PLANS have been submitted aimed at transforming York's Castle Car Park and the Eye of York into a new world-class open space.

City of York Council's application also includes making Tower Street a 'shared space' for pedestrians and cars, and creating a path around the base of Clifford's Tower, which would serve as an act of remembrance to commemorate the 1190 Jewish massacre.

A spokesperson said the newly unveiled design by landscape architects at BDP followed an open community brief produced in 2019, which set out ideas submitted by residents on the future use of the space.

York Press: Illustrative view of the site when arriving from Clifford Street   Image: BDP Design and Access Statement

They said the plans included:

  • A new open space to gather, play and enjoy new fountains and also host large scale events throughout the year
  • A park to transform the Foss riverside, and create a new link behind the Castle Museum into Castle Gardens and a new bridge to Castle Mills
  • A route through the former car park area to reinstate the historic Castlegate approach linking the city with the castle area

They said the Eye of York would retain its central oak tree and lawn, whilst increasing biodiversity, providing seating and a performance space for music, theatre and public speaking, and Blue Badge parking would be provided in the new Tower Street shared space.

York Press: Illustrative view of the site when arriving from Tower Gardens  Image: BDP Design and Access Statement

"New landscaping will create a feeling that you have arrived into a new place and will also create different qualities of space, from reflective and peaceful to lively and playful," they added.

Council leader Keith Aspden said the application's submission was another significant step forward for the Castle Gateway scheme.

“Castle Gateway is a part of our plans to make York an even better place to live and visit, creating a world-class public space for everyone to enjoy and attracting high quality events on our residents’ doorsteps," he said.

York Press: Design of the full scheme: Illustrative view of the Castle and Eye of York site  BDP Design and Access Statement

Cllr Nigel Ayre, executive member for finance and performance, said the 'truly bold and ambitious plans' would transform the culturally and historically significant area, and he hoped residents and businesses would continue to engage as the project progressed to ensure it delivered a world-class space.

But Tory group leader Paul Doughty, while giving a 'cautious welcome' to the news of a planning application, said there was a 'glaring ommision' from the announcement. "Nowhere does it mention about guaranteed replacement parking for the hundreds of spaces currently beside Cliffords Tower - critical to city centre retailers and businesses other than a suggestion of a few blue badge parking spaces on Tower Street," he said.

"Let’s face it, there can’t be much space for disabled parking on Tower Street and I certainly doubt of the numbers that Cliffords Tower car park has. Another slap in the face for disabled residents after what the LibDem/Green Council has already done in removing blue badge parking and access in other parts of the city centre!"

He also claimed the administration had gone 'suspiciously quiet' on plans for replacement parking in St George’s Field. "There has to be concern that is now being kicked into the long grass," he said, urging the council leader to publicly commit to replacing all the parking spaces lost through the Castle scheme.

The planning application can be viewed at under ref 22/00209/FULM. People can also email or write to Development Management, City of York Council, West Offices, York YO1 6GA.

York Press:  Illustrative view of the river walk with views towards Clifford’s Tower and the Coppergate Centre  Image: BDP Design and Access Statement

Events in February will also provide an opportunity for residents to learn more, including a Facebook Live online presentation and Q&A on Wednesday February 16 from 6pm to 7pm, hosted on the council Facebook page. Residents can submit questions in advance by email to and comment during the event if they have a Facebook account.

Hosted 'My Castle Gateway' walks will be taking place on-site on Saturday February 19, between 12pm and 1.30pm. Places should be booked in advance at