The Eye of York – a summary of dicussion so far

Over the past week we’ve been testing the plans – and four options – for the Eye of York. You can read about the different options here.

To aid the development of the conversation and to reflect back what we’ve been hearing here is a summary – if there is anything further you wold like to add or aything different, just let us know by the usual channels.

Those who have argued in favour of Option 2 have made the following points:

  • The square shaped design in The Eye space adds balance to the already dominating Clifford’s Tower circular Motte and potential pathway.
  • The square design and its angles allow numerous focal points. It represents conformity, rationality, structure, order and stability which is perfect for a space between a Court Building, Museum and Prison.
  • The tree needs to be moved in order enable the curated space and other activities.
  • More biodiversity than there is currently
  • More shade distributed around the area to sit in

Those who have argued in favour of keeping the tree – which is the majority of those who have taken part – have highlighted the following reasons:

  • It is a mature oak tree, it has been growing for 40 years and it should be valued
  • CYC are allowing too many mature trees to be taken down through the planning process. Where they are required to be replaced, size/species/etc are often not specified, or where they are the applicant usually substitutes something smaller/cheaper and this is not prevented.
  • Trees are often removed simply because they haven’t been maintained when they should have – the alders outside the Wetherspoons being a nearby example.
  • The tree has been neglected but could be re-shaped so that there is more light to the ground beneath and less interruption of the views. A number of people have noted the harm being done by the carousel van parking right next to the trunk.
  • The tree was planted to commemorate 15 years of Alex Lyon as York MP – and this should be remembered and respected
  • It provides shade and can contribute towards cooling the area, in the context of climate change
  • It has become part of people’s memories of the area (e.g. the end of Blood + Cholate) and light up at Christmas or for Pride.
  • The Open Brief to use the area for performance and exhibitions, with ‘more imagination’ the tree could be worked around.

Those who have argued in favour of the circular or oval options have made the case:

  • It has had an oval shape there for 200 years
  • It symbolically reflects the name ‘eye’.

In general there is support for new benches and seating.

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