Challenges: Ownership and Values

Having identified positive changes people would like to see in Castle Gateway we asked: What would need to happen economically or financially in order for the changes desired to take place?

In the fourth and final of our Challenges events we looked at ownership and values. In the My Castle Gateway draft brief the following was expressed:

People want to be able to:

The aim of the Challenges events is to deepen our understanding of the issues, identify information which is needed, refine the brief and explore experimental opportunities to try things out now.

During the event we asked people to tell a narrative based around a visit in ten years’ time, to one specific part of Castle Gateway – one site, or building, or space – and to describe what goes on there when they visit, and who’s doing it, and what has changed since 2017. We then asked them to think about the economic and financial aspects of the changes which their narratives describe and note what would need to happen economically / financially in order for these changes to take place. In particular, we asked how changes related to ownership, the planning system and to the process of community engagement. You can see the key issues in the Flickr album of the event.

Next steps

The three questions we’ve been asking in the final part of the Challenge workshops are:

What do we need to understand?
Who do we need to talk to?
What can we do to creatively try out and experiment with possible Castle Gateway futures?

What do we need to understand?
Major Funding for Arts and Culture: The city has some heavy hitters in the field of heritage, but has less impact in arts and culture. York@Large and others have worked hard to get culture into the draft Local Plan but there are funding opportunities (Arts Council, Crafts Council and public funding sources) which require a coordinated approach, and York lacks that overarching organisation. How can we develop this?

Sources of loan funding: One possible source of funding for infrastructure or other development is borrowing. Local Authorities can currently borrow at low rates (around 2%) but long-term costs still need to be considered. We also need to explore creative possibilities for using Section 106 funding, and consider innovative funding sources such as bond issues and other “crowdfunding” approaches to draw in local investment for local benefit.

Clarifying what “ownership” can be taken by the community: Events in the public realm can have a big impact on the vibrancy of neighbourhoods, and so ways need to be found to make this easier to organise. Arts on the water and river banks could be developed with the support of the custodians of the waterways, and better networks between artists, promoters and patrons would encourage more activity. Developers could be expected to be more involved in supporting community initiatives.

York as a place to develop ideas: York has two universities and these universities work hard to create a good “offer” to students, including accommodation and much of what the city has to offer culturally. Can the universities be encouraged to take a longer-term responsibility to provide suitable facilities so that graduates can remain in the city to develop and take to market their ideas? Can this become a broader offer to students which takes them beyond their studies, and becomes a major component of a structure within the city which fosters business start up and innovation, and the development of independent businesses?

Who do we need to talk to?
We need to talk to people within the city already involved with developing cultural proposals YMT etc). We need to talk to other bodies involved in funding such as JRF and Triodos Bank. We need to talk to the various bodies who regulate activity on the water (Canals and Rivers Trust etc), senior council transport officers and to clarify ownership of river margins. We need to talk to the universities and major local developers.

What can we do to creatively try out and experiment with possible Castle Gateway futures?

Use temporary road closure of the upper part of Piccadilly to showcase local arts / crafts / businesses as a way of demonstrating how this sort of use could positively impact the surrounding sites if developers respond positively and re-think proposals.


We will be setting up events to carry forward the experimental ideas that emerged from each of the Challenges workshop in October. Keep in touch via twitter, facebook or our mailing list.


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