Fountain plan floated for Castle Car Park – as council considers £300K redesign

The fountain in front of York Art Gallery – could something similar come to the Castle Gateway? Photograph: SeanJC / freeimageslive

A fountain could be created at the Castle Car Park site under plans to turn the area into a new public space.

The council is to push ahead with proposals to revamp the land at the base of Clifford’s Tower, in the hope that it will get government funding for the project once it has planning permission.

Senior councillors are being asked to put £300,000 towards designing the new public space – with officers saying it could help the council secure £10 million of government cash to complete the scheme.

The Castle Gateway project includes plans for

  • new apartments on Piccadilly
  • a bridge over the River Foss
  • a new multi storey car park at St George’s Field
  • a riverside park behind Castle Museum
  • and the closure of Castle Car Park to create public space.

It is now under review as a result of the pandemic.

Plans for the new multi storey car park could be scrapped – with a decision on the site paused until next year.

Shovel-ready project

Castle Car Park

The council insists Castle Car Park will not shut until “suitable replacement parking is available” – but a report to senior councillors does not include details of the alternative car parking sites being considered.

In the meantime the authority will draw up designs for transforming Castle Car Park into a public space “to ensure that the council has shovel ready public realm proposals of sufficient magnitude to attract potential external funding for the project”.

The council has already missed out on one round of government funding for the project because it did not have planning permission and would therefore take longer to complete.

“Increasingly external funding is being determined on perceived deliverability, with government spend targeted at projects which are able to make the biggest short term impact in response to the economic consequences of Covid-19,” says a council report.

It adds: “Should external funding not be forthcoming then an alternative funding strategy would be to revise the public realm plans to deliver a lower cost alternative.

“Having a scalable design which would allow more expensive elements of the design to be removed or replaced, such as potential water features and hard landscaped areas changing to soft landscaping.”

The executive meeting takes place on Thursday at 5.30pm – you can watch here.