Spark:York is an exciting new development proposed to regenerate the Castle Gate area of York city centre. Currently, within the planning phase this unique development made from shipping containers will be home to a community of local independent retailers, street food traders and social enterprises.
Directed by three York residents, the plans seek planning permission to transform the former Reynard’s Garage on Piccadilly into a community-led regeneration project. The site has been derelict for over 20 years, with the building finally raised to the ground in September2016. The new space will see 20 shipping containers repurposed as a venue for retail, restaurant, office and performance space. The plans also include a co-working space that would create room for over 20 socially minded enterprises, community herb garden, and a free meeting space for local groups. The three-year project will open this summer and close by 30th June 2020.
Having received over 260 expressions of interest from small, local businesses and individuals wanting a space to showcase their talents, Spark:York Director Joe Gardham said: there are three pieces of criteria for businesses applying for a space, firstly for the business to be local to York, independent and with a clear idea of what they can give back to the community. By asking the latter question it has really got applicants thinking about their business and how it can be more accessible and inclusive for all. One idea has been for the street food traders involved to provide a Christmas Day street food dinner for the homeless with a range of food that they might not have experienced before from Asian tacos to jerk chicken.
Within the design is an internal courtyard for communal dining that will see people trying different tastes of street food from all over the World. An event space is also proposed with a program of free entertainment from local theatre groups, acoustic music to comedy, which will give a different feel to Spark:York every time. A number of exciting street food traders have applied for a spot to showcase their talents. It will be confirmed at the end of April who the lucky traders are.
As a registered Community Interest Company, Spark:York will re-invest all of its profits into activities that benefit York residents. Spark:York Director Sam Leach says: “The plans we’ve submitted reflect a six-month process of consultation with local residents and businesses. Ideas have adapted and matured, reflecting the opinions of local people who are seeking to regenerate a tired part of our City. We have listened and feel these are exiting and professional plans that will greatly enhance the area”.
You can support Spark:York’s fantastic development until 22nd March here. For businesses, applications are open until 7th April.