A multi-storey car park designed to replace York’s Castle car park has been scrapped.
The £15m plan to build a multi-storey car park on St George’s Field has now been ruled out by economy and transport executive Cllr Pete Kilbane.
“We do not intend to build a multi-storey car park in St George’s Field,” he said at a corporate services, climate change and scrutiny management committee meeting yesterday (25 September).
It was part of the Castle Gateway project.
A planning application for that project, to transform the current Castle Car Park and Eye of York into “a world-class public space”, was submitted last summer.
Already £4.4 million has been spent on the plan. But spiralling costs have thrown the whole thing into doubt.
However, some of the cash saved by not building the multi-storey car park could now help fund other aspects of the Castle Gateway project.
Neil Ferris, corporate director of place, said that money generated from the Castle Mills apartments, a residential development planned as part of the project, was originally going to help fund the multi-storey car park. But if that is not going ahead then “there are opportunities to reconfigure” where that money goes.
However the council will still need to find alternative sources of funds to build Castle Gateway.
Not only have construction costs increased, the sales market for apartments has not matched cost inflation. That has reduced the likely revenue generation from the Castle Mills part of the project.
Interest rates have also increased the council’s borrowing costs – while changes to building regulations may mean new planning applications will need to be submitted, therefore increasing the risk to the council.
“It’s no secret, the financial position we’re in,” Cllr Katie Lomas, the finance executive, said.
“While we’re going to pursue any options for alternative funding sources for any and all of the ambitions we have for the city, there is a reality to it.”
It was important to “deliver for the city in a managed and controlled way so we’re not overextending ourselves and we don’t end up in the position so many other councils have ended up in.”
She added: “There is no magic money tree. It would be nice if there was.”
In addition, York businesses have warned that they could drop their support for Castle Gateway if no suitable alternative parking to the Castle car park is included in the scheme.