A CONTROVERSIAL York city-centre car park has closed and bulldozers have moved in, prior to construction of a new hotel.

Car Parking Management (CPM) Ltd opened the 45-space pay and display car park on the site of the former Infinity motorcycle showroom in Walmgate last July, without planning approval from City of York Council.

A retrospective planning application was turned down after officials said allowing more car parks did not fit in with the authority’s policy of encouraging sustainable transport and reducing the amount of private vehicles in the city centre.

Sojourn Hotels received permission for a Hotel Indigo on the site in 2011, saying it would create 40 new jobs, but work never started.

A spokeswoman for Sojourn Hotels was unable to comment yesterday, other than to say the new hotel was not now scheduled to open until spring 2015.