Approaches to Bootham Park, part 2

The closed and rusty gates of Bootham Park. Not sure if this is intended as celebratory decoration

Bootham Park gates, July 2014

On the previous page I left us hanging around on the boundaries of Bootham Park. Here we are again, at the gates. Pictured above in July 2014, when the TdF saw the street of Bootham decorated with yellow. The tape was perhaps a contribution to that, as it had some yellow in it.

What I’ve been wanting to do for a while and what I’m trying to do now in these Bootham Park pages is what I’ve always done, when I’ve had the energy and the time – to try to draw attention to things I think haven’t got enough attention elsewhere. I’m hoping to do that in a reasonably succinct way in pages of manageable length, so that you don’t get bored and leave.

It’s quite hard work. But let’s push those gates open. Actually, we don’t have to, as the side gate for pedestrians is always open, in my experience. So let’s go via that into this piece of land called Bootham Park, which has Bootham Park Hospital on it, and other buildings, including a handsome chapel. But there’s a lot to cover. Let’s just do a bit at a time. Let’s just start with its massive great piece of green open space, just inside that gate and those rusty railings.

Bootham Park, 1 Oct 2015

Bootham Park, 1 Oct 2015

The photo above is from a wander through here on 1 Oct 2015, the first day the hospital was closed. The hospital may have been closed but its grounds weren’t.

There’s a road and path through here, under an avenue of mature trees. I’ve walked through here many times. Here’s a photo from many years ago, more than a decade ago.

Bootham Park, tree-lined avenue, 4 Nov 2004

Bootham Park, tree-lined avenue, 4 Nov 2004

And one from ten years after that, in the summer, when the trees were in full leaf, in July 2014. It’s beautiful in the evening in particular.

Bootham Park, 24 July 2014

I’ve found a document suggesting that this a public right of way, this road and path through Bootham Park. It’s also part of the city’s cycle network. So I’d like to be able to assume that it would remain open if the hospital stayed closed, if the facilities moved elsewhere, and if the building was turned into a hotel or really expensive apartments.

But I’ve found it’s best not to assume anything. And I can’t spend the time researching it all, and trying to get all the answers. So I thought I’d just ask the questions.

What protection the main massive area of green space has I don’t know either. It has some, and views of the hospital seem to be thought of as important, from Bootham. But protection isn’t the same as public access.

Do we value our access to this massive area of green space and mature trees and interesting buildings near to the city centre? I do. And have in recent years become increasingly concerned about it.

I wonder how much this land is worth, this old ‘gala field‘ and the larger area. So much to consider.

More later. It needs several approaches, from different angles.

Bootham Park, 7 Nov 2015

Bootham Park, 7 Nov 2015

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  1. You’re right to be concerned; the powers-that-be rolled over when St Peters wanted to close an ancient right of way, so I don’t suppose any business creating a hotel or swish flats will want the likes of us tramping back and forth over “their” gardens.

    • Good point Frank. I hope the situation can be clarified regarding safeguards for future access. Not that I want the hospital to close, but trying to make sure we’re informed and prepared if that should happen. Seen too many places gated and removed from public access.

  2. Just been asked to leave when walking through with my dog. Security Guard “It’s private property, no dogs allowed”. Me “It’s NHS isn’t it? I’ve been coming here for years” Guard “Well it’s changed now”. I get that dogs aren’t allowed on the playing field but thought the rest was OK.

    • Had a similar experience a few weeks ago. But we weren’t walking a dog, so I think it’s a bigger issue than that. Just walking round the perimeter of the old ‘gala field’ at the front of the hospital, as I’ve been doing for a long while every now and then and more often in the last year or so. They can’t stop people using the roadway through the site but seem to be, quite recently, wanting to keep people from using the rest of the green area. As someone who’s lived in the area for a long time it seems to me like a major change. Not the security guard’s fault, he’s just doing his job. But this new approach to what many local people appreciated as open green space needs some investigation. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Not that the security guard doesn’t love doing his job of course.

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