Shopping centres quiet

On the third day of trading shopping centres around the City were reporting only steady shopper numbers.

There were spaces available in all car parks.

The unspectacular start may result in calls for the Council, and its agent Make it York, to step up publicity, street entertainment and special deals on car parking.

Plenty of free parking spaces at the Designer Centre at lunchtime today.

Meanwhile support for the campaign to have the Museums Gardens reopened is gaining momentum.

Paul Fawkesley, Founder of Treasure Hunt York, has emailed his support for the reopening

How did York’s first day of shopping go in the City centre

A lot is riding on the future of the City centre economy this week as most shops are now reopening. Shopper numbers yesterday were modest – broadly comparable to the numbers that you might have seen on the streets on a Monday in February.

This may step up as the week progresses and residents realise the choice that is available and that car parking space is easy to find (the Council have not discounted parking charges yet).

The reopening of pubs, cafes, libraries and hairdressers – and a loosening of public transport restrictions – would also bring a boost to visitor numbers although such changes are still some time away. It may be even longer before some major visitor and cultural attractions open their doors.

It will also be a few days before “footfall” figures are available (assuming that the cameras have been switched back on).

Generally, “social distancing” was being observed well by those visitors who did venture out. The City centre is clean and uncluttered. Buskers are out and about again but it will require the authorities to commission background entertainment if a “buzz” is to return to the pedestrian areas.

The Castle car park – which the Council is threatening to close – was about half full on Monday
Marygate car park was also half full. The social distancing lane – which reduces the car parks capacity – was little used
When cyclists and pedestrians appeared in Marygate they made their own decisions about were to walk and cycle. Ironically, in the photo, a cyclist has dismounted and is using the internal traffic lane of the car park. This could have been shared anyway without reducing the car park capacity.
Coney Street Monday lunchtime
High Petergate
“Lets be York” placards. From the “be alert” school of public slogans?
Not many queues in evidence. Those that were moved quickly like this one outside Marks and Spencer
Parliament Street
St Helens Square
There are several empty premises in the City centre. At other shops “closing down” sale notices are displayed.

Coronavirus York updates; 13th June 2020


There have been no further deaths at the York Trust hospitals. The total number remains at 212

Special Educational Needs (SEN) action

Following criticism about the way that young people with SEN were being treated in York, a list indicating the improvement actions being taken was agreed last week. Although normally such a report would have attracted some public interest, it was again dealt with “behind closed doors”. The report can be read by clicking here

Outbreak Management Advisory Board

The Government has announced the roll-out of the NHS “Test and Trace” programme across England, The programme will be supervised by an advisory board of 15 members (three of whom will be Councillors), which will meet every three weeks.

As the Council claims that it is still not party to the results of the tests being carried out at the Poppleton testing site, it remains to be seen how relevant this new body will actually be.

The report can be read by clicking here

Cheaper weddings – fee waived

The Government have indicated that the possibility of small weddings recommencing by July 20 is now likely.

In order to marry you need to give ‘notice’ (28 days) before any marriage and pay the appropriate fee (£70).

“As a number of the weddings that have been cancelled by the council at Government direction during the covid crisis will be rebooked in many instances the Notice of Marriage (NOM) has lapsed”.

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A repeat fee payment is not being sought by the Council.

It is unclear whether any discounted divorces will be available although, post lock-down, demand may be be high

Public toilets

The York Council has agreed to reopen public toilets click

Multi storey car parks reopening on Monday

The Council has agreed the following changes to parking arrangements with effect from Monday

1. Approved the re-opening of Piccadilly and Foss Bank car parks when Covid_19 based restrictions are eased and non-essential businesses open on the 15th June;

2. Approved implementing a 2 metre line around all Parking payment machines to assist with social distancing;

3. Approved the scaling up the parking enforcement operation from the 8th June (subject to COVID_19 alert stage), with an advisory letter being used for the first week (up to the 15th June) at the parking service’s discretion;

4. Approved the restart of the Abandoned vehicle service from the 15th June;

5. Approved to reinstate car park capacity in the city centre by the 15th June 2020 to reflect the reopening of retail in the city centre on the 15th June (subject to COVID_19 5 stage) and to transition from free parking for key workers in CYC public car parks to dedicated provision for NHS workers in the coach park at Union Terrace car park. This will be reviewed in September 2020 and work will be undertaken with the hospital to support active travel options. Exceptional circumstances will be managed through free passes.

6. Approved the continuation of the Pay on exit project for Marygate and Piccadilly going out to tender in June and exploring the implementation across all viable CYC car parks with decisions on further rollout to be brought back to the Executive in the Autumn 2020

7. Approved the reprovision of free blue badge parking displaced by the extension of footstreets in CYC public car parks with specific additional space provision in Monk Bar car park.

North Yorkshire Leaders Q & A on Tuesday

There will be another on line session on Tuesday. Generally these North Yorkshire run events are more informative than their York counterparts, although they also claim not to know how many positive COVID tests there have been locally!

“Leaders of North Yorkshire’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic will give an update on the work they are doing, and answer questions from residents and businesses.

North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan will lead the live update and will be joined by:

  • Chief Constable Lisa Winward – North Yorkshire Police
  • Chief Fire Officer Andrew Brodie – North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service
  • Richard Flinton – Chief Executive of North Yorkshire County Council and Chair of the multi-agency North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum

Members of the public are invited to watch the meeting from 1.00pm on Tuesday on YouTube and submit questions in advance by emailing, posting on Twitter using the hashtag #NYscrutiny or commenting on Facebook”.

Deep clean for York streets, squares and snickets during pandemic

Nice Work GIFs | Tenor

Over 50 streets, squares and snickelways across York’s city centre have been deep cleaned by frontline crews.

City of York Council is taking the opportunity to do a deep clean whilst the city centre is quieter than normal – so as and when the city is allowed to welcome back visitors, please help by keeping our streets clean and putting litter in the bins.

This also takes into account recently changed government guidance that allows residents to spend more time exercising during the day.

Cllr Paula Widdowson, Executive Member for Environment and Climate Change: “Our front line crews have been doing a fantastic job to cleaning our city centre of weeds, cigarette butts under benches and all those nooks and crannies. 

“They’ve been working round the clock to make our city centre cleaner and safer during the pandemic. Please help them by putting your litter in the bin and making sure we keep our city clean.”

Frontline crews are working 7 days a week to carry out mechanical sweeping (using a small ride on sweeper and various pedestrian controlled machines), litter bin emptying, weeding and manual litter picking.

Staff were previously redeployed to assist the waste services team but have now re-joined the public realm service.

The deep clean includes:

  • the removal of detritus (dust/silt), weeds and cigarette butts from building lines, under benches, nooks and crannies
  • the removal of cable ties and expired notices, stickers etc.
  • cleaning the interior and exterior of litter bins.

The council is also identifying/removing graffiti on council owned buildings, which will also be removed.

rain-water-pothole-jump-fail | Funny gifs fails, Funny whatsapp ...

All council car parks are also being deep cleaned!

The council has worked hard to ensure crucial frontline services can continue despite the pandemic.

All crews carrying out the works will be operating under strict social distancing guidance due to the current Coronavirus restrictions.

The council has worked with trade unions to develop new ways of working and has ensured works can happen in a safe way for front line operatives and the public, whilst the city centre is quieter than normal.

Residents will hope that the teams now move on to deal with the overgrown hedges, weeds, potholes and detritus that impede paths particularly in the sub-urban area.

Traffic signals and parking barriers still proving to be unreliable in York

Traffic signals

This year to date (1st Jan to 3rd Dec) there have been a total of 696  traffic signal faults reported to the York Council’s maintenance contractors.

This number was 678 for the same period last year.

The Council does not have a means of recording the total duration for which signals have been out of operation; however, for high priority faults in this period – which are recorded in their own indicator – 91% were resolved within 4 hours, compared to 82% for the same period last year.

Marygate car park

Barrier faults have occurred during a total of 17 days since they were introduced at the Marygate car park. Currently income from the car park is less than it was when operated on a pay and display basis.Marygate-car-park-equipment-768x1024

Income from the Marygate car park, from the start of July to the end of October, totalled £231,000 in 2014/15.

The equivalent figure for 2013/14 was £246,000.

The York Council spent £100,000 installing the barrier system at Marygate.

NB. The Council has admitted that due to faults on its automated vehicle counting systems it doesn’t know how many motorists have taken advantage of the free parking offer which is available at some car parks from Thursday to Saturday. 

Overall income from car parking is, however, over £400,000 below budgeted levels.