Recent suggestions that at least one chamber of the British Parliament might relocate to York, either temporarily during refurbishment of the Palace of Westminster or even permanently, prompted us to call for the highest standards of contemporary architecture in any new legislative bulding. Our President, Lord Foster of Thames Bank, wrote to The Times to that effect, leading to an invitation from Make it York, a local business group, to inspect the most likely location, an 111-acre brownfield development site (known as York Central) adjacent to York railway station.
The coronavirus pandemic has since forced a fundamental reappraisal of plans for the Palace of Westminster, calling into question consequential moves such as relocation to York, but the Royal Fine Art Commission Trust remains committed to helping find the best design solution for whatever route is eventually chosen. To this end it welcomes to the opportunity to work with local organisations from the public and voluntary sectors and with philanthropists such as Hamish Ogston CBE, who privately funded a report on options for the York Central development site. Kirsten England, Chief Executive of the City of York (2009-2015) notes that as a result of the report “the City of York took the decision, during the break up of regional development agencies, to acquire a key parcel of land within the site…and position York Central as a pivotal project for the nation”.