No one will be allowed to move into the new apartments City of York Council is building as part of the Castle Gateway scheme until Castle Car Park has closed, according to a report.
It says the redevelopment project is inseparable from plans to create a new car park – because Castle Car Park cannot shut until replacement spaces are found.
A planning condition attached to the council’s own application for 106 apartments and a bridge across the River Foss “requires the closure of Castle Car Park before the occupation of the first completed apartment”.
Controversial plans to build a replacement multi storey car park at St George’s Field were approved in January – but the council delayed work on the car park until a full review of city centre parking is carried out.
Green Party councillors, who lead the council in partnership with the Liberal Democrats, have said the multi storey car park is “not a done deal” and will not necessarily go ahead.
A council report on the project says: “It should be noted that any decision on proceeding with Castle Mills needs to be linked to a decision on the replacement car parking that would facilitate the closure of Castle Car Park.
“This is because there is a planning condition attached to Castle Mills that requires the closure of Castle Car Park before the occupation of the first completed apartment.
“The relocation of parking currently provided in the Castle Car Park to enable the development of high quality public realm and an event space is the centrepiece of the masterplan.”
£32 million plan
Under the plans the Castle Mills project, which includes apartments in Piccadilly and a pedestrian and cycle bridge across the Foss, is set to cost £32 million. The St George’s multi storey car park would cost about £14.2 million.
The council plans to bid for cash from the government’s Levelling Up Fund to transform Castle Car Park into a public open space.
Councils can bid for up to £20 million for projects from the fund, which is designed to address economic differences across the UK.
York is in the lowest priority group for funding and a council report says: “The best chance of being successful is to submit a bold, eye-catching proposal for shovel ready projects.”
The final designs for the transformation of the Castle Car Park site are due to be complete in the summer and a planning application is set to be submitted in September.
In May contractor Wates was appointed to complete the designs for the Castle Mills apartments and bridge.
The project is set to cost £32 million, with the money made from selling the apartments due to be spent on the wider Castle Gateway regeneration scheme.
How much cash?
We asked City of York Council how much it is asking for from the Levelling Up Fund and whether a delay in finding replacement parking spaces could hold up the Castle Mills and bridge development.
A spokesperson for the council said: “The levelling up fund bid can be up to £20m and contain up to three different projects. The final decision hasn’t been made yet on what projects will be included.
“The executive [of senior councillors] remain committed to providing parking to replace the closure of Castle Car Park.
“However, the decision was taken last October to delay the procurement of a construction partner for the new St George’s Field multi-storey car park until the completion of a Strategic Review of City Centre Access and Parking.
“This review is currently underway and will complete in the summer, allowing the executive to make an informed decision as to whether to proceed with the multi-storey car park as replacement car parking at the same time as proceeding with the construction of Castle Mills.”