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Flood resilient developments approved in York’s Castle Gateway

Our plans for the regeneration of York’s historic Castle Gateway area have taken a major step forwards, following the City of York Council’s decisions to grant full planning consent for two landmark projects.

Approval was given for the mixed use development of Castle Mills, on a brownfield site facing York Castle, comprising 106 apartments, ground floor commercial space, a new bridge for pedestrians and cyclists across the River Foss and an area of public realm around the base of the castle walls.

Our designs for a new multi-storey car park on St George’s Field were also approved, for a building which responds to significant environmental and heritage related challenges.  The site sits in the active flood plain of the River Ouse and within the setting of York Castle and St George’s Templar Chapel, which are both scheduled ancient monuments. Vehicular access is via the first floor of the car park, meaning that the ground floor of the building can be closed safely in the event of a flood. The adjoining flood wall will also be raised as part of a wider project by the Environment Agency. Once complete, 80% of the car park will remain accessible and useable if the site floods in the future.

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BDP has brought significant skill, insight and tenacity to the regeneration of the Castle Gateway. From the project’s inception, BDP was able to understand the city and its people, and articulate the area’s heritage in to a universally popular masterplan following decades of failed schemes and proposals. The team was then able to help us realise this masterplan by finding creative solutions for challenging development sites that had major constraints.

Andy Kerr Head of Regeneration Programmes at City of York Council

Flood risk assessments for both developments informed the design of flood resilient landscaping, along with civil and structural solutions. Flood water storage tanks will be buried into newly landscaped river banks that will include a floating planting bed system to maintain and increase habitats for local wildlife. The new bridge is also designed so that its soffit will be above flood water levels, with allowances for climate change.

Both developments will enable the relocation of car parking away from Clifford’s Tower and the Eye of York, so that this key historic and civic space can be given a new lease of life, for the benefit of residents and visitors alike.

Head of Urbanism Francis Glare, explains: “The successful outcome of the planning applications for the Castle Mills and St George’s Field developments demonstrates the value of properly engaging stakeholders in a masterplanning process to establish a shared vision and long term plan for the Castle Gateway area. The agreed framework provided a context for making sound planning decisions on sensitive historic sites, understanding the public and heritage benefits that will follow as the developments are completed. The focus for the regeneration of Castle Gateway has shifted towards public realm investment, which will encourage more people-based activities, local engagement and business investment in and around York Castle.”

Architect director Steve Marshall added: “York is an outstandingly beautiful city. Throughout the process, we were mindful of our responsibility to respect the character and heritage of the area and enhance the overall environment for local people. We worked collaboratively with the City of York Council, consultees and the My Castle Gateway team to develop proposals which addressed a long and wide-ranging list of aspirations and objectives, while meeting the challenges of both sites, using innovative and high quality design solutions. We look forward to the next stages in the process of delivering these projects as they will ultimately lead to the creation of world class public realm around one of the country’s most significant historic monuments.”

The team is now progressing proposals for the improvement of the public realm around Clifford’s Tower - one of York’s best known landmarks and the next step in realising the Castle Gateway vision.

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