York Central – where next?

Following the recent decision by the Secretary of State not to call in the planning decision for York Central , City of York Council says it will “now continue to maintain momentum across the York Central site with the decision to release the next tranche of funding for the project”.

“The Council will now engage with its construction partner in finalising the design work for the enabling infrastructure; this includes the access road bridge and spine road through the site, a pedestrian bridge on Water End and a rail link to the NRM”.

There is no mention of addressing the “elephant in the room”. That is the major outstanding issue. – cycle/pedestrian movement from Leeman Road to the riverside and the City centre

The early plan showed a shared cycle track still using the (appalling) Marble Arch tunnel (which still has no waterproof membrane). Vehicle movements would be traffic light controlled, with public transport one of the main victims

This simply won’t do.

The Council needs to find an alternative route possibly via a new tunnel built to modern standards which provides access to the green spaces next to the river while also providing a traffic free cycle link to the City centre and beyond.

Te Council must address this issue in its imminent submission of a Reserved Matters planning application to open up the site.

The planning application will be funded partly by Homes England and partly from the York Central Capital budget agreed by Council in November 2018.

A report to the Councils Executive next week also sets out what opportunities can be taken, moving forward, to maximise the benefits of the York Central site; including a greater proportion of affordable homes, higher sustainable build standards, inclusion of York Central in the Clean Air Zone and an option to build a new bus lane ahead of schedule.

A report, published today, sets out the key benefits already secured, including:

·         extensive pedestrian and cycle route provision into and through the site

·         20% of homes available at affordable rates,

·         the highest sustainable design standards , and

·         around £15m developer contributions to improve transport infrastructure to encourage more bus passengers, cyclists and pedestrians.

The report outlines that the council, while waiting for government decisions on planning and funding, will work with the York Central partnership to explore other measures to amplify these benefits.

For housing, this could mean a greater proportion of affordable homes, higher sustainable build standards and community self-build in early phases of the development.

To improve the environmental impact, the council could require sustainable energy generation on site, include York Central in the bus Clean Air Zone, increase the number of electric charging points and build a new bus lane ahead of schedule to increase more journeys by sustainable transport.

The report highlights the delays to the programme due to the referral of the planning decision to the Secretary of State, and the decision over an application for £77.1m to the government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund. The report asks the council to allocate £750,000 to fund early contractor involvement to finalise a planning application for the bridge and spine road which will allow access to the site from Water End.


The York Central Partnership (YCP) members, Homes England, Network Rail, The Railway Museum and City of York Council, have been working collaboratively for the past four years to develop proposals and assemble a £155m funding package for infrastructure works to unlock the brownfield land. City of York’s Council has played a key role in providing significant funding streams to help deliver the project and fund the enabling access and infrastructure works.

York Central

The approved outline planning application includes proposals to build 2,500 homes, 20 per cent of which will be affordable, and a commercial quarter creating up to 6,500 jobs adding a £1.16 billion boost to the economy.

The Executive meeting takes place on 18th July. The York Central report can be found by clicking here.

York annual weed growing contest off to a good start

We’ve asked residents to nominate the highest growing weeds on public highways in the City.

These are roads, footpaths , bridges etc which should by now have been treated for weed growth by the York Council.

If left untreated the weeds will gradually break up the surface of the highway causing additional expense when remedial work is undertaken.

The weed control programme is normally sub contracted by the Council. Residents may have seen (or not this year) quad bikers in some streets spraying weed killer

Weeds in the Leeman Road area. Currently about 1 metre high but growing strongly

Weeds higher than 1 metre at the A59 junction near Poppleton. Gives a poor first impression of the City for visitors accessing the nearby Park and Ride site.
A long time problem location with weeds now nearly 2 metres high on the parapets of the Ouse Bridge. Happens every year but no weed killer is applied by the Council.
This year the weeds have been supplemented by a strong growth in tin cans (licet stagni)
In the right place, wild flowers can make a positive contribution to the local environment. These are outside the Foxwood Community Centre. They help to sustain bee populations as well as supporting bio diversity more generally..

Blossom Street roadworks

Ageing and outdated traffic signals on the Blossom Street pedestrian crossing are set to be replaced this month by City of York Council.

Works will start on Sunday 30 June and are estimated to finish on Thursday 11 July.

Blossom Street

New, more reliable, traffic signals will be installed and improvements will be made to the pedestrian crossing outside the cinema too.

The new technology being installed will help to improve journey times and reliability on Blossom Street and ease congestion in the area. 

The new traffic signals will also be cheaper to run and more reliable.  It will also enable the new systems to link direct to the council’s Traffic and Control Centre, so that the Network Monitoring Officers can manage the flow of traffic better in busy periods by adjusting traffic lights to best suit traffic conditions.

To help minimise disruption work will be carried out from 9.30am – 4pm during the week and also will take place on Saturdays and Sundays from 8am – 4pm. Temporary signals replicating, as closely as possible, the current operation of the junction will be in place throughout the works.

To allow for the works to be undertaken safely it will be necessary, at certain times, to close lanes.  This will only be undertaken outside the peak periods to limit traffic disruption and delay. 

During the works it is anticipated that there will be significant delays when travelling through the junction.  

A temporary signalised crossing will be provided during construction to allow pedestrians to cross the road safely. Pedestrian route, cycle routes and access to all businesses and properties will be retained throughout the duration of the works. 

Those using the route are urged to plan ahead, allow more time for journeys on these routes and to consider alternatives and to use public transport where possible. Bus services will be operating as normal for the majority of the works but passengers are requested to visit www.itravelyork.info/ for more information.

Information regarding this scheme is available at www.york.gov.uk/BlossomSt  

York Council action on Public Rights of Way?

A couple of months ago the Local Government Ombudsman criticised the York Council for the time it was taking in dealing with applications to have Public Rights of Way (PROW)  declared.

The Council has a long waiting list. It can sometimes take several years for the applications to be processed.

Some PROW access points are in a poor state of repair

Two applications are to be considered by the Council at a meeting being held on 25th July. They concern public footpaths at the following locations

The meeting on 18th July will be told that government legislation will make some aspects of PROW decision making simpler.

The Deregulation Act 2015 will have an effect on historic rights of way.

The Act makes changes to existing legislation affecting rights of way aimed at streamlining the application procedures for new rights of way under which landowners will have a greater say.

The key area of improvement relates to the process for determining applications.

Local Authorities are given the power to divert a route at the application stage should it not be suitable (for example where it runs through property such as working yards where there is a significant risk).

Other changes include restrictions on how long an application can remain at each stage of the process, gating of rights of way and the introduction of a basic evidence test. Many of the changes are aimed at ‘historic rights of way’ – routes based on documentary evidence from before 1949.

In order to provide certainty for landowners about what rights of way exist on their land, the government intends to close the definitive maps to claims of historic paths which existed before 1949 on 1 January 2026

NB. Amongst the PROW applications in the York Council queue to be considered is one, crossing Acomb Moor, linking Foxwood Lane to Osprey Close. Safety on the link has been criticised because of lack of maintenance of one of the stile accesses.

Urgent appeal for witnesses and dashcam footage after girl seriously injured in collision on Low Poppleton Lane

UPDATE –

UPDATE; Officers investigating a collision involving a 12-year-old girl and a motorcycle in York have arrested a man.

A 29-year-old York man was arrested at 8pm yesterday on suspicion of causing serious injury by dangerous driving and failing to stop. He remains in custody at this time.

Police are urgently appealing for witnesses, information and dashcam or CCTV footage following a serious collision in York this afternoon.

At about 5pm on Wednesday 12 June 2019, police received a report of a serious collision on Low Poppleton Lane, York, involving a pedestrian – a 12-year-old girl – and a motorcycle which left the scene.

Part of the road is covered by ANPR cameras which are used to enforce access, at a” pinch point”, to buses only.

Council chiefs, when the access restriction was reintroduced, courted controversy by saying that moped riders should dismount when they reached the “bus gate” and push their machines along the adjacent cycle track.

Low Poppleton Lane

A report on allowing two wheeled machines to use the bus gate has been outstanding for over 6 months.

The pedestrian suffered serious head injuries in the accident and was taken to Leeds General Infirmary for treatment.

The motorcycle, believed to be grey or silver in colour, left in an unknown direction. The rider is described as wearing a black jacket and had a white helmet on.

The scene is closed off and will remain so for several hours while Forensic Collision Investigators examine the scene. Motorists are asked to avoid the area.

The girl’s family are with her at this difficult time.

Officers are appealing for anyone who witnessed the collision or the motorcycle leaving the scene, or anyone who may have any dashcam or other CCTV footage of the incident, to contact North Yorkshire Police. Please do so as a matter of urgency, quoting NYP-12062019-0335.

Officers are also appealing to the rider of the motorcycle, or anyone who knows where the rider and motorbike are, to immediately contact North Yorkshire Police directly, or alternatively via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Really disappointing that potholes take so long to repair

Some potholes in York, reported weeks ago, have still not been filled. This is the time of year when the Council normally catches up on the pothole backlog which can develop during periods of icy weather.

The York Council doesn’t provide “real time” updates on the number of highway defect reports it receives and the progress made in addressing them, but there is a suspicion that some are written off without any action being taken.

Fortunately the LibDems, who lead the new administration at West Offices, promised in their election manifesto “to reconstruct all roads in York”.

Even allowing for hyperbole, that is a very expensive looking promise. Perhaps Council officials had better get on with drawing up a work programme?

Herman Walk potholes on access road
Corlett Court potholes (marked but not repaired)
Morrell Court has n uneven road

Windsor House demolition plan falls at first hurdle

Residents warned the York Council that local roads in the Ascot Way/Kingsway West area were too narrow to accommodate heavy construction traffic.
Windsor House construction site

Despite these warnings, the planning committee approved plans for the demolition of Windsor House but failed to specify any highway improvements.

The foolishness of that decision was highlighted on Friday when two very large trucks made their way from the site onto Kingsway West.

They failed to observe the agreed one-way system forcing other vehicles to mount the footpath and verge.

The traffic plan – regarded by many residents as inadequate – was published on 8th May. (Click here to read).

It was clear yesterday that it will be impossible for construction traffic and other larger vehicles, like buses, to pass each other on the twisting roads.

Several other conditions were imposed on activities on the site (click here). Most have still to be implemented.

Car parking is now at an even greater premium with whole of the Windsor House/Lincoln Court site cordoned off.

The problems have arisen only a few days before residents will be given an opportunity to quiz contractors on their plans.

The “drop in” meeting will take place at the Hob Moor School Children’s Centre (Green Lane) at 3:30pm on Wednesday 5th June.

There is still no news on the Council’s plans to provide an alternative play facility to replace the Multi User Games Area which will be lost when construction work starts. It had been hoped that by now, permission would have been granted for a new pitch to be provided on the nearby Thanet Road Sports Area.

There is also a major question mark about the costs of the “Centre of Excellence for Disabled Children” which will be constructed on the Windsor House site. A Council meeting on 18th June (click) will hear that additional funds are required to sustain the project.

One way system odged on 28th May 2019
Meeting on Wednesday

Action taken on verges

Good to see the Council out today cutting verges in the Foxwood area. Obviously there are a lot of very long cuttings now on paths and in gutters.

Grass on Foxwood Lane has now been cut
Parts of Manor Drive are overgrown. If the Council are planning to leave areas “wild” for nature conservation reasons, then they should consult with residents about their plans.
Elsewhere, problems with hedges obstructing paths are once again an issue. The hedges should have been trimmed during the winter. Above shows the shared use cycle/footpath along the A1237 near Poppleton. It is barely wide enough to allow two riders to pass by. The hedge makes it virtually impossible.
Its not just cycle paths that are vulnerable to overgrown hedges. This one in Hollyrood Drive obstructs the public footpath.

More improvements for cyclists needed

We mentioned last week that we hoped the new York Council would tackle some long outstanding problems with cycle routes

The biggest problem remains the state of road surfaces.

Potholes, like this on Bland Lane, pose a hazard for cyclists, particularly at night
Uneven carriageways are uncomfortable for cyclists. This is in Low Poppleton Lane
On the Beckfield Lane to Jute Road path a (very) old notice prohibits cycling. The Council has however fitted cycle friendly barriers.

The same Jute Road snicket is obstructed by weeds.
Detritus is a particular problem on the gated section
The cycle path link from North Moor Lane to Rufforth is taking a long time to complete

Over 1000 extra daily journeys on the new Scarborough Bridge

Over 4,000 pedestrians and cyclists have been using the upgraded Scarborough Bridge foot and cycle bridge everyday since it reopened after a £4.4m upgrade.

This is already an increase of 1,000 extra journeys on the average of 3,000 daily crossings on the old footbridge.

The new accessible bridge has been delivered in partnership by City of York Council, the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership (YNYER)and West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) through its £60m City Connect programme, aimed at encouraging more people to cycle and walk.

Although the bridge is now open to the public, work will continue to  complete sections of the ramps, install the permanent handrail and erect new lighting.

The new steps to the riverside are open for public use in an interim state, with the final Yorkstone finish and permanent handrail to be installed in the next two weeks.

The bridge and ramps remain open to the public at all times, although the public are reminded that direct access into the station remains – as it was before the upgrade – closed between 22.30 and 05.30.

The £4.4m project has been funded by a £1.9m grant through the Combined Authority’s CityConnect programme, a £1.5m Local Growth Fund secured by YNYER and £1m of City of York Council funds. 

At 65-metres long the new bridge is three times as wide at 3.7metres, increasing access to more people and the new ramps and steps mean that it is accessible even at times that the river is in flood. The new bridge is constructed of weathering steel – the same as Gateshead’s famous statue, The Angel of the North.

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

In March, the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and City of York Council were awarded £300,000 from the Government’s Transforming Cities Fund. to make further improvements to cycle and walkways between Scarborough Bridge, York railway station and the city centre.

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.