We’re not entirely convinced that the Councils “Castle Gateway” plans, which would see the car park grassed over, are quite as urgent as some might wish residents to believe.
The economic impact of losing so many conveniently located car parking spaces has never been properly evaluated (whether a replacement multi storey is built on St Georges Field or not).
Any assumptions made were clearly pre pandemic. Some reassessment is surely needed before millions more of taxpayers money is committed.
The Council have, however, now published a schematic which shows what some apparently want to see done in the area.
The Council has issued the following media release
City of York Council has shared the emerging plans for new public space in one of York’s most historic and important areas – and wants residents to keep shaping the proposals.
The draft sketch from designers BDP imagines how the area could meet residents ambitions for the public space to replace Castle Car Park, while still meeting the current and future needs of the museum, the courts and the Coppergate Centre.
It shows how people could move around, a mix of soft and hard surfaces, a location for events, how to open up the river Foss, and how water and family-friendly play spaces can be created.
The council has worked with local partners My Future York to put residents’ views at the heart of plans to transform the car park, Eye of York and the wider area.
The extensive My Castle Gateway engagement has provided a public brief for the community space and connected residents to the designers BDP as they bring those ideas to life. Anyone can catch up with the story so far in this blog on the My Castle Gateway website.
This feedback will then allow detailed proposals and options to be developed and shared with the public through the spring, with a planning application to be submitted in the summer.
The My Castle Gateway public engagement has already led to bold plans being put forward to transform the area, including creating community and business space on Piccadilly, new walkways and cycle-routes, and a bridge over the Foss.
The public realm work is moving ahead after the council secured planning permission for a multi-storey car park and public space on St George’s Field, and a residential development and pedestrian and cycle bridge over the Foss at Castle Mills.
The council is committed to providing parking to replace the closure of Castle Car Park, and will retain Blue Badge parking on Tower Street. Work has been delayed on the multi-storey car park in order to better understand the impact of COVID and carry out further engagement with blue badge holders within the development of the Local Transport Plan.
Councillor Nigel Ayre, Executive Member for Finance and Performance, said:
We want the Castle area to be a place all our residents love to spend time, to interpret its history and make fantastic memories.
“Our commitment to quality public engagement has allowed us to deliver where decades of other proposals failed.
“These are ideas in response to what residents have told us. And they ask even more important questions, like whether the mix of uses is right, and whether the Eye of York should stay as it is or become an open air museum or exhibition space?
“We want residents to help answer those questions so please take a look and get involved in the conversation.”