Plans to build a multi-storey car park on St George’s Field are driven solely by short-term investment priorities, and fail to serve the best interests of the city and its residents, claim Labour.
Documents published alongside the council’s Strategic Review of Council Car Parking last November revealed that Marygate car park is considered “a prime residential development site,” and “would likely appeal to developers of student accommodation given the proximity of York St John.”
Similarly Union Terrace car park is described as a “prime location for a residential or educational development scheme… would likely appeal to developers of student accommodation as well as to York St John themselves for academic space.”
“The plan to build a multi-storey car park on St George’s Field has little to do with freeing up land to create a green space around Clifford’s Tower, and everything to do with cashing in council land assets for short-term gain,” said Kate Ravilious, a Fishergate resident.
The council’s ruling Lib Dem-Green Executive is expected to make a final decision this Spring on whether or not to go ahead with the proposed building of a multi-storey car park on St George’s Field. Previously, council officers justified the decision by claiming that the council stands to lose some £1million of annual car parking revenue if the spaces lost by the closure of Castle car park are
“It’s complete nonsense,” said Fishergate resident Katherine Crocker. “Visitors will find spaces at half empty car parks like the Piccadilly multi-storey and Foss Bank. If anything, parking revenue will increase as council car parks are used more efficiently and car park maintenance overheads diminish.”
The council’s main opposition Labour Group on the council have said that the current Lib Dem-Green administration needs to come clean about its desire to build the new multi-storey car park on St George’s Field, and to be honest with the people of York that it will be followed by the closure and selling off of other city centre car parks, as prime development sites.
It appears that no thought has been given to the impacts of consolidating city centre car parking, which could include increased traffic congestion on the approach to St George’s Field car park, worsening air quality on approach roads including the residential and schools area along Fishergate and reduced accessibility for disabled residents (because car parks are no longer as widely dispersed around the city centre).
“Building the multi-storey car park on St George’s Field will ensure that the council continues to be dependent on car parking income, and will lock in city centre bound car journeys for generations to come,” continued Kate Ravilious
“We believe that this focus on turning land assets into capital is damaging,” said Councillor Pete Kilbane, the leader of the Labour Group on City of York Council, ” and fails to protect the city for the benefit of future generations. We need to see some proper joined up thinking, with development decisions like St George;s Field forming part of a wider strategic plan. It’s unforgivable that York still doesn’t have a Local Plan, and that other key strategic documents such as the Local Transport Plan are decades out of date.
“Key decisions involving millions of pounds are being made without reference to any overarching plan or vision, and that’s because no such plan exists. No business would operate like this”.