Notice of Council elections published

The City of York Notice of Election for the election of Councillors and the election of Parish Councillors has been published.

The election takes place on Thursday 2 May 2019 with polling hours between 7am and 10pm, with the count taking place on the morning of Friday 3 May 2019.

Residents who are not currently registered to vote are encouraged to visit or call 01904 551007. All applications must be made by 12 April 2019.

Those who wish to arrange a postal vote can find further information at or by contacting Electoral Services on 01904 551007 or Completed applications for a postal vote must be received by 5pm on 15 April 2019. Postal votes will be sent out first class on 16 April 2019.

Any elector who wishes to arrange a proxy vote must have their application received by 5pm on 24 April.

We’ll be taking a look at the candidates, and the policies that they are supporting, in a series of articles over the next few weeks.

Local Plan update

York’s Local Plan is now one step closer to commencing hearing sessions led by the Planning Inspectorate.

This follows the submission of important evidence to the independent inspectors, who have been appointed by the Government to examine the plan.

This includes the modifications to remove housing site allocations (Queen Elizabeth Barracks, Strensall and Land at Howard Road, Strensall), which would remove 550 dwellings from the submitted plans housing supply. 

This follows a recent visitor survey commissioned by City of York Council, supported by Natural England, which highlighted that there would be significant effects on the integrity of the Strensall Common, a protected site, if the proposed housing sites adjacent to the Common remain in the Local Plan. 

A report detailing these recent modifications was approved by Executive at a meeting on Wednesday 7 March.

In addition to this, proposed minor modifications have also been submitted to formally revise the Objectively Assessed Housing Need (OAN) to 790 dwellings in York per annum. Minor amendments to the greenbelt boundary have also been proposed, in order to take into account recent changes such as planning decisions in York and the removal of the Strensall Barracks sites.

It is hoped that by submitting this evidence to the inspectors, progress can be made to take the Local Plan through the examination stages and determine whether it is sound.

Regular updates will be provided on the Local Plan submission webpage at:  

York to boast one of the biggest fleets of double deck electric buses outside of London

York will be home to one of the biggest fleets of double deck electric buses thanks to investment by First York and funding secured by City of York Council from Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV)

Today (25 March), City of York Council, First York and bus manufacturer Optare announced that 21 new double deck electric vehicles will arrive in York in October 2019. The zero-emission and fully electric buses each have the capacity to carry 99 passengers and have a range of over 150 miles from one overnight charge, which means that they don’t need to be recharged during the day. Alongside this, First York is also upgrading its charging infrastructure, and the state-of-the-art vehicles will feature audio visual next stop technology, USB charging points and will carry new-look Park & Ride branding.

York Park & Ride, an operating partnership between City of York Council and First York, supports over four million journeys every year and is one of the UK’s most successful Park & Ride services. 12 electric single deck Optare buses have been operating on two out of the six Park & Ride sites for the last five years; helping to improve air quality and reduce congestion in the city. Individual car use and the congestion caused is a big contributor to air pollution in York, but each bus can take up to 75 cars off the congested streets in York.

Marc Bichtemann, Managing Director of First York, said: “We’re proud to be the operator of one of the biggest fleets of double deck electric buses outside of London, as we continue to work with City of York Council to improve air quality in York.

“Today’s announcement showcases the benefits of partnership working in practice and we remain committed to investing in our bus services in York, as we share the same vision. By working together, local authorities and bus operators can make a real impact on congestion and air quality, provide better services for our customers, support local economies more effectively and, ultimately, help to increase passenger numbers.

“At First York, we are striving to make things better for the customer by making bus travel simple, speeding up bus boarding times, reducing journey times, using data to make better operational decisions and developing a customer relationship as opposed to a transactional one.”

For further information, visit

Bus services in York get thumbs up from passengers

Bus users in York hold local bus services in high regard.

The most recent independent survey conducted by “Transport Focus” found that 89% were satisfied with their overall journey experience.

85% thought that the journey time was reasonable while 77% said the buses were punctual.

62% of fare paying passengers said he service was good value for money (down from 79% the previous year)

Most of the respondents used First services. First compared favourably with many other operators across the country.

Bus drivers behaviour was widely praised.

The survey results bear out similar findings from a door to door survey undertaken by local councillors last year.

The detailed results are:

Huge York central development gets planning approval

A major development behind York railway station got the go ahead from the Planning Committee last night.

York Central site

It will provide hundreds of new homes and jobs over the next decade or so.

The site has been derelict, and mostly unused, for over 20 years. The progress made in bringing forward the site will probably be recorded by history as the major achievement of the current Council coalition administration.

The development is not without controversy.

The transport plans in particular lack the quality and imagination that many had hoped for. The developers will need to refine access arrangements from the City centre to Leeman Road particularly for pedestrians and cyclists.

Bus services must include a frequent park and ride link to off site parking spaces at Poppleton Bar.

Some courage will be needed if the site is to be declared an “ultra low emission zone”. Such a step would be an acknowledgement that the declaration of a “climate crisis” by the Council a few days ago was more than just rhetoric.

But overall the decision is a good one for the City, not least because it will reduce the pressure to build on green fields.

Hopefully we will see some development on site before the end of the year.