Road and footpath resurfacing in York

The York Councils maintenance programme for the forthcoming year has been published. Expenditure of over £9 million has been identified although a lot of this will go on addressing surface water drainage problems. The schedule includes £700,000 for gulley repairs
surface water

The programme also includes investment of over £600,000 to maintain the City Walls, with the focus being on the Bootham section.

One of the most expensive single schemes will see Stonegate repaved at a cost of £500,000.

On the west of the City the carriageways on both Gale Lane and Tadcaster Road will be resurfaced. Cycle routes will get a £250,000 maintenance boost.

However, the funds allocated for footpath repairs is disappointingly low.  The identified major footpath resurfacing schemes are all on the east of the City.

It must leave residents living in streets like Walton Place wondering just how bad a footpath must be before being repaired.

Walton Place

Predictably last night the York Council woke up to the major backlog in highway repairs that has developed in the city during the last decade. Cynics may say that Labour and the LibDems vying to be the voice of the road user has something to do with the imminent Council elections which take place in early May.

However, successive residents’ surveys have confirmed that poor highway maintenance is now the biggest concern that residents have.

It will take a major and sustained boost in funding if the roads and paths in the City  are to be returned to a safe condition.

Planning application for front of York Station submitted

Plans that will see the front of York Railway Station transformed with the removal of Queen Street Bridge and reorganising the layout leading into the station have been submitted today.

It seems that successive Councils chose to take potentially risky decisions in the weeks leading up to an election. In 2015, the then Labour led Council, was in turmoil following the disastrous closure of Lendal Bridge.

Now the coalition has announced that the Queen Street bridge will be demolished.

The present Councils plan has a better chance of gaining public support. It is after all a bridge that serves no purpose and its removal would kick start the regeneration of the Railway Station precinct.

The Council says that the planning application has been submitted following an extensive public consultation in summer 2018 “which saw over 1,500 people share their feedback on the scheme”.

Following this feedback designers altered the master plan to take into account the comments. This lead to several changes, including:

  • moving the cycleway on Queen Street to reduce conflict with on street parking spaces
  • providing safe access for cyclists to the station from the west-bound carriageway
  • provision for a suitable system for managing rail replacement buses
  • incorporating appropriate counter-terrorism measures that are sympathetic to the station setting

After the planning application has been validated by the council’s planning team in the coming days. Once it has been validated, it will be available to view at www.york.gov.uk/planning

City of York Council is working closely with Network Rail, London North Eastern Railway and Northern Powerhouse to deliver the proposals. Different landowners and funding arrangements mean that plans for the area will be delivered in phases.

The project to transform the front of York Station will receive funding through the West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund, and the Leeds City Region Growth Deal – a £1 billion package of Government investment through the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) and Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to accelerate growth and create jobs across Leeds City Region.

For more information about York Station front visit www.york.gov.uk/stationfront

A bridge too near?


First walk across new Scarborough Bridge, York ahead of next month’s opening following £4.4m upgrade

The new bridge is the first over the River Ouse in York city centre for 138 years

Unfortunately it does little for cyclists travelling from, and to, the Leeman Road area who still face an unpleasant journey through the black tunnel of Marble Arch (which lacks a waterproof membrane). It remains a major obstacle to the development of the York Central site.

Scarborough bridge cycle track with train!

The first steps across the new Scarborough Bridge, York, were taken during a site visit today (Tuesday 19 March) to see how the £4.4m scheme to boost access for people travelling by bike or on foot between the train station and the city centre is progressing.

The new bridge has been delivered in partnership by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority through its £60m CityConnect programme aimed at encouraging more people to cycle and walk, City of York Council, and York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership (YNYER EP).  The bridge is due to open to the public next month (April).

Scarborough Bridge has been closed to the public since the end of January to allow for ongoing construction works, including the old footbridge being lifted out by rail crane to make way for the new, wider and more accessible shared use bridge. 

More than 3,000 people crossed the old footbridge daily, despite access issues. 

At 65-metres long the new bridge is three times as wide at 3.7metres, increasing access to more people.  It had to be lifted into place in four separate parts due to its size.     

Improvement works also include step-free access with ramps as well as new external steps leading to the riverside paths.

On the southern side a new path on the top of the embankment will mean people can travel directly between York Station and the new bridge, providing a traffic free scenic route to the city centre.  The new bridge will be accessible even when in flood. 

The original bridge was designed and built by Robert Stephenson in 1845. This first iteration saw the walkway placed between the railway tracks and was accessed by internal steps.

When York Station was moved in 1873-5 the bridge was updated to make it suitable. This is when the old footbridge was installed and, until recently, had remained largely unchanged for the last 144 years.

For more information about the Scarborough Bridge scheme visit www.york.gov.uk/scarboroughbridge

Lincoln Court update

The Councils Executive discussed the planned extension of the Lincoln Court independent living building yesterday. They agreed to progress the scheme and included a requirement for an alternative all weather games area to be provided in the ward.

It will be up to the planning committee at its meeting tomorrow (Wednesday) to include a condition requiring that the new facility is provided before the existing MUGA is demolished.

Windsor House is already being vandalised

It emerged at the meeting that 14 of the remaining 19 tenants have now accepted offers of alternative accommodation. When the remaining 5 will be offered, and accept, a suitable alternative remains in doubt. The adjacent Windsor House building, which is empty, is already suffering vandalism and there is a concern that the whole site could become a magnet for anti social behaviour.

Large delivery lorries are ruining roads in Lowfields. Similar concerns about Ascot Way

The Council is negotiating with the school to allow builders plant to access the site from the school side. There have been major problems getting large items of plant into the Lowfields site where roads are of a similar width to Ascot Way.

It has yet to be confirmed whether an (pedestrian) access will be retained from the school site when the redevelopment has been completed. This is considered to be essential to provide overflow parking capacity given that only 16 spaces are being provided on the Ascot Way frontage.

Large plant on Lowfields site. Working hours planning condition being breached?

Sadly members of the executive failed to probe why the new apartments have been described, in successive Planning Committee reports, as “extra care” units.

No doubt residents will get more clarification tomorrow

Criminal record checks on York taxi drivers

Council releases latest figures

The York Council is reporting that 917 (93.2%) of York Taxi drivers have successfully completed their Disclosure and Barring (DBS) checks. The checks were introduced to reassure passengers that drivers were “fit and proper” to hold a licence. A committee report goes on to say;

  • “There are 14 (1.4%) drivers with checks in progress with the DBS.
  • There are 22 (2.2%) drivers with whom we are checking ‘positive’ results. Please note that the DBS process flags all previous convictions and other matters which we may already be aware of.
  • Some 18 (1.8%) of drivers have indicated their intention to surrender their licence as they are no longer driving.
  • There are ten (1.0%) drivers who we have been unable to contact or begin the process for good reason (for example because they have a long-term illness) &
  •  three (0.3%) drivers are refusing to co-operate”.

A report to the same meeting – which is taking place tomorrow (Monday) attempts to deal with the issue of UBER drivers operating in York. Last year the Council refused to grant a licence to UBER to operate locally. The issue now concerns UBER drivers, with licences are issued by other authorities,
are still serving the City .

UBER

The report says that the Council is satisfied that having regard to the independent Legal Opinion, the settled legal position remains as follows:

“Provided the three licences required in relation to a private hire vehicle (operator, vehicle and driver) have all been issued by the same authority, then the private hire vehicle (PHV) can undertake journeys anywhere in England and Wales. That is irrespective of where the journey commences, areas through which the journey passes and, ultimately, the area where the journey ends”.

An alternative legal opinion has been provided by local taxi operators.

Pretty much a “BREXIT” style stand off then which only leads to confuse potential customers.

York Central moves another step closer with £37.32m funding decision

York Central has moved a step closer as £37.32m of external funding was promised to deliver the new generation of homes and higher paid jobs York needs and to improve the railway station.

The funding was confirmed yesterday (Wednesday 13 March) from the West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund and Leeds City Region Growth Deal – a £1 billion package of Government investment through the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), delivered by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority to accelerate growth and create jobs across Leeds City Region.

The funding will contribute to a new western access road, bridge and spine road into York Central, a fully accessible western entry into the railway station and the station frontage scheme which will bring a transformation of transport interchange facilities, enhanced accessibility and new public realm at the front of York station.

The scheme will support the delivery of up to 2,500 new homes and over 6,000 new jobs.

£23.5m of this funding will contribute to the £155m infrastructure funding package for York Central with a further £11.7m towards the costs of transforming the front of the station.  Together the two schemes will open up the 72 hectare York Central site which is surrounded by railway lines, and create vibrant and distinctive residential neighbourhoods, cultural spaces, and a high-quality commercial quarter at the heart of York.

The plans for the front of the station will demolish Queen St Bridge, improve the public spaces and improve the transport interchange to create a greatly improved fitting gateway to the city.  This funding is conditional upon the award of Housing Infrastructure Funding later this month and on the award of Planning permission.

The West Yorkshire Transport Fund money follows the £35m budget agreed by City of York Council in December. This will then be repaid using retained business rates from the York Central Enterprise Zone. The council’s £77m bid for the government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund is at an advanced stage, with a decision expected soon.

The outline planning application for the site will be considered by the council’s planning committee on Monday 25 March 2019.

York awarded £300k to improve links between Scarborough Bridge,York railway station and city centre

York has been awarded £300k to make further improvements to cycle and walkways between Scarborough Bridge, York railway station and the city centre.

Today’s announcement follows a successful bid by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and City of York Council through the Government’s Transforming Cities Fund.

These improvements will include:

  • An enhanced crossing of Bootham linking into the cycle route through to the district hospital.
  • Improving the riverside cycle route on the Esplanade side of the river.
  • Replacing the steps from St Mary’s to Marygate Lane with a ramp.

The funding will support the £4m upgrade of Scarborough Bridge, which is nearing completion. Works are being carried out by Network Rail to replace the footbridge attached to Scarborough (rail) Bridge on behalf of the council.

The new bridge will greatly improve this crossing and connect cycle/walkways directly to York Railway Station as well as providing access for wheelchair users. This additional funding will be used to improve further links between the bridge and the city centre, the hospital and York Central.

For more information about cycling or walking in York visit: www.itravelyork.info/ 

Hyper Hub recharging point plan for York

City of York Council’s Executive will be asked to agree to progress plans to develop rapid charging points – known as Hyper Hubs – for electric vehicles at two locations in the city.

A report that will be considered at a meeting on Monday 18 March explains that the council’s bid for a European Regional Development Fund grant towards the cost of the project has been successful, and also seeks agreement for the initial consultation phase of the project to begin in May.

If the go-ahead is given, Hyper Hubs will be developed adjacent to the Monks Cross and Poppleton Bar Park & Ride sites. The Hyper Hubs will combine solar energy harvesting and storage with electric vehicle charging points, reducing the reliance of electric vehicles on the UK electricity grid and, at the same time, reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

A solar canopy would be erected over approximately 100 car parking spaces, with an energy storage facility located nearby. There would be a number of rapid charging points for use by private car owners, taxi drivers and business users. Depending on the vehicle, a charge could take as little as 15 to 20 minutes.

If approved, the £1.5 million cost of the project will be met using £800,000 of Go Ultra Low funding from the Office of Low Emission Vehicles and £700,000 of European Regional Development Funding. The council is also working to deliver a Hyper Hub with York Hospital.

To find out more about the report, or to attend the Executive meeting, visit: https://democracy.york.gov.uk/ieListMeetings.aspx?CommitteeId=733