HERITAGE leaders are looking for ideas to turn the Eye of York into a “world-class space” fit for the world-class monument at its heart.

York Civic Trust says the area around Clifford’s Tower has been an eyesore for far too long.

It is organising a ‘gathering of ideas’ meeting to look for ways of ‘redesigning’ the spaces around the castle.

Civic Trust director Peter Brown said if the right scheme could be developed, “we may be able to proceed with applications for funding from other charitable trusts.”

The Civic Trust is organising an initial meeting at the Friends Meeting House on June 2.

It is inviting groups with an interest in the Eye of York – including the city council, English Heritage, York Museums Trust, Visit York, the York Archaeological Trust and other businesses and organisations with a connection to the site.

But there would also be up to 15 places available for members of the public who were prepared to give up a day of their time, said Mr Brown.

The Castle car park and parts of Piccadilly had “suffered from planning blight for generations,” Mr Brown said.

The blight on Piccadilly itself appeared to have lifted as a result of “a series of piecemeal developments” including LaSalle’s plans to redevelop the area around the Banana Warehouse and the council’s proposed sale of the former Reynard’s Garage.

But the castle car park, built in the 1940s over the foundations of an abandoned 1930s city hall, remained an eyesore.

“York Civic Trust believes there is an opportunity for a community-led project to bring forward general proposals to redesign the spaces around Clifford’s Tower, and to create, at last, a world-class setting for the world-class monuments,” Mr Brown added.

“There are many stakeholders who would wish to see this campaign succeed and the Trust would like to bring them all together to participate in a workshop – a ‘gathering of ideas’ – which distils down the principles through which any development on the site could take place.”

The meeting on June 2 is being organised by the Civic Trust as part of an Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded project, the York Living With History Inquiry, looking at the way decisions affecting York’s heritage are made.

If you would like to attend the meeting, email PeterBrown@yorkcivictrust.co.uk

Places will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.