Playgrounds, water features and picnic spots could replace the Castle Car Park in York.

But there would also be spaces to reflect on the “tragic and violent human stories” that happened throughout history at this significant site.

Residents have been putting forward ideas for how the Castle Gateway site, which stretches from King’s Staith to St George’s Field to Piccadilly, should be transformed.


Helen Graham from the My Castle Gateway consultation said:

  • People would like to be able to have picnics, spend time together and hang out without having to spend money.

    Part of the challenge is how to bring the many years of history to life in this area.

Death and mayhem

The Eye of York from Clifford’s Tower
The site of the car park was previously a prison, with a gallows where people were executed.

Clifford’s Tower was the site of one of the worst anti-Semitic massacres of the Middle Ages in 1190.

And those arrested at Peterloo Massacre in 1812 were tried here in 1820.

But it has also been the site of protest – including demonstrations for better working conditions such as the March Against Yorkshire Slavery in 1832.


Helen said:

  • Many people lost their lives here. An enormous number of tragic and violent human stories took place here.

    How do we manage to balance that with plans for the future of the area?

She said people’s views will make a significant difference to designs for the area, adding that she hoped it would be a place “to picnic and protest, a place for concerts and buskers”.

New car park coming

Helen Graham from My Castle Gateway and Andy Kerr from City of York Council
Andy Kerr, from the council’s major projects team, said planning applications for the new multi storey car park at St George’s Field will be submitted this summer and the construction will hopefully be completed by autumn 2021.

Castle Car Park – which brings in £1.2m for the council each year – could then shut.

The council will also submit plans for 110 apartments on the old Castle Mills Car Park site plus a new pedestrian and cycle bridge across the river, with the money used to fund the Castle Gateway development.

Andy said there has been decades of project ideas but added: “We have got further than we ever have before and that’s partly because of the public support.”

Events where people can learn more about the plans are taking place this weekend. Find out more on the Castle Gateway website.

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