York Councils strange priorities

Work has started on digging up the Tadcaster Road highway again.

Yesterday workers were ripping up the surface of The Mount prior to moving on down Tadcaster Road.

Initially new gas main pipes will be installed. These will be followed by the new drainage channels which should have been provided in the spring when the carriageway was last dug up.

The scheme can be contrasted with other urgently needed repairs elsewhere in west York.

School Street was reported this week for the umpteenth time only for the Council to respond saying that “no further work is required”

School Street area – a patchwork of potholes and faded white lines

Resurface Tadcaster Road cycle track plea

It seems that the Council will go ahead with its controversial plan to dig up Tadcaster Road again. No report has been produced indicating the scale of he planned works although the replacement of gas mains is included in the project.

Tadcaster Road cycle path is uneven and overgrown in places.

One area that could do with attention is the off road cycle track between Moor Lane and the A1237.

Parts of the, increasingly well used, path are in poor condition and could do with widening and resurfacing. This would be in line with government policies which seek to encourage the use of sustainable transport modes. So getting their agreement to use a small proportion of the £5 million available budget shouldn’t be a problem.

Narrow path makes social distancing more difficult near Golf Club

Would you believe it; They’re going to dig up Tadcaster Road again!

A Council media release today confirms what many feared. The Tadcaster Road carriageway is going to be dug up again only 3 months after it was resurfaced.

Resurfacing work was completed in June

The carriageway is currently in excellent condition and contrasts markedly with the condition of most other roads in west York.

But it seems that the Council jumped the gun when they undertook a £600,000 resurfacing scheme earlier in the summer.

Waste Of Money GIFs | Tenor

The government announced a £5 million improvement budget in July only weeks after work on the road was completed. The government was responding to a bid that the York Council had made earlier in the year.

It is likely that taxpayers will want to know a lot more about how this blunder happened.

The Council media release issued today says,

“One of the busiest roads in York is set to benefit from a £5million government funded road improvement scheme.

City of York Council was successfully awarded funding from the Department of Transport’s Local Highways Maintenance Challenge Fund.

The funding will enable to council to improve large sections of drainage along this route which will reduce localised surface water flooding. The work includes the delivery of additional pedestrian crossings and will ensure the road is maintenance free for the next 10 years. 

The authority has been proactively working with all the major utility companies, water, gas, electric, phones, to coordinate their future work. During this process it became apparent that Northern Gas Networks (NGN), were due to carry out major work in 2023. Working in partnership they have brought this work forward to 10 October 2020 ensuring minimum disruption for residents and commuters. The council works are scheduled to start in January 2021.

Cllr Andy D’Agorne, Executive Member for Transport, said at City of York Council, said:

“It’s excellent news that our bid for £5million to upgrade Tadcaster Road to reduce localised flooding has been reviewed by Government and is now in approved.  This will deliver much needed improvements to one of York’s busiest routes.

“Our primary goal is to ensure these works are coordinated with utilities companies so that the level of disruption for residents, businesses and visitors is reduced as much as possible.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Wasn’t part of Tadcaster Road resurfaced earlier this year?
Yes, the council bid to government for a scheme on Tadcaster Road. The council received confirmation in March that it was unsuccessful and would not receive funding.  Therefore the council resurfaced a section of Tadcaster Road as it was in need of urgent repairs between The Horseshoe and St Aubyns Place. 
However, in June the council was then awarded the £5million funding to improve large sections of drainage along Tadcaster Road which will reduce the risk of localised surface water flooding.

Northern Gas Networks have recently informed the council they have plans to carry out major works to their service at Tadcaster Road by 2025. The council was not made aware of these works before the section of Tadcaster Road between The Horseshoe and St Aubyns Place was resurfaced earlier this year.
Whilst it is not an ideal situation, the Council would rather sacrifice a small part of the works that have been undertaken already rather than risk the digging up of the major £5 million scheme in a few years’ time for the Northern Gas Networks scheme.  

£6.8 million extra for highway repairs in York

The York Council has an additional £1.8 million to spend repairing roads in the city. It comes for a central government “potholes and challenge” fund.

In addition, an additional £5 million is available to spend on Tadcaster Road although the carriageway itself there has already been resurfaced earlier in the summer.

Apparently, this additional funding will be allocated to improving drainage systems in the area.

Many roads and footpaths in the City are in poor condition so the extra investment will be welcomed by residents.

However, we are approaching the winter period so the Council needs to move quickly to get the work scheduled.

Potholed road finally repaired

Its good to see that the potholes on the Morrell Court access road have been patched. Earlier in the year the Council claimed that they were not deep enough to justify maintenance work.

No doubt the Kangaroo that jumped out of one last week managed to persuaded them otherwise!

Morrell Court May 2020
Road now patched

Tadcaster Road clean up required

Disappointing to see litter bins filled to overflowing on the Tadcaster Road entrance to the City. Also some graffiti. We’ve reported both.

Its also disappointing to see that the cycle path near the golf course still hasn’t received any maintenance.

Given that the Council has been rushing around trying to introduce new cycling facilities it seems strange that those which already exist are so badly neglected. Not the way to get people out of their cars and onto their bikes.

Huge amounts of money are on offer to Councils to get issues like this sorted.

cycle path being gradually overgrown. Surface now breaking up.

More problems with cycle paths

We’ve pointed out before, that the York Council is failing to properly maintain existing cycle paths.

Instead it seems preoccupied with launching new initiatives. Recently many of these have been ill considered and subsequently little used (e.g. the Marygate car park route)

The cycle path from Thanet Road to Foxwood is a case in point.

It has been impeded by a “lego” style barrier near Sherringham Drive for over two years. Despite pleas from the local residents association (who want the traditional style barriers restoring as the current set up allows access by motorcycles) there has been no response from the Council.

Nearby the cycle path itself is now cracking while a few metres away the white line markings have all but worn away.

There still doesn’t seem to be any systematic attempt to identify and repair defects.

Cycle path is now cracking up
Markings and white lines have worn away

£5 million Tadcaster Road repairs budget?

The government announced yesterday an allocation of £5 million for road maintenance on Tadcaster Road York. The local LibDem leadership promptly issued a statement saying that the money would be spent on “repairs”.

“There will be £5m each for plans to make the key route network in Liverpool more resilient, to begin further maintenance on the Swanswell Viaduct in Coventry, and for road maintenance on the Tadcaster Road in York“. – Boris Johnson

This will come as a surprise to many. Tadcaster Road (between Middlethorpe Drive and Knavesmire Gates) was resurfaced last month at a cost to local taxpayers of £600,000. This brought over a mile of carriageway up to standard.

That left a ½ mile stretch between Middlethorpe Drive and Sim Balk Lane to complete. Even taking into account the Tesco roundabout and adjacent off road cycle track (which does need to be reconstructed because of tree root damage) we wouldn’t expect resurfacing this section to cost more than £300,000.

There are many other carriageways in York which are in a much worse condition.

We hope that the Council will move quickly to confirm that the funding is intended to deal with the congestion black spot near the College entrance. There are unnecessary tail backs along Tadcaster Road at peak times as a result of large numbers of people leaving the college and using the pelican crossing.

College pelican crossing on Tadcaster Road

This is compounded by on carriageway bus stops and traffic lights at the Sim Balk Lane junction.

Even the provision of a footbridge would look like an expensive solution to this problem (and not necessarily a facility that everyone would choose to use).

So some further explanation is needed.

Ward highway improvements list published – nothing for Westfield?

It looks like the Westfield area has been snubbed in the latest highways maintenance budget allocations.

In another “behind closed doors” decision, tens of thousands of pounds, from “delegated” ward budgets, has been allocated for highway and footpath repairs plus some other work  like new parking laybys.

Areas benefiting are Bishopthorpe, Clifton, Copmanthorpe, Dringhouses, Fishergate, Guildhall,  Heslington, Heworth, Hull Road, Holgate, Huntington, Micklegate and Rural West.

One of the roads omitted from repair programme

The absence of Westfield from the list is doubly surprising.

Some local roads are in an appalling condition.

Local Councillors were given lists of problem locations over 6 months ago.

Poor weather in the intervening period has seen some surfaces – such as those on the Morrell Court access road – deteriorate quite markedly.

The report to the decision meeting gives details of how much money is available for local ward Councillors to manage.

It also explains the assessment process.

The Ward Highways Capital Scheme is a four-year programme formed from £250k p.a. of capital resources set aside from the main Highways Capital Programme. It is designed to allow wards to bring forward schemes that are important to local residents but would struggle to be prioritised as part of the main capital programme. A nominal allocation is made to each ward on a population basis. Wards are able to aggregate their allocation by carrying over / bringing forward annual allocations in order to undertake more substantial schemes.

The programme was enhanced in 19/20 through the allocation of the following one-off amounts to it:

  • £500k to use for highways improvements in respect of Roads and Footways
  • £500k to use for Walking and Cycling improvements

(NB. Details of how the walking and cycling budget is being spent were published a couple of weeks ago. Yet again no projects in the Westfield area were agreed).

The Council says the aim is to use this funding flexibly to meet the needs of wards whilst taking account of all relevant legislation and statutory guidance as highways are heavily regulated environments.

The following process is used to identify schemes:

  • Community Involvement Officers liaise with ward councillors, residents and key partners to identify potential schemes
  • The Highways team bring forward condition surveys, customer requests, and safety audits for consideration by wards to help inform their decision-making together with information showing the roads in the ward that are to be repaired through the main capital programme
  • Ideas are taken to a ward walk-about for initial consideration followed, where appropriate, by detailed feasibility work and any appropriate community / statutory consultation
  • The Highways team then form the prioritised ideas as far as possible into a coherent capital programme”

Wards not receiving an allocation were Acomb, Haxby, Heworth Without, Hull Road, Holgate and Westfield.

The list of improvements that have been agreed can be viewed by clicking here

Resurfacing works on key routes in York throughout June

City of York Council will be carrying out roadworks on key routes in June, The following works are being undertaken:

  • Melrosegate: Resurfacing works will take place from the 18 June for one day, working between 9.00am and 4.00pm. In order to carry out the work safely, the use of ‘stop and go’ traffic control boards between Fifth Avenue and the access to Tang Hall Community Centre, will be necessary whilst works are taking place to manage lane closures, together with the use of a lead vehicle convoy system to guide traffic past the works at a safe and constant speed.
  • Tang Hall Lane (Phase 1): Resurfacing works will take place from 19 June for two days, working between 9.00am and 4.00pm Monday to Friday only. In order to carry out the work safely, we will be closing the road north of Lang Avenue to south of Temple Avenue.
  • Tang Hall Lane (Phase 2): Resurfacing works will take place from 23 June for one day, working between 9.00am and 4.00pm. In order to carry out the work safely, we will be closing the road north of Hadrian Avenue to Hull Road.
  • Main Street, Wheldrake: resurfacing works will take place from 24 June for two days, working between 9.00am and 4.00pm. In order to carry out the work safely, there will be a full road closure and a fully signed diversion in place. The closure will be between the junction to Millfield Industrial Estate and the junction to Millfield Court, with access to both still available. Bus stops within the road closure will not be in operation, however, bus services will be available from the relevant bus stops outside of the closure points. Buses will be diverted from Church Lane via Greengales Lane, Elvington Lane, A64 returning to normal route at A19 Selby Rd. Same diversion in reverse for the return journey.
  • Vicarage Lane: Resurfacing works will take place from 25 June for one day, working between 9.00am and 4.00pm. In order to carry out the work safely, we will be closing the road at York Road.
  • Wheldrake Lane to Benjy Lane Junction: Resurfacing works will take place from 26 June for one day, working between 9.00am and 4.00pm. In order to carry out the work safely, there will be a full road closure at the junction of Wheldrake Lane and Benjy Lane and a fully signed diversion in place. Bus stops within the road closure will not be in operation, however, bus services will be available from the relevant bus stops outside of the closure points. Buses will be diverted from Main St via the other Wheldrake Lane to Escrick, Skipwith Rd then via A19 resuming normal route at Crockey Hill. Same diversion in reverse for the return journey.