Proposals for a new multi-storey car park in York look to have been axed, as the city’s new leaders say it’s not on their agenda.
Planning permission has already been granted for a £14 million car park on St George’s Field.
Before the May election, the then transport lead Cllr Andy D’Agorne said he believed the development was “dead in the water” due to a lack of a viable business case.
Labour won control of the council in that election, and new leader Cllr Claire Douglas said in their view too the St George’s Field car park was “dead in the water”.
“We’ve never been supportive of it. We don’t think it’s necessary,” she told YorkMix.
“For environmental reasons, health reasons, congestion reasons, that’s just not the way we want to go.
“Building new car parks in the city centre is not on our agenda at all.”
Housing, planning and safer communities portfolio holder Cllr Michael Pavlovic agreed.
“From a design perspective, the plan had so many flaws in it, including from the police, who felt that it would be a hub for antisocial behaviour,” he said.
“So it was a bad plan in a bad place.”
Building the St George’s Field car park was tied to the Castle Gateway project. That scheme envisaged the closure of the Castle car park, to be replaced with a riverside park, new pathways and a performance area around Clifford’s Tower.
But the Castle Gateway project has stalled, partly because York council failed in its bid for £10 million from the government’s levelling up fund.
Cllr Pavlovic said the new administration still wanted to see something “incredibly family friendly and exciting” in the Eye of York area.
Cllr Douglas agreed, but said any redevelopment may not “look exactly as it does” in the previous plans. They are still waiting on a full briefing from council officers on the current state of the scheme before making any decisions.
Cllr Douglas added that “there’s a broader question around car parking capacity in the city centre”.
Before Labour took office she and deputy leader Pete Kilbane had a number of conversations with key people and concluded that “we don’t, in the city, fully understand the car parking in the city centre that we currently have, and whether that’s being used to its full capacity.
“So there’s a whole piece of work to be done around that,” she said.
“We’re fully aware that there are differing views across the city about whether we need more car parking, for example, and there are a whole range of considerations.
“And then we’re trying to deal with greater accessibility to the city centre for disabled people at the same time, making sure that they’re adequately provided for as they totally should be.
“So it’s quite a complex picture.”
Cllr Pavlovic added: “There has got to be a really strong evidential base for any proposals.”
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