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Planning and building

Castle Gateway Masterplan - Residential development at Castle Mills

Latest news on Castle Mills and 17 to 21 Piccadilly

Castle Mills.

The Castle Mills site gained planning approval in 2020 for a new riverside park, pedestrian and cycle bridge, and new apartments that would help to fund the wider masterplan’s public benefits.

In 2021 the council selected a contractor to carry out the detailed design and to provide a tender price for construction. In 2022 the contract was terminated due to challenges with the design and costing process.

In November 2023 Executive agreed to:

  • pause further work on developing the Castle Mills site, to investigate meanwhile use options in parallel with exploring longer term opportunities for the future delivery of 100% affordable housing on this council owned site
  • progress work to deliver the pedestrian/cycle links to the rear of the Castle Museum including a new bridge connection over the River Foss to Piccadilly (subject to confirmation of external West Yorkshire Combined Authority funding and approvals) - this will deliver sustainable travel links and city centre connectivity in accordance with the Local Transport Strategy, and achieve the wider aims of the Castle Gateway masterplan.

17-21 Piccadilly

In respect of Spark York on 17-21 Piccadilly, Executive agreed to extend the lease for a period of up to November 2026, to provide time to explore opportunities to relocate this facility elsewhere in the city. Longer-term, opportunities to develop the site for 100% affordable housing will be explored.

The first planning applications for the Castle Gateway Masterplan were submitted in Autumn 2019 for a residential development in the Castle Mills area and multi-storey car park at St George's Field.

See information on:

Development at Castle Mills

The vision for the old Castle Mills Car Park site is a residential apartment development with commercial space at ground floor level, to create an active street frontage. Together with a new public square allowing access to the river and the new pedestrian/cycle bridge over the Foss, this is a key part of turning Piccadilly into a vibrant city-living neighbourhood. The new bridge will play a large role in reshaping how the area is used, connecting Piccadilly’s community to the Castle Museum, and the riverside cycle and pedestrian routes which will flow around it.

Castle Mills will provide high quality apartments with riverside balconies overlooking Clifford’s Tower; penthouses on the top floor will create an interested and varied 'roofscape', to compliment York’s historic skyline.

As the designer and developer, we can actively contribute to the quality and design standards on Piccadilly, while generating money for the public purse towards the delivery of the Castle Gateway Masterplan. The entire southern block will deliver 20 affordable homes from the total of 106 apartments. See floor plans and proposed apartment sizes.

In response to the council's climate change framework and action plan we are leading the way by making this a car free development. Removing the car parking allows more commercial space at ground floor and make more of the site's river facing views.

Bridge over the River Foss

The same sewer which shaped the St George’s Field car park impacts this design for a residential development on the old Castle Mills Car Park site. The main sewer, which runs under the Foss, cannot be diverted. As a result, we’ve designed 2 buildings rather than one. This also means the original ‘kissing’ bridge will no longer possible, so we're proposing a single span bridge landing between the two new buildings. The Bridge will be a shared space between pedestrians and cyclists. See details of the design for the new Castle Mills bridge over the River Foss on the My Castle Gateway blog.

Public spaces at Castle Mills

Two new public spaces will be created, linked by the new bridge, to support the Castle Gateway Masterplan

Land to the rear of the Castle Museum will be landscaped and opened up to create public access with new pedestrian and cycle routes to and from St George's Field and the wider city to the South and East.

The new public space between the 2 Castle Mills apartment buildings will create new pedestrian and cycle links to and from Piccadilly, the River Foss and beyond.

Both will create new connections and spaces for people to stop and enjoy views of the river.


A planning application for a residential development at Castle Mills was submitted in November 2019, and approved on 3 December 2020. You can view the Castle Mills planning application via the Planning Portal quoting reference number 19/02415/FUL.

The approval of the Castle Mills scheme is an important step towards delivering world class public space around Clifford’s Tower and Eye of York. As well as continuing Piccadilly’s transformation into a vibrant city-living neighbourhood, the sale of these apartments will help to pay for the majority of the public benefits and infrastructure of the wider Castle Gateway Masterplan.

You can view the webcasts of the Planning Committee meetings from Thursday 19 November 2020 and Thursday 3 December 2020 online.

In May 2021 the council selected Wates as the contractor to carry out the detailed design and to provide a tender price for construction.

In June 2022 the council’s Executive received an update on the Castle Gateway project. Unfortunately, this part of the development has been subject to delays during the initial detailed design and costing process due to COVID-19, Brexit and the current inflationary pressures.

Because of these external pressures, as well as challenges in arriving at design solutions that were acceptable to the council during the initial detailed design and costing process, the decision has been made to terminate the existing contract with the external contractor.

To continue to drive the project forward, members agreed to procure a new contractor to complete the design and costing process, to allow construction to begin (subject to Executive approval).

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