York Minster precinct plans

The Minster has commenced the final stage in its consultation over a new Neighbourhood Plan.

There have been some changes since the last survey mostly for the better.

 The new plan and feedback arrangements can be found by clicking this link

 The major areas of debate are likely to concern the plan to build a new cafe and visitor centre at 1 Deangate. Plans to build next to the south entrance have (rightly) been scrapped. The Minster Stone-yard exhibition barn will be moved away from this area (allowing uninterrupted views of the Cathedral).

Admission tickets will be sold from a property at the end of Stonegate/Minster Gates.  

It is less clear how the new boundaries of the (expanded) Minster school campus will be delineated.

Two cycle routes have been retained with one curving through Queens Walk and Minster Green while the other follows the existing carriageway line. The opportunity to provide a, daytime only, cycle route (by passing Deangate) through Deans Park has been missed.  

The new “Queen Elizabeth Square” which incorporates part of Duncombe Place, is retained. It is compromised by allowing vehicular access to the Dean Court Hotel and the Purey Cust homes.  Some will feel that a dropping off point near St Wilfred’s Church would allow reasonable access during pedestrian hours (with an electric hand trolley service if necessary). Many will feel that providing a turning circle for the, outdated, Railway Museum “train” is also an unnecessary feature.

Still the plans represent a measured and welcome approach to neighbourhood planning and, in many ways, are an exemplar for similar projects elsewhere in the City.

Minster statement January 2020
The area near the South entrance will be remodelled

York Council seeks help in balancing budget

Without apparently any sense of irony, in the wake of a decision yesterday to hike Councillors pay levels by an average of 18%, the City of York Council is now asking residents, partners and businesses for their help in balancing the council’s budget for 2020/2021.

The consultation is now open and asks which areas the council should invest in and prioritise and where people feel savings could be made.

This year, there are a number of different ways to get involved with the council consulting sooner and holding special budget decision sessions which the public can attend or watch online. People can have their say by:

  • Taking an online survey at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/York_20-21_Budget_Consultation by Tuesday 31 December
  • Completing the straw poll in Our City (the council newsletter for residents), distributed to York houses throughout December or available at West Offices or libraries and return it freepost by Sunday 12 January
  • Coming along to one of the following decision sessions in the new year at West Offices to tell us your thoughts:
  • Housing and safer neighbourhoods 13 January 2020 at 2pm
  • Economy and strategic planning, Environment and climate change and transport 13 January 2020 at 5.30pm
  • Children and young people and Culture, leisure and communities 14 January 2020 at 4pm
  • Health and Adult Social Care 15 January 2020 at 12noon
  • Leader and finance and performance 15 January 2020 at 5.30pm

Papers for these sessions will be published from Friday 3 January. The decision sessions will ensure that residents can view the budget proposals significantly in advance of previous years to ensure higher quality consultation.

The online consultation closes on 31 December 2019 and all printed questionnaire responses from Our City will need to be received by Sunday 12 January.

Councillor Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council said:

“We have recently agreed an ambitious council plan that promises to support and invest in our communities despite the financial challenges we face. 

“Demand for our services is increasing and in the last decade our funding from government grants reduced by £52m, equating to a 44% real terms reduction. Next year we need to save a further £4m with further savings needed in the coming years.

“We are committed to continuing vital services and making sure the right support is there for those who need it most.  Whilst we have set out an ambitious strategy for our city over the next four years; we want to ensure that York continues to make history and build communities. It is really important that we hear from residents, businesses and communities to make sure we invest in the right areas.”

Councillor Andy D’Agorne, Deputy Leader of City of York Council: “York is in a sound financial position which allows us some flexibility to invest in all our futures.  However, growing demand for adult social care as our population grows older is a continued challenge and as more and more savings are needed the decisions get tougher.

“We want to make sure our spending reflects our priorities to protect the most vulnerable and respond to the climate emergency.

“Your feedback in the council plan consultation helped us shape our priorities and we are looking forward to hearing where residents think we should focus our spending against each priority.”

For more information, please visit www.york.gov.uk/budget

Consultation with Council tenants in York

Disappointing report from the York Council.

Its over 12 months since the York Residents’ Federation were forced to fold. They were the victims of an over officious approach by some Council staff. Their independent input never seemed to be welcomed by senior Councillors or officials.

As with any voluntary body, those involved needed to feel that their contribution is valued. Too often it clearly wasn’t by the York Council.

Some Councillors to their credit saw this as a backward step and the LibDem manifesto at the May local elections gave a pledge to revive citywide consultation arrangements.

A report on the subject of tenant consultation has now been published and will be considered by one of the Councils scrutiny committees next week. The report can be found by clicking here

Sadly there is little new in the report. It has apparently not even been run past the several successful residents associations which exist in the City

The Council needs to take consultation and tenant involvement much more seriously.

Residents anger over Council plan to remove security railings

Local residents in Lowfields are objecting to plans to remove the railings which protect their garden boundaries.

The plan by the Council to replace the railings was first revleaed on tyhis site at the weekend.

According to their Facebook site, the Lowfields Residents Action Group is leading a campaign to get the Council to consult neighbours on their plans.

Their main concerns are about the appearance of a new fence, its impact on the natural environment, damage to existing landscaping and the money which would be wasted if the existing railings – which are in good condition – were junked.

Separately the Council has announced today that it will commence construction work on the site in two weeks time.

It is writing to residents telling them about a consultation meeting which is taking place next week and which will involve the Wates building contractors

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The Residents Group has responded saying, “We think this is pretty short notice for a consultation event.

The letter includes an evasive reference to “Yorspace” who we understand are still struggling to find funding for their communal living site.

It also pointedly doesn’t admit that the Council have failed to find a developer for their proposed elderly persons care home.

Nothing more either, on the public buildings (Health Centre and Police station) which seem less and less likely now to happen.

This means that there is no chance of building work on the whole site being finished within 2 years”.

Have your say on proposed modifications to York’s Local Plan through 6-week consultation

From Monday 10 June, York residents, businesses and other interested groups will get the chance to comment on additional evidence and proposed modifications to the city’s Local Plan.

Planning inspectors have asked for the six-week consultation period before examining the plan at public hearing sessions later this year.

The consultation will ask for comments on the following additional evidence and modifications, including:

  • removing housing site allocations at Queen Elizabeth Barracks, Strensall and Land at Howard Road, Strensall),
  • formally revising the Objectively Assessed Housing Need (OAN) from 867 to 790 dwellings in York each year for the duration of the plan. 
  • amendments to the greenbelt boundary have also been proposed, in order to take into account recent changes such as planning decisions in York and the removal of the Strensall Barracks site.

To have your say, visit www.york.gov.uk/localplan. The consultation will end at midnight on Monday 22 July 2019.

Hard copies of all of the consultation documents will also be available in West Offices, Station Rise and York Explore Library. The main consultation documents will be available in all libraries and Explore Centres in York.

The removal of site allocations – totalling 550 dwellings – follows a recent visitor survey commissioned by City of York Council, supported by Natural England, which highlighted that there would be significant effects on the integrity of the Strensall Common, a protected site, if the proposed housing sites adjacent to the Common remain in the Local Plan. 

The reduction in the housing need figure reflects updated national projections for population and housing growth which forecast lower growth than was previously projected. The additional Green Belt Topic Paper Addendum provides further detail on why and where the proposed green belt boundary has been drawn.

The Planning Inspector has asked for the consultation as they consider these issues to be fundamental to what they are examining the soundness and legal compliance of the plan. This will give all interested parties the opportunity to comment on the proposed changes prior to the hearing sessions.

The Inspectors have directed that the consultation is open to the general public for a period of six weeks and has also advised direct consultation with the Ministry Of Defence, which owns the barracks, and Natural England.

The consultation will only look at these specific modifications and not other aspects of the plan such as the other proposed site allocations. All aspects of the plan will be examined by the Inspector during the subsequent hearing sessions. 

All the representations received during the consultation will be processed and sent to the planning inspectors, who have committed to holding the public hearing sessions as soon as possible after that.

You can read all correspondence with the Planning Inspectors at www.york.gov.uk/localplanexamination

York’s Local Plan

The Local Plan is a framework to guide and promote development, and to protect the quality of York’s unique historic, natural and built environment. The document sets strategic priorities for the whole city and forms the basis for planning decisions; it must be reviewed at regular intervals to be kept up to date.

York’s Local Plan was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate in May 2018.  For more details on the process and progress to secure a Local Plan for York, visit https://www.york.gov.uk/localplan

Minster changes take step forward

A refined set of plans which would see significant changes in the area around  York Minster have been published.

A copy of the prospectus can be downloaded from this link

The proposals are both ambitious and respectful tot eh heritage of both the Cathedral itself and the surrounding City.

They include a new “Queen Elisabeth Square” adjacent to the west end of the Minster. This is a welcome move towards the pedestrianisation of Duncombe Place. A vehicular access route – which will apparently still accommodate the Railway museums “Disney” train – has been retained.

The role of Deans Park as a quiet part of the City centre has been respected.

Likely to be more controversial – with the devil being in the detail – are plans for new buildings in the area where Constantine currently sits. The Roman will be rehoused further down Deangate, where he will be joined by a statute of Queen Elisabeth II

 A separate Deangate cycle track is planned ending the present shared space arrangement with pedestrians. Access only restrictions will be enforced ending the visits of parents to the entrance to the Minster School. They will have a separate drop off point at the end of Duncombe Place. The school itself will get enhanced facilities.

St Williams College will be brought back into use – not before time – and will accommodate Minster office staff. It is an old building, with an arcane layout, so good look to them with that.

The existing Church House administration offices will be converted into flats which will be rented out.

There are plans to develop the Deanery garages as residential accommodation for workers.

That may not suit everyone and there are some potentially awkward interfaces with the surrounding community. The new square, for example, doesn’t seem to make the best of the possible linkages to Stonegate.

But overall the proposals represent good progress and are being progressed in an inclusive way which reflects well on their authors.

Responses to the consultation can be made via this link The consultation closes on 16th June 2019.

York Station front – 1,500 public consultation responses

Councillors will receive an update on the York Station front project and be asked to approve the submission of a planning application and the progression of the scheme to detailed design when they meet on Thursday 29 November.

The York Station front project aims to revitalise and re-imagine the historic station to ensure it is a fitting and prestigious gateway into York.

The project has had significant public interest, with nearly 1,500 responses during the extensive public consultation. This has lead to design changes for Executive to now consider.   Permission to enter into land acquisition negotiations with stakeholders and landowners is also requested.

York Station consultation leaflet

The York Station front masterplan has four main aims:

  • create new public spaces and a more inclusive, pedestrian-friendly experience
  • create an improved setting for the City Walls and other heritage buildings in the area
  • make it easier to change between modes of transport
  • keep vehicles and pedestrians apart

If approved, it is proposed that the planning application based on the amended masterplan will be submitted soon after.

Changes to the masterplan following the consultation include:

  • 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

The station masterplan is based on eight key features which work together to improve how the space is used in front of York Station. It is dependent on removing Queen Street Bridge to create extra space, which would then be used to separate vehicle and pedestrian access, create new open areas and reveal long-hidden views of the City Walls.

Executive takes place on Thursday 29 November from 5.30pm and is open to members of the public or is available to watch live online 

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Extra time to give views on Fossgate improvement plans

Residents and businesses now have an extra week to give us their views on proposed plans to improve Fossgate, on of York’s most loved and vibrant shopping streets.

People have until midnight, Sunday 21 October to tell us their thoughts on the plans. They can do this by visiting www.york.gov.uk/fossgate or in the foyer at West Offices.

Fossgate is set for a £500,000 investment, and the council wants your views on measures to enhance and attract more visitors to the vibrant, distinct street in the heart of York.

Earlier this year, the council changed the direction of traffic along Fossgate, significantly reducing the amount of through-traffic along the street.

The council has been engaging with businesses, residents and the wider city to refine the plans which include:

  • Relaying the road surface and repaving the Yorkstone paths, replacing any tired or broken parts
  • Creating more attractive junctions at both ends of Fossgate, and widening the narrow footpaths at the Pavement end
  • Introducing new wider ‘built-out’ sections and street furniture like bike stands, benches and possibly trees
  • Introducing new ‘speed tables’ and crossing points

You can view the proposals and have your say online at www.york.gov.uk/fossgate or in the foyer of West Offices, Station Rise, YO1 6GA

York Minster plans changes to the Precinct

Pedestrianisation of Duncombe Place back on the agenda

York Minster is consulting on plans for the area surrounding the Cathedral. 

The Minster authorities are preparing a masterplan to explore how the Precinct could evolve in the future to meet the changing needs of its community and visitors. The Minster Chapter recognise that it is a sensitive and complex area of the City and its future care must be planned for carefully.

The intention is that the masterplan will be adopted as part of the City’s planning policy. It will provide the Minster with a clear strategy for the next twenty years and will be used to secure funding for individual projects.

The Minster is working with the City of York Council, Historic England, a wide range of stakeholders and the community to get the best plan in place. It is at a very early stage. An exhibition in Deans Park explains what they hope to achieve through the masterplan process.

Residents and visitors are being invited to give their ideas, suggestions and thoughts.

You can download the full masterplanning PDF here

Your can take the online survey and provide feedback here

or if you prefer, print the survey here and send back in via post to Masterplanning, Church House, 10-14 Ogleforth, YO1 7JN

The consultation will run until midnight on Saturday 30 June.

This is a welcome initiative from the custodians of York’s best known landmark.

The City can’t stand still and some proposals – including the pedestrianisation and paving of Duncombe Place – are long overdue.

However, the devil (him again) will be in the detail and not everyone will share the Chapters view that Deans Park should be a more lively place. An “oasis of calm” in a busy world might get more votes!

Finding funding for the public infrastructure works is likely to be a particular challenge 

Still there is room for improvement and most would be delighted if the historic St Williams College building was brought back into use. 

York central consultation leaflets dumped

Disappointing to see so many “York Central” consultation leaflets left in the foot-wells of flats in the Kingsway West area. Not a very effective way of spending taxpayers money.

Problems also with graffiti, broken glass, and detritus in the same area. All reported to the Council for attention.