I would like to thank all members of the York Minster Neighbourhood Forum for their support, as well as everyone who voted to adopt the plan. This is a major milestone in securing a sustainable future for the Minster, and we look forward with excitement to continuing to work with key stakeholders and the local community as we progress with our vision.”