The first phase of a public consultation that will contribute to the preparation of a masterplan for the future development and use of the buildings and land within York Minster’s boundaries, opens on Friday 25 May in Dean’s Park, York.
York Minster sits on a six hectare site that was first occupied more than 2000 years ago. Known as the “Precinct”, the area includes, the Old Palace Library and Archive, the Minster School, the internationally renowned Stoneyard, homes for the Minster’s clergy team, office accommodation and Dean’s Park – the biggest area of green space within the city walls.
Commenting on the launch of the consultation, The Dean of York, The Very Reverend Dr Vivienne Faull said:
“We are at the very earliest stage of this work. We know that there is an extended, global community of people who are passionate about York Minster – worshippers, people who live and work in the city of York and the region, visitors, local businesses and many, many more. We are at the very early stage and want everyone to have their say.
“We want to hear their responses to our vision and learn what is important to them. We also want them to contribute their thoughts, ideas and suggestions for how the Precinct might evolve in the future. The plan must reflect the needs of our community and visitors.”
Whilst York Minster is rooted in the city’s ancient history, wave after wave of human settlement has resulted in a site that has been subject to continuous change and amendment over many centuries. The impact of ancient communities such as the early Christians, the Romans, Vikings and Anglo-Saxons can still be seen around the Precinct. The pace of change continued through the construction of the medieval cathedral we see today, and on through the Reformation, the Industrial Revolution and the Victorian era. There has been frequent alteration, change of use and demolition of buildings to accommodate changing needs in the Precinct and in the city. Most recently, the Minster’s South Piazza was transformed into a welcoming public space as part of the Heritage Lottery funded York Minster Revealed project.
In recent years, the use of some of the buildings, land and public areas within the Precinct have become more challenging. Key issues include:
ongoing conservation and restoration of some Precinct buildings
better use of the available spaces for offices and residential use
opening up the Precinct to create more attractive public spaces
improving facilities at the Minster School
addressing the use of buildings such as St William’s College and the Old Palace
the lack of key facilities such as a dedicated café for locals and visitors
how to make Dean’s Park a vibrant open space at the heart the city
the future environmental and economic sustainability of the Precinct.
Dean Faull added:
“Our vision for the future will respect, enhance and protect more than 2000 years of human history, worship and activity on this ancient site. It will also provide the blueprint for sustainable development that will meet the needs of current and future generations of worshippers, residents, workers, volunteers and visitors to the Minster.”
The consultation opens on Friday 25 and Saturday 26 May with an exhibition event in Dean’s Park. Large panel boards with information about the vision for the York Minster Precinct will be displayed in a marquee over the two days. Visitors will be encouraged to have their say and to share their ideas and suggestions. Members of the Minster’s Precinct Masterplan team will be on hand to answer questions and queries. The event will run from 11am until 7pm across the two days. The boards will also be available to view in the Minster’s South Transept on Sunday 27 May.
For those unable to make it to Dean’s Park, the consultation will also be available online from 10.00am on Friday 25 May at http://www.masterplanning.yorkminster.org to give as many people as possible the opportunity to view the details and comment. The consultation will run until midnight on Saturday 30 June.
All of the feedback received will be presented in a Statement of Consultation which will be published online later in the summer and will help to shape the development of the masterplan over the coming months before a further consultation in the autumn.