Blue Badge holders asked for views on parking

City of York Council wants York’s Blue Badge Holders views on potential new parking in York city centre.

Front Street

Unfortunately the survey does not extend to suburban shopping areas like Acomb Front Street. One suggestion there is that the pedestrian area should be suspended on one day per week to allow access for Blue Badge holders.

The council says it is reviewing options to provide additional Disabled Parking locations at the edges of the pedestrianised ‘footstreets’ area. It is doing so before considering whether to make permanent the temporary changes to access arrangements introduced last year, potentially removing Blue Badge access exemptions on specific streets.

This would make the current temporary arrangements permanent, with no vehicles allowed to enter the footstreets area between 10:30am and 5pm (apart from emergency vehicles and a very limited number of service exemptions).

A separate consultation will take place over the decision. For now the council wants to understand how useful these potential additional Blue Badge parking locations next to the footstreets would be.

The new locations represent a mix of new parking bays, potential shared spaces and options to improve some double yellow line parking with dedicated bays.

The areas under consideration are: 

  • Junction of Blake Street and Duncombe Place – next to the Visit York building and Grays Solicitors,
  • Duncombe Place Horse and Carriage Bay – on the road leading to the Minster,
  • St Andrewgate – the road leading down the side of Barnitt’s onto King’s Square,
  • St Andrews Place, off St Andrewgate,
  • Deangate – between the Cross Keys and the Minster,
  • Stonebow – outside Calvert’s carpets,
  • St Denys Road – near St Denys’ Church,
  • Cumberland Street – by the York Opera House,
  • Lord Mayor’s Walk – alongside the wall near Monk Bar,
  • St Leonard’s Place – near the De Grey Rooms.

As part of the consultation, the council is also talking to other users of these spaces, including taxi associations, neighbouring businesses and residents.

Help shape York’s new community woodland

City of York Council says it is “seeking the views of residents and local organisations on its plans to create an extensive community woodland area near Knapton”.

The project got off to a poor start with behind closed doors decisions eventually committing the Council to purchase farming land valued at around £2 million for the forest.

No business case was ever presented which compared the financial and environmental benefits of a forest with the existing food production use or indeed more obvious uses in support of environmental challenges.

The survey includes questions on the 194-acres of land to the West of York, including “suggesting a name for the new area“, which sounds slightly patronising to us. The important decisions have already been taken but if you think that Knapton Wood should be called Sherwood Forest North then please let us know!

The council says, “As part of its commitment to creating a cleaner, greener city and its ambitious target of reaching net zero carbon by 2030, the council plans to plant 50,000 trees on the site by the spring of 2023. As well as acting as a ‘carbon sink’, the green space will boost the health and mental wellbeing of local people by giving them somewhere to exercise, spend time outdoors in nature and a place for quiet contemplation. It will be an important wildlife habitat, enhancing biodiversity in York, as well as creating new green jobs and volunteering opportunities, helping to boost the development of green skills”.

In recent months the council has completed a detailed land character assessment to explore the site’s existing flora and fauna, landscape, soil types, drainage features and access points.  This process has given the council a good understanding of the opportunities and constraints presented by the site, and helped to shape a series of different design concepts showing how the woodland could look.

Residents are now being asked to share their views on the design concepts so that their feedback can help shape the council’s plans for the site, as well as offer an insight into the role that residents and local groups can play in its creation and ongoing management. As a part of the consultation, residents are also invited to suggest possible names for the new woodland that reflect the heritage of the local area and tie in with the project’s ambitions.

Pay on Exit introduced in Marygate and Coppergate

From this week, Marygate and Coppergate Centre Car Parks (formally known as Piccadilly) now offer new ‘pay on exit’ car parking.

We think that this is a step forward but the top priority remains to improve digital signage and communications to prevent unnecessary trips by drivers seeking parking spaces. That is particularly important at these two car parks which are accessible only by awkward routes.

It is several years since the Council switched of some of its advance car parking space availability signs. A promise that available space information would be integrated into “Sat Nav” systems has not yet materialised., although this si common on electric vehicle charging platforms

The result is unnecessarily long journeys with all that entails in terms of extra pollution.

So now the City of York Council, in partnership with York BID, have introduced the new ‘pay on exit’ equipment, which has been upgraded to enable customers to pay for parking as they leave the car park, in a hope to improve the customer experience.

The new ticketless systems will enable residents and visitors to pay for parking as they leave, rather than in advance.

A successful ‘pay on exit’ trial was undertaken in Marygate car park back in 2016 and the new system has now been expanded to the Coppergate Centre car park too.

The new system uses ANPR cameras to provide ticketless parking at both car parks. ANPR cameras will read the car registration plate on entering the car park. When visitors leave, all they need to do is go to the payment machine and type in their car registration plate.

Blue badge holders are able to scan their barcode or QR code for free or discounted parking at the Coppergate Centre car park. At Marygate, where designated disabled parking bays are outside the car park and  occupied, blue badge holders wishing to park inside the car park are able to scan their barcode or QR code for free or discounted parking.  

ANPR cameras will read the car registration plate on leaving the car park and all visitors need to do is pay any required charge for their stay.

The ticketless parking system will recognise that payment has been made and the barrier will raise automatically to allow drivers to exit.

The introduction of ANPR systems mean car park scratch cards are no longer able to be used in the car parks.
If anyone holds a parking permit for a car park where ANPR ticketless parking is in place, they’ll still be able to use the car park as normal. To find out more on this visit the page on the council website.

It’s hoped that the ‘pay on exit’ system will be rolled out across other city car parks.

Please note: Marygate car park currently has reduced capacity during the important Environment Agency works taking place in the area, and larger vehicles will be operating/using the narrow access road.

The new pay on exit payment systems have been introduced as the new national restrictions change from 12 April to include:

  • Non-essential retail reopening
  • Outdoor hospitality is allowed
  • Personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons can resume
  • Libraries, community centres and indoor leisure facilities can reopen (but only for use by people on their own or in household groups)
  • The rule of six or two households still applies and we can only spend time with those we don’t live with outside.

Restrictions remain in place, which means you will still need to sanitise your hands, wear face coverings and keep socially distanced. 

The council is continuing to support local businesses and has prepared for the next stage of lockdown rule easing on 12 April. Extra measures introduced in the city will include:

  • The installation of temporary public toilets, additional litter bins and additional cleaning taking place in the city centre
  • extending the Covid Support Marshalls programme until the end of June
  • submitting planning applications required for temporary managed outdoor spaces to help people see friends and family safely
  • making it easier for people to get tested, offering a collect option at our testing sites and opening up symptom-free testing to all adults and children of secondary school age and above.

Shoppers returning as York City centre reopens

Restrictions on shops, hairdressers and outside catering eased today. Sunshine helped to attract a good number of visitors to the City centre.

Some streets cleaner

Good to see that progress has been made in clearing moss and detritus from the Grange Lane – Chapelfields Road snicket. Nearby hydrants sign – damaged 2 years ago – has still not been repaired

and the lane to the rear of the Front Street/ Beaconsfield Street is tidier than it has been for some time

Coronavirus York updates; 9th April 2021

Deaths

There have been no additional coronavirus hospital deaths announced today

Test results

The authorities have changed the way that they count case numbers. The consequence is that the cumulative totals have been changed. The York cumulative figure is now 12,156.

The table and graphs below reflect the revised figures.

The number of cases in the City has fallen from 33 yesterday to 25 today. The downward trend in case numbers continues to mirror the profile seen in May/June last year. In 2020 case numbers in the City eventually fell to just one at the beginning of August 2020.

The rate per 100k population figure has fallen to 11.87. It is expected to remain at around 10 for the next few days.

This is the lowest rate seen since the 1st September 2020.

There is a steady reduction in case numbers at regional and national level

Neighbourhoods

Little change today at neighbourhood level with only three areas having more than 3 cases in each

Vaccinations

The table indicating the number of adults vaccinated in each York neighbourhood has been updated.

The figures vary from the lowest 31.6% (Tang Hall) to the highest 74.6% (Haxby).

However, this largely reflects the differing age structure of the local populations.

Areas with higher numbers of people aged under 50 are now receiving more vaccination invitations

By Tuesday (6th April) the number of residents who had received their first vaccination was 53.6%. Those receiving their second dose had increased to 9.3%.

York Hospital Trust patient numbers

A further fall in COVID-19 local patient numbers has been reported today.

Tests

3,793 PCR tests were carried out during the week ending 4th April 2021

Of these, 0.6% were positive. That is lower than the 0.7% recorded the previous day

2140 “lateral flow” tests were also carried out on 8th April

Council commentary

The York Council has updated its “open data” commentary on the pandemic

It is reproduced below for ease of reference

The data is accurate as at 8.00 a.m. on Friday 09.04.21. Some narrative for the data covering the latest period is provided here below:

People with Covid Symptoms

• NHS Pathways/111 triages – as at 5.4.21 there had been 73 total covid triages in the CYC area in the last 7 days. The peak number of triages was 653 in the 7 day period to 20.9.20.

• As at 8.4.21, the Covid Symptom App estimates 43 per 100,000 in York with symptomatic covid (responses from a sample of 4,223 people). The peak rate was 1,283 on 7.1.21.

Diagnosed cases

• As at 8.4.21 York has had 12,225 cases since the start of the pandemic, a rate of 5,804 per 100,000 of population. The cumulative rate in York is below the national (6,789) and regional (7,008) averages.

• The PHE ‘Exceedance’ rating compares the no. of new cases over a 14 day period with the previous 6 weeks and provides a RAG rating to indicate if the previously observed trend in the number of new cases is worsening. The latest rating for York (6.4.21) is Red. This is due to a higher than ‘expected’ number of cases on 2 occasions in the most recent 14 day monitoring period. In recent weeks the number of cases have been low in York which has an effect on the thresholds used to determine the RAG rating – a small change can mean the difference between a red, amber and green rating.

• The provisional rate of new Covid cases per 100,000 of population for the period 31.3.21 to 6.4.21 in York is 10 (using data published on Gov.uk on 8.4.21).

• The latest official “validated” rate of new Covid cases per 100,000 of population for the period 28.3.21 to 3.4.21 was 15.7. The national and regional averages at this date were 37 and 75.5 respectively (using data published on Gov.uk on 8.4.21).

• York is currently ranked 13th out of 149 Upper Tier Local Authorities (UTLAs) in England with a rank of 1 indicating the lowest 7 day rate.

• For the 7 day period 27.3.21.to 2.4.21, 1 ward (Fulford & Heslington) has seen a statistically significant rise in rates compared with the 7 day period 20.3.21 to 26.3.21. The remaining wards have shown no significant change. The number of cases in each ward varies from 0 to 7 and rates vary from 0 to 131 per 100,000. 6 wards had zero cases in the latest 7 day period.

• The rate of new Covid cases per 100,000 of population for the period 28.3.21 to 3.4.21 for people aged 60+ in York was 14.1. The national and regional averages were 12.4 and 24.5 respectively.

• As at 6.4.21, the latest 7 day positivity rate in York (Pillar 2 PCR tests only) was 0.67%. The national and regional averages are 1.8% and 4.1% respectively.

• As at 6.4.21 the latest 7 day positivity rate in York (Pillar 2 Lateral Flow Tests only) was 0.08%. The national and regional averages are 0.1% and 0.3% respectively.

• As at 6.4.21 the latest 7 day positivity rate in York (Pillar 1 tests only) was 0.1%. The national average is 0.8%.

• As at 8.4.21 York University reported 1 individual within the University community who was currently self-isolating because they have had a positive COVID-19 test. The peak number was 331 on the 19.10.20.

• As at 5.4.21 York St. John reported 0 individuals within the University community who were currently self-isolating because they have had a positive COVID-19 test. The peak number was 82 on the 8.10.20.

Contact Tracing

• Since 28.5.20 a total of 11,349 confirmed CYC Covid cases have been uploaded into the NHS Test and Trace system and 10,247 of the cases have been completed (90.3%). 26,455 ‘contacts’ of these cases have been identified and 20,070 of these have been completed (75.9%).

Cases in Residential Care Settings

• As at 8.4.21 there were 0 care homes in the CYC area with confirmed Covid-19 infection (at least 1 case of either a staff member or resident).

• The latest ‘outbreak’ (2+ cases) in a residential care setting in York were reported by PHE on 25.2.21 (1 home).

Cases amongst School Aged Children

• In the 7 days up to 5.4.21 there were 7 children of primary and secondary school age who tested positive across 3 schools.

COVID Bed Occupancy in York Hospital

• As at 31.3.21 there were 9 confirmed Covid-19 patients in General and Acute beds. The peak number was 157 on 19.1.21.

• As at 31.3.21 there were 3 confirmed Covid-19 patients and 0 suspected Covid-19 patient in the Intensive Treatment Unit. The peak number for people in ITU was 19 on 10.5.20.

• As at 31.3.21 there had been 0 patients admitted with suspected Covid-19 and 0 with confirmed Covid-19 in the previous 24 hours.

• As at 31.3.21 there had been 2 confirmed patients discharged with COVID-19 in last 24 hours.

• Between 22.3.21 and 28.3.21, 12 CYC residents were discharged from York hospital after needing NHS care for symptoms linked to covid-19 infection.

R Number

• The ‘R’ value (the number of people that one infected person will pass on a virus to, on average) for the North East and Yorkshire area on 2.4.21 was estimated to be in the range 0.8 to 1.0. The previous estimate was (0.8 to 1.0) on 26.3.21.

Total Vaccinations

• As at 7.4.21 a total of 93,351 CYC residents have had the first dose of the vaccine. This represents 44.3% of the estimated total population of York and 53.7% of the estimated adult (18+) population of York.

• As at 7.4.21 a total of 16,734 CYC residents have had both doses of the vaccine. This represents 7.9% of the estimated total population of York and 9.6% of the estimated adult (18+) population of York.

Deaths

The two sources about deaths from Covid-19 at LA level are ONS data and local registrar data. They are derived from the same source (civil registration data). ONS data is more comprehensive as it includes deaths of York residents which have occurred and been registered outside York. Local registrar data is useful as it enables a breakdown by age and gender. The most recently available data is summarised below:

• ONS weekly data: In the most recent period (Week 11: 13.3.21 to 19.3.21) 2 Covid-19 deaths were recorded as having occurred for CYC residents. In weeks 8, 9 and 10 there had been 6 ,6 and 3 deaths respectively.

• ONS Cumulative data: Since the start of the pandemic, for deaths occurring up to 19th March 2021 and registered up to 27th March 2021, 386 Covid-19 deaths were recorded as having occurred for CYC residents (226 in hospital, 131 in care homes, 21 at home and 8 in a hospice). The number of deaths per 100,000 of population in York is 183.3 which is lower than the national average of 227.7

• Local Registrar data (Cumulative): Since the start of the pandemic (using data for deaths occurring up to 17.3.21), a cumulative total of 369 deaths of CYC residents where COVID-19 was mentioned (confirmed or suspected) on the death certificate, have been registered. The average age of the people who died was 82.3, with an age range of 44-104. The age profile of those dying in York is older than the national average (79.9% of those who died in York were aged 75+ compared with 73.2% nationally). 178 of the 369 were male (48.2%), less than the national average (54.3%).

Better news for York – Selby cycle path users

Major resurfacing works on the Naburn to Riccall section of the cycle path are expected to take place later in the year.

The cycle path managers SUSTRANS have applied for a government grant which – if approved by Ministers in May – would see large sections of the path levelled.

The surface has been severely damaged by tree roots in recent years. SUSTRANs have already been removing some of the trees during the winter. The trees are self-seeded and became established too close to the path.

There is a hope that the resurfacing contract will include the provision of root protection guards.

 SUSTRANS also have funding to repair the path alongside the A64 subject to agreeing the details with Highways England.

SUSTRANS say that parts of the path may have to be closed while the resurfacing work takes place.

There is still no news about the promised safety improvements on the section of path from Tadcaster Road (London Bridge) to the A64 southern by-pass.

This section is the maintenance responsibility of the City of York Council.

The developers of the adjacent football club pavilion agreed some 3 years ago to invest in the path as part of their works.

With roads and footpaths to the pavilion now approaching completion, we expect the York Council to announce its proposals and timetable  for improvements to the adjacent cycle route.

Escrick Sidings

Not such good news at Escrick where the landowners have completed the levelling of the area.

The informal picnic area has been damaged in the process (albeit revealing a disappointing amount of accumulated litter!) .

SUSTRANs say that they have received no communication from the owners of the land (believed to be a local building firm). The site falls within the boundaries of the Selby District Council.

Community Stadium cost to taxpayers – £1.6 million a year.

A response to a Freedom of Information request has made the ongoing costs of running the Community Stadium clearer.

The cost of the project has escalated over the years. The scheme, in 2011, was intended to be self funding. The stadium construction would have been paid for by the developer of the neighbouring retail centre. A £16 million budget was set aside as part of a section 106 agreement.

However, it became clear in February 2021 that the Council would in addition have to borrow £16.5 million to fund the completion of the project.

The Council has made what is known as a “minimum revenue provision” (MRP) in its revenue budget of around 7% to cover interest and principal repayments on the borrowing.

This represents an annual liability of around £1.2 million.

To this must be added the running costs.

So the cost to Council taxpayers will be around £1.6 million in total this year. Most of the costs will be ongoing. By way of comparison, the contract for running all York’s libraries is £2.4 million a year.

The FOI response makes it clear that the budget does not make any provision for compensatory payments to GLL to make up for lost income during the lockdown. In other parts of the country COVID grants and loans to leisure contractors have been controversial. click

Of course, GLL do have liabilities. The Yearsley swimming pool, as a stand alone facility, has always been subsidised. The pool continues to provide a unique facility for fitness swimmers and must be sustained.

But elsewhere in the City the organisation has been criticised for losing contact with the needs of local communities. High admission charges at Energise – which lies in the middle of one of the poorest York neighbourhoods – remain an barrier for some potential users.

The Council seems to have left itself with insufficient opportunities to attract additional income from the stadium complex to help offset its investment and borrowing costs.

The project should be subject to an independent review.

Vehicle recharging “HyperHub” plan for Union Terrace car park.

Part of the Union Terrace car park would be converted into an electric vehicle recharging site under Council plans.

Three 50kW Rapid chargers and three 150kW Ultra-Rapid chargers would be installed on a central charging island. Four double headed 7kW Fast charge points would also be installed across 8 parking bays in the main car park, adjacent to the HyperHub.

The proposal, which involve the loss of about 20 ordinary parking spaces, is being discussed next week. It replaces a plan to establish the facility on Bootham Court. This site was subsequently abandoned.

The project is expected to cost £900,000

York’s EV charging strategy includes the deployment of Ultra-rapid charging hubs, known as HyperHubs, at strategic locations around the city.  £1.35million funding was awarded by North Yorkshire LEP in June 2020 to develop York’s public charging network, of which £550k was allocated for the construction of a 3rd HyperHub located near the city centre.

There are no immediate plans to introduce “on street” charging facilities in terraced areas. These facilities have been provided in several City’s making use of the power supply to streetlights or bollards.

Two other HyperHubs are planned, located next to Monks Cross and Poppleton Bar Park & ride sites. An update can be viewed by clicking here

Electric vehicle charging policies received a panning by Which magazine recently

They said that

  • Accessing public chargers was unnecessarily complicated and that universal access was needed
  • Disparate rapid charging plugs were confusing
  • Charging by time was also confusing
  • As was the many variable charging speeds
  • Brand specific networks were considered to be unnecessarily

They called on the government to introduce a standardised approach.

The York Council could usefully add its voice to the calls for more regulation.

Join the conversation about Acomb Front Street’s future

Businesses, residents and visitors are being asked what they love and what they’d like to change about Acomb’s Front Street.

The consultation is the much delayed opportunity to help with the regeneration of the Front Street area.

Fruit stall

The council committed to a £50,000 investment in Front Street, one of the city’s most important shopping areas, before the pandemic brought about even larger challenges to high streets across the UK.

Acomb’s Front Street plays a vital role in the community and the wider city, and is home to many established and well-loved local independent retailers and community spaces. It has a lower than national average proportion of empty units, with occupancy rates bucking the UK trend by increasing significantly in the last three years.

The council is now asking for views which will help to keep Front Street at the heart Acomb’s economy and community.

The Council says that last year “we postponed the survey because of Covid-19. Your views in the survey will be used to create a ‘brief’ of community ideas which we can check with local people before the council executive decides what improvements to make”.

500 residents have already had a new COVID-secure knock on their door from IdB, a market research company working with the council.  The council is working alongside IdB to ask for feedback and ideas from a diverse and representative cross section of Acomb residents. The surveys will be dropped with residents in a sterile bag, along with gloves, an antiviral wipe and a return bag. The market researcher will then return later that day to collect the questionnaire.

Residents can also get involved by: