In a behind closed doors decision, the York Council has agreed to spend £18,000 on new “Totem” signposting in the City centre.
A project, backed by the York BID and apparently with the approval of the York Civic Trust, will cost £36,000 for the trial in total The sum is mainly being spent on consultant’s fees but will result in some trial “Totems” being deployed.
The report goes on to say, “If the trial is successful and the programme is rolled out, this would need a significant contribution from both parties (for) which the BID has made provision and the authority would need to determine its position as a Council later in the Year”.
It is unclear how much this project may end up costing taxpayers and whether the funding would come from the “Make it York” organisation which now handles the city’s tourism budget.
The decision – taken by a Council official – is likely to widen the gap between the expectations of residents living in sub-urban areas and City centre focussed institutions.
Recently a commitment was made to fund a replacement for the Parliament Street fountain while additional expenditure may also result from the decision to make the revised Fossgate one-way system permanent.
There is a big question mark over the costs of maintaining the Guildhall now that the Council’s “business centre” project has collapsed. There are similar financial question marks about the Castle/Piccadilly redevelopment and York Central.
In residential areas, people are increasingly concerned about the quality of local highways. Many street nameplates are also in need of repair. Public service standards are under unprecedented pressure.
Residents may feel that – unless paid for by business – the existing city centre direction signs will be adequate to meet needs.
After all, increasing number of people use “on line” maps and smart phones to find their way around.
Additional street furniture may actually represent a backwards step.
ANPR cameras result in 3625 PCNs being issued between July and December
The York Council has finally responded to a Freedom of Information request tabled in January.
The response reveals that fines totalling £218,000 were levied.
£83,580 has so far been received by the Council. Most (2586) paid at the lower discounted fine rate
Since then (in January and February) a further 1131 fine notices were issued. This figure was suppressed by the road works which took place in the area during those months.
Of the fine notices issued in 2017, 1854 (51%) were to vehicle owners with addresses outside the YO postcode area.
There were 346 successful appeals against the penalty charge notices. Most of these were from “out of area” taxis and private hire vehicles.
No outstanding fines have yet been subject to a formal recovery process (use of bailiffs etc) .
The cost of administering the penalty charge process in 2017 was £61,958. The process is outsourced to a company from the south of England.
The figures are likely to give rise to concern. The levels of abuse suggest that the signage is still not being readily understood by drivers.
There are likely to be calls for a warning letter to be sent to first time offenders.
The Council was criticised in 2013/14 when thousands of fines were levied on tourists in the City who had used the – then restricted access – Lendal Bridge and Coppergate.
The resulting national publicity damaged York as a tourist destination, with its reputation only recently having begun to recover.
Visitor abuse of the restrictions is expected to peak in the summer months.
NB. The Council has not yet published details of the numbers of motorists fined following the introduction of ANPR surveillance of restrictions on Low Poppleton Lane.