There is no business case for a new £14million multi-storey car park in York and the project should be scrapped, the deputy head of council has said.
Cllr Andy D’Agorne says the proposed car park to be built on the site of the existing one at St George’s Field will cost £116,000 per additional space, “which is not acceptable in terms of cost benefit”.
Speaking as leader of the green group, Councilor D’Agorne said it was important to support businesses in the town centre. “But our future view of this cannot depend on a large number of people arriving by private car.”
The five-storey, 372-space car park was proposed to fill the void created by the closure of the castle car park.
It will make way for the Castle Gateway project, where the area around Clifford Tower will be transformed into a new open space, riverside park and entertainment area.
Cllr D’Agorne acknowledged that the new St George’s car park has advantages, including being designed to operate on a floodplain which could not be used for other purposes.
But he now says: “While we believe the new car park might have provided a workable compromise between different concerns, our understanding is that there is now no strong business case to justify the proposed level of investment. in the multi-storey car park..
“Many people, like us, believe that in the face of the climate emergency and the need to reduce car travel in the city to meet our carbon reduction targets, using municipal investment to build a new parking lot is not is not the best way to go.”
According to the latest calculations, the construction of the new multi-storey – as opposed to the renovation of the current St George’s Field – would yield only 120 additional spaces.
“With a price for the new car park of over £14 million, that would mean a cost of over £116,000 per space, which is not acceptable in terms of cost benefit.”
The money saved could be spent on improvements planned under the Castle Gateway program.
“Many experts agree that the kind of public realm on offer at the Castle and Eye of York is a huge boon to the attractiveness and prosperity of city centers – worth far more in terms of supporting local businesses than 120 parking spaces!” Cllr D’Agorne said.
A decision on the associated Castle Mills development, comprising 106 apartments on Piccadilly, is pending until the summer.
But Cllr D’Agorne and his party believe that “the question of the new car park must be resolved as soon as possible, giving everyone the opportunity to work together to develop a transitional parking policy – making the best use of the existing capacity in the city car parks and the promotion of Park & Ride and active travel to move away from private car dependence while supporting the prosperity of our uniquely attractive city centre”.
We reported last week that a decision on whether to go ahead with the multi-storey car park – which already has planning permission – has been postponed until the summer.