Council set to borrow £45 million for the Castle Gateway scheme

Part of the Castle Gateway scheme. Image: planning documents

The council could be set to act as the developer for the Castle Gateway scheme and St George’s Field multi storey car park project – borrowing £45.8m to fund the plans.

The proposals feature a new bridge built across the River Foss off Piccadilly, three apartment blocks featuring more than 100 flats, a park behind the Castle Museum and – as a separate but linked scheme – a multi storey car park built at St George’s Field.

A report prepared for the council’s executive recommends they go ahead with plans for the local authority to develop the site itself – which would involve borrowing £45.8m.

Senior councillors will be asked to approve plans for the next phase of work to take place – including putting £532,000 to diverting a sewer and demolishing the toilets at St George’s Field, and approving £2.15m for further design work and to find a construction company to work on the scheme.

City of York Council will repay the loans using money from the sale of the apartments and rent paid by shops and restaurants in the development.

Flood zone

The Castle Gateway plans
Planning applications have been submitted for both schemes and are due to be decided in March.

The Environment Agency has objected to the plans for Castle Gateway – saying: “Our flood nap for planning shows the site lies within flood zone two and three, the medium and high probability zones.”

They have requested a risk assessment – but a council spokesman said this is part of the planning process and not expected to lead to delays or extra expense.

A report prepared for the council executive says:

  • The recommended option is not without significant risk.

    The council will need to undertake substantial short-term borrowing to achieve the anticipated financial returns from the sale of the apartments and generate income from the commercial units.

    The financial commitment needed to deliver the Castle Gateway masterplan would however reduce the council’s capacity to undertake any new major capital investment project during the construction period.

Complete by 2023

If all goes to plan, the multi storey car park would open in summer 2022 and the Castle Gateway development would be complete by spring 2023.

Cllr Nigel Ayre said: “The report recommends that we maintain that hands-on leadership role, which gives us control over the quality of the development and generates the highest commercial return to public funds.”

“We’re exceptionally proud of the role the council has played to lead this transformation, ending decades of failed proposals led by the private sector.”