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Walmgate car park faces closure
A NEW car park in York faces closure after being refused planning permission because council bosses want to cut city-centre car use.
Car Parking Management (CPM) Ltd opened the 45-space pay-and-display facility in July on the site of the former Infinity motorcycle showroom in Walmgate, despite not having gained approval from City of York Council.
The firm’s planning application, submitted after the authority said it would investigate a possible breach of planning rules, has now been turned down. Officials say allowing more car parks does not fit in with their policy to “encourage sustainable transport and reduce the amount of private vehicles in the city centre”.
CPM had wanted temporary retrospective permission to run the car park until Sojourn Hotels starts work on a 102-bedroom Hotel Indigo on the site, which is expected to happen towards the end of the year.
The company could not be contacted yesterday, when the car park was still open, and it is not yet known if an appeal may be lodged,.
CPM has previously said a “significant” amount of money had been spent on clearing up and resurfacing the land.
In a report on the application, council planner Jonathan Kenyon said the authority’s design, conservation and sustainable development section and its highways officials felt allowing the site to be used as a short-term car park was acceptable.
However, he said: “To use the site as a car park will conflict with the aspirations of the Local Plan (the council’s emerging development blueprint}) in that it seeks to discourage private car-parking, reduce congestion in the city centre and improve air quality.”
Mr Kenyon also said that while CPM claimed the car park would only operate for about three more months, the council had “no assurance” over work on the hotel starting, as two-and-a-half years had passed since it was approved. He said that if this development did not come forward, there would be pressure to allow the car park to keep operating and it could set a precedent for other sites, while enforcement action may be taken to landscape the “unkempt” Walmgate land if no hotel was built.
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