The York Council is delivering a leaflet to all households outlining its plans for resurfacing works in the City centre.
They are right to do so but, in pointing to improvements planned for Exhibition Square, Blake Street and Fossgate, they lamentably fail to answer the question that will be on every taxpayer’s lips.
How much will these paving schemes cost?
There is little new in the leaflet. The Labour Council changed the Council’s forward programme in 2011 putting the modernisation of Kings Square ahead of the Fossgate pedestrianisation scheme which had been set to go ahead in 2012.
Next in line were to have been improvements to Duncombe Place, which could have provided a large and useful pedestrian precinct.
But the Councils increasing financial problems meant that progress would inevitably have slowed.
Residents might usefully have been asked when completing the “on line” survey whether they want any of these schemes to go ahead or whether the money might be better spent repairing the roads in sub-urban areas?
The danger in the Councils approach is that the improvement of the City centre may become politically toxic.
Against a background of plans for a further £1 million cut in road maintenance in sub-urban areas, residents are likely to demand of Council candidates – at the next local elections in 2015 – a commitment to improving public service standards in residential areas.
The City centre may find that its share of available resources is reduced.