York St John University has withdrawn its offer to buy Union Terrace coach and car park from City of York Council, although doubts still remain over the council’s future plans for the site.
The on-going saga, last featured in CBW997, had seemed to be running to a close after the council agreed to keep ‘some’ coach parking facilities and sell only ‘part’ of the park to the university, despite no complete assurances.
After taking part in a consultation, the University has now said it needs to reconsider its proposal to expand on the site after bowing to pressure from a petition signed by more than 22,000 people.
The CPT previously told CBW it had been working closely with the council to ensure the coach park remained at the site as there were no suitable alternative sites for coach parking earmarked by the council.
A later proposed alternative site, which was prone to flooding, raised serious questions over whether the council understood the significance of coach tourism to the city’s economy.
Professor David Fleming, vice-chancellor of York St John University, said: “We will now work with the council and other stakeholders in the city to develop alternative plans to ensure York St John University is able to build on its success and continue to be an important economic driver.”
Councillor James Alexander, Labour leader of City of York Council said: “Whatever people’s views on the suitability of the site, the university’s expansion would have provided a real boost to the city’s economy, providing local jobs and contributing an estimated additional £31m into the economy each year.”
However, the council has made no formal commitment to stop the re-tender of the site to another bidder in the future.