Support is flooding in for Spark:York as its future is clouded in uncertainty.
The lease of popular food, drink and startup hub is up next month – and it has applied for permission to stay at its Piccadilly location until September 2025.
But a City of York Council report has since said the site should be sold for affordable housing – and a landlord break option in the lease could see the box park dismantled in November next year.
Fans of the box park, which opened in May 2018, have rallied to Spark’s cause.. Some residents have called for it to be made a permanent fixture to York city centre.
Nearly 40 supporting comments have been sent to the council. Here are a few views.
“Spark is one of the very few places in the city centre that is truly accessible for mothers with babies and young children.”
– Sophie Coulombeau
“I think after COVID-19 it’s brought the community together and it would be a massive shame to get rid of a space where it joins the people of York together, all ages and genders.”
– Francine Swann.
“It’s minimal yet well-designed and well-kept architecture is both functional and enjoyable. My family and I have lovely memories of this place, and we really hope to enjoy it in the future.”
– Davide Dapelo
“Spark has been such a great part of city life over the last few years. It’s fun and vibrant – a great place for artists and for people to socialise. It would be sorely missed if it left York.”
– Edi Adegbola
“Spark is perhaps the only true community venue we have in York that provides rooms to community groups without a hire fee. The amount of social good this does for the city cannot be overstated.”
– Benjamin Porter
“I’ve been impressed every time I have been by how it showcases a different side of York. I would be very sorry to see it go.”
– Dawn Hirons
“The closure of Spark would be a terrible loss to the York community, taking away one of our most popular and most well-loved venues – and a venue that gives a lot back to the community.”
– Emily Hunter
“It is a breath of fresh air in a town full of tourist shops.”
– Abby Gibson
There are six objections to the proposal too, mainly due to the noise and location.
David Wong, whose home overlooks Spark, said: “I would like to see Spark:York move to a more suitable venue. The enjoyment of some should not come at the expense of suffering of others.”
Another neighbour, Nigel Wilson, said: “if the council are able to address noise and parking concerns I would be in favour of an extension. This would be preferable to years of an empty site and the loss of a useful resource for the local community.”
Cllr Fiona Fitzpatrick announced a “call-in” regarding the application to allow for discussion to reach a decision on the planned extension.
She told YorkMix: “I’ve been involved in Spark for the last few years and I think the concept is fantastic, it mirrors what happened in other cities. I know that there is a call for that and it is very popular.
“However, it is not in the right setting, there have been two extensions already and the neighbours have been inconvenienced. For this to continue now isn’t fair on people who live around there.”
You can follow the planning application here.