York council’s coalition partners the Green Party have given more details as to why they have dropped support for a key parking policy.
The council-led project to build a multi-storey car park (MSCP) on St George’s Field to replace Castle Car Park already has planning permission – but now hangs in the balance.
Green Party leader Andy D’Agorne has previously declared that the £14m MSCP plan is ‘dead in the water’.
Now it has emerged that plans for the car park are on hold due to contractual difficulties delaying the associated Castle Mills development.
Cllr D’Agorne, who is also the deputy leader and executive member for transport at the council, said today: “Whilst I appreciate there are concerns from some city centre businesses, we stand by our position that there is now clearly no business case for building a multi-storey car park in St George’s Field, with escalating costs underlining the need to focus on delivering the other elements of the Castle Gateway project.
“We would prefer to make that decision now so that residents and businesses are clear and we can get on with developing a city wide car parking strategy that is consistent with the climate emergency and with the forthcoming sustainable transport strategy for York.”
He said the MSCP was always a compromise which came out of the public consultation.
“Since planning approval for the multi-storey car park was granted in Jan 2021, it has become clear that extra spaces – above those expected to remain following flood works – can be provided in the existing St George’s Field surface car park meaning there is no longer a financial basis for building new provision.
“Car parks are attractors of car journeys which add to congestion and pollution issues.
“What matters for businesses and city centre vibrancy is not that we attract cars but that we attract people; both visitors and residents.
“I am very committed to working with both city centre businesses and other stakeholder groups to ensure we can focus on customers and the total offer, regardless of how they travel to the city centre.”
Plans are in for the £32m Castle Gateway scheme, which would close Castle Car Park and turn the area around Clifford’s Tower and the Eye of York into a public space.
Green Party colleague and fellow member of the York executive Cllr Denise Craghill said the party welcomed progress on the project.
“The final proposal is yet to be determined by planning committee and York Greens have called for improvements to include more blue badge parking, more green space and a greater variety of play provision,” she said.
“Overall though, the plans are very exciting.”