A former councillor has slammed a plan to build a new multi-storey car park as ‘the wrong action at the wrong time’.
Johnny Hayes, who successfully campaigned to stop a modern visitor centre being built into the motte at Clifford’s Tower, is now calling on councillors to completely rethink their parking policy.
A 372-space, five-storey car park at St George’s Field was approved at a planning meeting in January.
It would replace the Castle Car Park, as it closes in order for the Castle Gateway regeneration scheme around Clifford’s Tower to go ahead.
This decision was taken before a full review of parking in York was undertaken. It is due to go before councillors in November.
According to a letter from a council officer sent to Johnny, the parking review could lead to car parks being earmarked for closure, in addition to Castle car park.
“The review will provide a hierarchy of council car parks and recommendations to improve the data we receive from our car parks,” wrote Andy Kerr, head of regeneration programmes.
“This will help to guide investment decisions, which car parks could close should demand decrease, and provide an evidence base to allow the forthcoming Local Transport Plan 4 to consider in detail the role of parking as part of the integrated transport plan.”
In his address to full council last week, Johnny said: “The post covid strategic review into parking and city centre access is due to report to Executive in November.
“This will review the decision on building a £14m five-storey concrete multi storey car park on St George’s Field.
“Personally I cannot imagine a more emblematic image of the wrong action at the wrong time. To pay for this the City Council are going to develop a huge block of luxury apartments – and some other car parks it appears will be closed and sold off.
“But it is clear that the data to decide on the parking aspect of this review is presently simply not available. And to make a decision on parking and access without the Local Transport Plan in place is putting the cart before the horse.”
An independent review into car parking in York found that three new multi-storeys were planned for York – at St George’s Field, the station, and York Central.
They would cost millions – but only increase capacity by 11 spaces, according to the report’s authors.
After the St George’s Field car park was given planning approval, Lib Dem Cllr Nigel Ayre said: “We remain committed to providing parking to replace the closure of Castle Car Park.
“We’ve also rightly given ourselves enough time to understand the impact of Covid, further engagement with blue badge holders and to develop the Local Transport Plan before we start building on St George’s Field.
“This is fantastic news and another important milestone in a bold plan to transform such an important part of our city.”