Published Tuesday, 14th January 2020

Councillors to discuss delivery of first phase of Castle Gateway masterpla

Senior councillors are to discuss the transformation of the renowned Castle Gateway at a meeting of the Council Executive on Tuesday 21st January.

The Executive will be asked to consider a range of options to deliver the first phase of the Castle Gateway masterplan.  The masterplan, which has been developed through extensive engagement with local residents, aims to create new public spaces, riverside walks, pedestrian/cycle bridges, new affordable council homes and commercial space for small businesses.

The report to Executive recommends to progress phase one of the masterplan, which provides the foundation for the development of the entire scheme, and will bring a number of public benefits, including:

Replacing Castle Car park with a multi-storey car park at St George’s Field, allowing new public space to be created around Clifford’s Tower;
A new pedestrian cycle crossing over the inner-ring road, and a new bridge over the River Foss;
A new public park at the rear of the Castle Museum and a riverside pocket park on Piccadilly;
106 new apartments at Castle Mills, including new affordable Council housing;
New commercial spaces suitable for small independent traders or businesses.
Planning applications have already been submitted for most of phase one, with decisions expected to be taken later in the year.

Executive will consider a number of different delivery strategies for phase one, with the report recommending that the council should fund and manage the construction.

Cllr Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council, said:

“I am pleased that this masterplan has been developed through extensive engagement with local residents and that the Council is taking the lead on driving regeneration.

“This proposal, if agreed, will deliver a range of significant benefits to York, including the creation of new public spaces and sustainable transport links in the heart of the city, all whilst respecting our unique heritage.

“Looking forward, it is important the Council continues to exercise its influence to secure greater regeneration, so that we can work to deliver more homes, better public spaces and better options for people to travel sustainably.”

Councillor Nigel Ayre, Executive Member for Finance and Performance, said:

“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.

“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.

“The proposed net use of £3m of public funds would allow us to provide all the high quality public space, new cycle and walkways, space for businesses to grow and more homes with significant affordable housing.

“We remain aware that costs can change, so we’ll make sure we consider the plans further when we have detailed tendered prices for delivery.”

The report considers three options to finance and deliver phase one, each with a different balance of up-front investment and long term funding implications, alongside the option to discontinue the Castle Gateway masterplan.

The recommended option requires short-term borrowing but allows the council to retain control over the delivery and quality of the masterplan,  maximises the financial return from the development opportunities, and ultimately results in the lowest long-term funding commitment from the council to deliver the masterplan.

The costs for the delivery of the whole of phase one are estimated to be in the region of £55m, which would be largely repaid through the sale of the new apartments and external funding.

At this stage the Executive are only committing a budget of £2.15m to allow the appointment of a contractor to carry out the next stage of design work to finalise the costs. Once actual costs for the construction phase have been provided a further report will be taken back to Executive in late 2020 to commit the full budget and to proceed with construction.

It is anticipated that the St George’s Field car park will complete in summer 2022 and Castle Mills and the Foss Bridge in Spring 2023.

The new public space for residents and hosting events that will replace Castle Car Park will be part of phase two. A separate report setting out the business case and funding strategy for that phase will be brought back to the Executive in the summer.  

Executive takes place at 17:30 on Wednesday 21 January at West Offices and will be webcast live at To read the report visit

The first two planning applications to deliver the Castle Gateway masterplan have been submitted.  You can view them and follow the applications’ progress through the Planning Portal quoting reference number 19/02063/FUL for St George’s Field Multi Storey Car Park and 19/02415/FUL for the Castle Mills residential development and bridge over the Foss. 

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