23rd August 2020
My comments are likely to be somewhat biased as I have lived round the corner from the gardens for 49 years!
I see Tower Gardens as a green space in contrast to the busy city. While it is important for lots of people to get the benefit of it, I do not see the need to make it an active space, rather than leave it as a passive one.
The overall layout of paths is an historic one and I would prefer to see it retained. However, the gateway and links to the castle could be widened. The other side of the road (grass triangle) does not form a direct route. Shrubs to the east and south cut off some of the traffic noise etc and are more important than opening views into the park. Planting along the City wall is too tall and should be replaced by something low still with an edging to repel geese, or removed altogether and replaced by a cobbled strip to expose the wall. This section of path still needs to have cycle provision, perhaps as part of resurfacing to indicate the route.
More intensive use will exacerbate the problems of wear and tear, and compaction from events vehicles will damage the health of the trees. When the Castle Car Park is released form cars, it will form a much better area for organised events. During Lockdown, when Dyls started selling beer, at least 100 people sat on the grass and appeared happy with the ambience.
Change will however need to take place, particularly when the Arts Barge finally arrives. I feel the hard surfacing adjacent to the mooring should be re-organised so it forms a defined edge with a barrier (chains like Kings Staith?) for safety. The existing path curving across could then be returfed.
Overall there is a need for more seating, but it could be incorporated into the riverside re-paving and kept well away from the houses in Tower Place ( already a noisy collecting place adjacent at night) The central area seating could do with a rethink. Picnic tables over in far corner in the sun would be ideal.
Although removing some trees could help with grass growth, I would prefer to see some bald patches if necessary. Behind the river edge paving, carefully positioned seats and bike racks could divert people from cutting across.
The large area of York stone paving is rather useless. It is unsuitable for seats as it is close to the corner house. Perhaps an information board? There is already a New Walk plaque of course.
Some of the problems of Tower Gardens are maintenance ones but that cannot be paid for out of capital unfortunately. No ideas about geese, although there may have been a few less this year (or wishful thinking).