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York Outer Ring Road (1937)

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York Outer Ring Road (1937)
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York Outer Ring Road
From:  Askham Bar (SE579484)
To:  Heworth (SE617536)
Via:  Clifton
Distance:  5.4 miles (8.7 km)
Meets:  A1036, B1224, A59, A19, B1363, A1036
Highway Authorities


Traditional Counties


The 1937 York Outer Ring Road was a plan to encircle the city of York with a ring road to alleviate the traffic congestion in the historic city centre. Only a few short sections were ever built.


In 1937, the York Corporation began building a ring road in order to relieve the historic city centre of through traffic. The plan was to create a full circle around the city, with "landmark junctions" at the Thirsk (A19), Scarborough (A64), Fulford (A19), and Tadcaster (A64) roads. It is uncertain as to whether the whole ring road would have been to dual carriageway (D2) standard, but there are sections built to this standard that survive to this day.

Some sections were built in the period 1937-1939, notably Kingsway West and Kingsway North (now known as Burton Green), however World War II brought the plans to a halt. After the war, the plans were revisited in the 1948 Plan - it was decided that the original ring road plan was defective as it passed too close to the urban area, and therefore planned a ring road that was much further out - indeed most of the northern sector is even further out than the current A1237 route.


Note: Although the plans involved a complete ring around the city, only sections to the north and west were ever built. The sections to the east and south were never started, and it is difficult to tell where the route may have gone. Therefore this article only covers the north and west half of the route, as it is more certain.

The route would have started near Askham Bar on the A64 (now A1036). It is most likely that the road would have started roughly where the Askham Bar Park & Ride site is now, as it would have only needed one railway bridge to cross the York - Leeds line - the East Coast Main Line at the time diverged here, this is now a cycle track to Selby. From here, the road would have run north to reach Chaloners Road which manages to thread between Hagg's Pond and Chapman's Pond.

At the top of where Chaloner's Road is now, the ring road would have cut a straighter line across what is now Thanet Road and onto Kingsway West. This section of road ends at a large roundabout (still extant) with Tudor Road, Green Lane and Hamilton Drive. A substantial hotel (The Acomb Hotel, now The Clockhouse) was built on the corner of the junction to cater for passing travellers. This kind of arrangement was probably the standard for the main junctions around the ring road.

The ring road then travelled north, along what is now Kingsthorpe - this section would have been dual carriageway - and through a narrow gap in the existing housing to a new junction on the B1224 at the old Regent Cinema, also built in the late 1930s. At this point, the ring road is exactly on the old border between York (to the right), and Acomb (to the left). Indeed, the main shopping centre for Acomb is only a few hundred metres away at this point.

North of the B1224 there is an obvious gap in the 1920/1930s suburban housing and Howe Hill where the road would have passed on the way to the A59 at Water End. This is now been filled in by 1960s housing, Lindsey Avenue is roughly where the road would have been.

From the A59, the ring road would have followed the modern course of Water End (A1139). This road actually dates from the 1960s, when Clifton Bridge was built, but there have been numerous plans to build a road here over the last century. At Clifton Green, there would have been a junction for the A19 - it is not known whether the triangular green would have been obliterated for the ring road, or the existing roads used to form a gyratory. However the ring road continued north here and onto Kingsway North, a very typical 1930s dual carriageway with very narrow lanes by modern standards.

At the top end of Kingsway North is another large roundabout, similar to the one on Kingsway West. There was another hotel (The Clifton Hotel) here, but it was demolished in the 1990s. From here, the ring road would have made a sweeping curve round to the right, crossing the B1363 near the level crossing with the York - Scarborough line is today, and around the top of the Rowntree's Chocolate Factory. Haxby Road would have been crossed next, where the Mille Crux Sports Grounds are today. In fact there is a road shown as under construction on the 1954 Ordnance Survey 1:25000 mapping, but this was never built.

The River Foss would have been the next obstacle to cross, and once across Huntingdon Road the route would have run along Elmfield Avenue to reach the A64 (now A1036) at Malton Road.

Built Sections

A few sections of the road were built before the war interrupted. Some are quite obvious, but some are a little more tricky to find. In order from Askham Bar to Malton Road, these are the sections built (road names are the modern naming, and could have been renamed since the plans were cancelled):

  • Chaloner's Road - Approximately 500 metres between Moor Lane and Eason View in Dringhouses. This section is notable for having a concrete slab surface whereas the later section to the north is tarmaced.
  • Kingsway West - 650 metres of concrete road, plus large roundabout at the northern end. The houses to the eastern side are of 1960s vintage, replacing a small estate of temporary post war prefabs. It is possible that a second carriageway would have been built here originally.
  • Kingsthorpe - A short horseshoe road, about 150 metres long, obviously created using the leftovers of an unbuilt dual carriageway. This section already had semi-detached housing on it before the war started!
  • Kingsway North - 1100 metre of dual carriageway was built between Water Lane and Burton Stone Lane, with a large roundabout junction in the centre. Traffic now uses this section as two separate two way roads. Renamed as Burton Green in places in an attempt to shake off a dodgy reputation in the 1990s!
  • Elmfield Avenue - A less obvious section that was built as a single carriageway concrete slab road. The 400m section is now lined with post war housing.

York Outer Ring Road (1937)
Other nearby roads
A19 • A59 • A64 • A66 • A166 • A1036 • A1079 • A1176 • A1237 • B1222 • B1224 • B1225 (York) • B1226 (York) • B1227 • B1228 • B1363 • Dere Street • East Coast Motorway • Ermine Street • T68 (Britain) • T69 (Britain) • T70 (Britain)

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