Castle Car Park Idea: A new, big public space

What might a new public space on Castle Car Park look like?

In the Open Brief we developed in the summer people want to be able to:

  • Come together
  • Attend large scale events (music, theatre, fairs)
  • Use the Eye of York as a place of political protest
  • Commemorate and remember, especially the 1190 massacre of York’s Jewish Community
  • Sit down and enjoy the views in lots of different places in the area, including views of the Ouse and the Foss
  • Have spaces where it is possible to reflect, think and remember
  • To see interesting things: art, fountains, wildlife, trees
  • To eat and drink, whether sitting on the ground with a picnic or at cafes/restaurants.
  • To linger with no pressure to buy anything
  • Make the back of the Coppergate centre look better
  • Be there at night as well as during the day and all year round

Now here’s the first glimpse of what the future might look in one of the most talked-about parts of the Castle Gateway area: the car park and Eye of York.

It gives you an idea of what a new, big, open public space for the city centre, surrounding some of our most important historical and cultural sites, might look like. It opens up the views of the Foss, has a new restaurant and apartment building to cover over the service entrance of the Coppergate Centre, and proposes a potential new extension for the Castle Museum.

But this this indication of a possible future, is not the end. Really it’s the beginning. If the Executive pass the visions and give the go ahead for the council to move head we need to start working together to develop a more detail brief for the area.

We got a few events in the calendar to help with think about public spaces in general – all of which will help seed discussions for after the Executive in April.


15 thoughts on “Castle Car Park Idea: A new, big public space”

  1. What is the purpose of the buildings the left of the museum next to the river? I would like to see the riverside kept open. Also I think the visitor centre for Clifford’s Tower should be relocated away from the mound

  2. I am very much in favour of getting rid of the car parking. I have suggested that there should be no visitor parking within the city walls and notices on the roads into York to that effect. We should encourage visitors to use Park and Ride.

  3. I am very much in favour of getting rid of the car parking. I have suggested that there should be no visitor parking within the city walls and notices on the roads into York to that effect. We should encourage visitors to use Park and Ride.

    Previously I said all car parking. This might be impractical so I have modified it to Visitor Parking.

  4. This is a real step forward – the courts do need to be encouraged to accept moving their parking to St George’s Fields – a multi storey there could be designed so that access is still available from a first floor level up during flooding. It could also be build overhanging or incorporating the pumping station to minimise the height needed and still leave enough space for the coaches.
    The building at the end of Coppergate is a disappointment. Despite trying to get the sightline along the Foss to and from Cliffords Tower protected in the masterplan this uninspiring apartment block will give the occupants nice views but block everyone elses! It could even be designed with a glass fronted atrium to maintain glimpses of the Tower without compromising on financial return. Come on lets see some imaginative options presented!

    • Thanks for this Andy. As ever we’ll screenshot and tag your comments so they can be feed in. The key thing to say is that these illustrations are not designs and there will be a lot of scope (should the masterplan get passed Executive) for further open and public briefing work for the public space and for the buildings. I’ll check about the question of the views between the Foss and Clifford’s Tower and get back to you.

  5. The elephant in the castle gateway room is the Clifford’s Tower visitor centre. Now that the space in the castle area is being opened up, that building looks even more out of place. Surely the best location for a visitor centre is at the original entrance to the castle area from Castlegate, close to the pedestrian access from Piccadilly via a River Foss footbridge. I have seen many comments along these lines, but nothing to suggest that the decision-making process has taken this on board. Are the City Council and English Heritage talking to one another?

    • Thanks for your post Kurt – as you’ll know planning permission for the visitor centre has been granted (before My Castle Gateway process started) and the appeal is ongoing. We’ll know more once that legal process has all been settled but you are very right to say many people have made similar points to yours.

  6. Building a multi storey car park is such a retrograde step for any city. Priortising private over public transport continues to undermine efforts on reducing air pollution and road danger a key component on making cities more liveable. There will be no progress on increasing cycling modal share with schemes like this that will make roads such as Fishergate and the inner ring road see vehicle counts increase. It cares little for the rights of people living in the city to enjoy safe streets and clean air. Furthermore, building a multi storey places cars at the top of the transport pyramid for the city of York and delays the develop of a truly liveable city. Please consider the alternatives or at least the impacts as it can’t always be about parking revenue.

    • Hi Andrew, thanks for your post. Many people invovled in My Castle Gateway made similar points to you. Many other people said they wanted city centre car parking. The council does also make £1.2m revenue (£1.8m in terms of all the car parks) which has also been a factor in the context of austerity and serve cuts to council budgets. There are also long term problems with how to develop a public transport system that will shift people out of cars. Bascially cars and parking are a complex problem. If you are interested in getting more involved in the conversations about movement, walking and cyling in York we have three events you might be interested in. Two related to York Central (below, get to the ticket links via and we’ll be posting soon an event specifically to look at walking and cycling in the Castle Gateway Masterplan. If you are interested, I’ll add your name to the notification list.

      Beyond Flying Cars – sustainable transport on York Central
      Tuesday 10th April, 4pm – 6pm
      National Railway Museum Gallery
      Book your free ticket here

      The current emerging masterplan proposals aim to “encourage sustainable transport” and show networks for the various current modes of transport – walking, cycling, busses and cars. But how will future changes – especially those in public transport – change the way we move around cities and how do cities need to respond in order to benefit from them? Can we look to successful projects elsewhere and can we overcome the cry that “York is different”. How far into the future is it wise to plan when future technologies are so uncertain?

      This will be a workshop event led by York Bus Forum Chair Graham Collett and York Environment Forum Chair Phil Bixby, and will feature participation by members of York Environment Forum, bringing with them expertise in many aspects of transport and sustainability. We will aim to produce guidance on sustainable transport which will contribute to the masterplanning process.

      York Central Transport and Access – Professor Tony May
      Wednesday 11th April, 7:00pm – 9:00pm
      National Railway Museum
      Book your free place
      York resident Dr Tony May specialises in urban transport and has provided advice in the UK, Europe and internationally. He is the transport specialist on York Civic Trust’s Planning Committee. This event will feature an illustrated talk bringing in examples from the Vauban project in Freiburg to examine how sustainable transport can genuinely form the heart of new development, shaping it and making it a pleasant and more affordable place to live and work. We’ll discuss the current emerging masterplan, how closely this reflects the priorities set out in York’s Local Transport Plan, and how it might be further developed to make both the new development and surrounding existing communities more sustainable.


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