Popular box park Spark:York only has permission to remain operating for seven more weeks – but it wants to stay for a further three years.
Its founders have applied to City of York Council for permission to extend its stay on Piccadilly until 30 September 2025.
Always seen as a temporary structure, Spark:York was created from former shipping containers and opened in May 2018.
A hub of street food, indie businesses and community events, the venue has proved a popular draw – and has seen some starter companies move out into traditional bricks-and-mortar buildings.
A spokesperson for Spark:York said: “We had submitted an application to extend our current permission as we had not received any formal communication around our future beyond March 2022.
“Any planning application carries an eight-week statutory period, and with our current permission elapsing on 31 March 2022, we wanted to submit this now to ensure we are not in breach of any planning regulations.
“We are passionate to continue offering a much-needed platform for new business growth in the city and to continue to play our part in the regeneration and revitalisation of Piccadilly and the Castle Gateway area.”
Some have been critical of the venture however. One of Spark’s most outspoken critics is Matthew Laverack, who describes himself as a “taxpaying architect and citizen”.
He has contacted ward councillor Fiona Fitzpatrick about the application to extend Spark’s tenure.
Mr Laverack said “we were promised this eyesore would only be in place three years. Then we were promised it would only be another two years as an absolute maximum.”
The request for three more years means “we are all being taken advantage of.”
“It was promised that a share of profits would go back to York taxpayers but not one single penny has been paid,” he writes.
“There never will be any payback because of the way Spark have structured their accounts and are writing down assets each year.
“The alcohol bars are doing very nicely thank you but the steel boxes themselves will never make any profit that can be shared with the good people of this city who have subsidised this venture.
“This is scandalous and enough is enough.”
He has asked Ms Fitzpatrick to “call in” the application so it can be debated and voted on by councillors.
You can see and comment on the application here.