The Central Hall Drum (Feilden Fowles)

Plans approved for National Railway Museum’s new building

Image: The Central Hall Drum (Feilden Fowles)

A green light for the construction of ‘Central Hall’ has been given by the council, with work expected to begin next year.

Plans for a new central, connecting building at the National Railway Museum’s have been given the green light by the City of York Council.

The city council’s planning committee approved the Museum’s reserved matters application at a meeting yesterday.

The building, known as ‘Central Hall’, will become the museum’s new welcome space and gallery, and will be located between the museum’s Great Hall and Station Hall, connecting the two existing buildings.

The expansion of the museum is central to its Vision 2025 project, in which it hopes to become the world’s railway museum.

The museum said the new development will help the museum “realise its potential as the cultural heart of York Central and unite the museum for the first time.”

During the planning stages, concern was raised by some York locals and councillors, who feared the new building on Leeman Road could cut off a direct route to York for residents, and could cause issues for people with disabilities.

As part of the now approved plan, it is a condition of the road’s closure, Leeman Road, that it is not closed until an alternative pedestrian, cycle and vehicle highway route is in place. Construction is already underway on these routes.

Central Hall will feature a Railway Futures Gallery, showcasing the innovations in rail technology, a café overlooking the new museum square, a shop, event space and new visitor facilities.

Judith McNicol, Director of the National Railway Museum said the project remains on track for opening Central Hall in Autumn 2025, in time for the Museum’s 50-year anniversary. Work is expected to start in early 2023.

McNicol added: “The museum aims to be the cultural heart of York Central and this decision brings us a step closer to realising that ambition.

“As we move towards construction, we will continue to engage with residents and visitors to ensure that the world-class museum we are creating can act as a true community resource for our evolving neighbourhood.”

The Central Hall plans form an early stage of the delivery of York Central, the 45-hectare regeneration site which is a partnership with Network Rail, Homes England, City of York Council and the museum.

Feilden Fowles designed the new building and Montagu Evans acted as heritage consultant. GRAHAM has also been appointed to deliver pre-construction services for Central Hall.