The My Castle Gateway team have come to work together in order to develop a new approach to public engagement drawing on their different experiences and perspectives. What we share is a recognition of the limits of conventional approaches to consultation and a desire to explore more open and sustained ways of involving people in shaping York’s future. By the end of the process the team hope to have worked with many organizations, businesses, community groups, families, interested individuals and visitors to create a well-used and much loved area of York
As Assistant Director for City of York Council, Tracey Carter leads the Castle Gateway project and is instrumental in delivering quality regeneration of the area for the city, making the most of the council’s assets. She brings a wealth of experience across a wide range of disciplines, including regeneration, property and asset management. As a local resident herself, Tracey is very aware of how important the Castle Gateway site is to the people of York and welcomes the opportunity to develop a new approach to public engagement which is meaningful and inclusive.
Andy Kerr is a Commercial Project Manager in City of York Council’s major projects team, leading the regeneration of the Castle Gateway. He is an experienced project manager, having worked across the regeneration, housing association and public sectors. Andy previously led the council’s housing strategy, policy and development function and has an MSc in Urban Regeneration from Sheffield Hallam University. He attended the University of York as a history undergraduate and lives in the city.
Sue Houghton is a regeneration practitioner working for City of York Council on the Castle Gateway project. She is particularly interested in making places and spaces that people want to use. Over the years Sue has worked on a wide range of development and regeneration projects, involving local communities in innovative and creative ways of shaping the place they live in. She is looking forward to working with people interested in the My Castle Gateway public engagement project.
Katherine Atkinson supports work on major projects at City of York Council, with an emphasis on community involvement. With a background in planning, and experience on other major developments such as the university expansion at Heslington East and the redevelopment of the former Terry’s chocolate factory, Katherine is keen to explore new ways to engage people in the creation of better places across York.
Phil Bixby has lived and worked in York for many years and loves the city but believes we need to plan for future change, and spends much of his time telling people this. As a designer of buildings he’s learned that the best results come from the best brief, where building users really think about, and creatively describe, how they want to use future places and spaces. He believes that York needs the same approach from its residents. He’s an architect who has worked on community self-build, masterplanning and community decision-making in York and elsewhere, and spends a lot of his time watching and learning about York from the saddle of a bicycle.
Helen Graham believes we can create a brilliant and inclusive future for York – if we work together and make room for all the ideas, creativity, local knowledge and energy of all of us who live and work here. Helen has – through various activist (York’s Alternative History) and research projects (How should heritage decisions be made?) – long explored how we might use the histories and heritage of York to open up debates about the city’s future. She is especially looking forward to developing further these approaches in an area of York famous for its political histories: both for histories of violence, repression and imprisonment and of protest, resistance and hope. Given that Clifford’s Tower and the Eye of York have become appropriated by those that live in York as places where we can come together to commemorate injustice, celebrate love and have our voices heard there really is no better area in which to experiment with new approaches to democratic participation in shaping the city’s future. Helen teaches Heritage Studies at the University of Leeds, researches participatory politics and has lived in York off and on since she came to study at the University York in 1995.
Statement of transparency:
City of York Council is not paying for the time Phil Bixby and Helen Graham (My Future York) are spending working on the My Castle Gateway project. The council are funding public events and publicity. The Leeds Social Science Institute via the Economic and Social Research Council’s Impact Acceleration Fund are also funding public activities and events, website development and visiting speakers as part of project. We are collaborating in this way because our long-term aim is to develop low cost, sustainable and community-led ways for local authorities to undertake local democratic engagement.