Campaigners were out at St George’s Field car park today to protest the City of York Council proposal to build a new multi-storey car park.
The five storey 372-space car park plans were approved in January but are currently on hold. It is expected to cost at least £14.2 million.
The petition was set up by environmental campaigner Kate Ravilious, and states that the new car park will “overshadow the nearby ancient Castle Walls, our wonderful riverside walk, add to traffic congestion and air pollution on York’s roads, and have a significant carbon cost.”
At the protest today (Thursday), balloons were raised to demonstrate the height of the proposed multi-storey car park – 52ft 4ins – and to emphasise how it would disrupt the current landscape.
Update: From Joe Cooper Local Democracy Reporter in York
Well the decision on whether to build that new multi-storey car park in York has been pushed back.
City of York Council has said it needs to find replacement for the spaces at Castle car park.
Councillors had been told to expect a decision by February, but Andy Kerr, head of regeneration and economy at the council, said it would not be made until the summer, alongside a wider update on the Castle Gateway regeneration.
“It will be a complete eyesore in our view,” said campaigner Johnny Hayes. “The environmental case certainly has not been made and harm to heritage and views is unquestionable in our view.
“The executive Committee are due to make a final decision shortly so we want to show that this is not a popular decision, particularly when many of the City Car Parks are generally far from full.”
A decision for the development will be made by City of York Council in March or April, so the protest forms part of a final opportunity to push back against the proposal and stop the building going ahead.
“The council really needs to listen to the public and not do such an unpopular and unnecessary building in York,” said Kate.
Campaigners are calling on the public to sign the petition, pass on the message and contact your ward councillor or transport executive member Cllr D’Agorne.
Julian Ridge, Sustainable Transport Manager at City of York Council told Joe Cooper:
“The Department for Transport will be providing the council with timescales around LTP 4 over the coming weeks. The guidance will specify the content of the new LTP and the timescale for developing it.
“We are also working to assess the transport implications of our climate change strategy and economic strategy, which will be published this summer.”
The council has 10 car parks across the city which generate around £7m per year.
On transport plans across the city, Mr Ridge added: “We are also awaiting the outcome of a number of funding applications made to develop York’s sustainable transport systems, not least our Bus Service Improvement Plan, which, requested funding of £6m to enhance the city’s park and ride service; and a bid made to replace 44 diesel buses with new electric buses – enhancing bus services across York.
“We have also submitted an Active Travel Fund bid for funding to replace and improve much of the cycle parking infrastructure in York city centre”.