Micklegate Bar closure to traffic: consultation set to start

New restrictions could be introduced on Micklegate, to prevent vehicles travelling outbound from the city, and reduce the impact of traffic on the historic bar walls.

A report being considered next week reveals that around 130 vehicles an hour (PM) use the outbound lane through the Bar to reach Blossom Street.

The report does not look in detail at the effects moving more traffic onto the inner ring road would have but it does sound the following word of caution

. It should be noted that significant work is planned on the Inner Ring Road at Queen Street over the next few years as part of the station frontage  scheme. Changes to the traffic restrictions through Micklegate Bar could increase the traffic levels and potentially delays on the Inner Ring Road
during the works.

A call for the outbound closure of Micklegate Bar was debated by councillors at a Full Council meeting on 19 July.

Following this, a report is now being taken to a transport and planning decision session meeting on 13 September, to take forward these proposals.

The Council in a statement says, “If approved, this will pave way for a consultation, including an experimental Traffic Regulation order (TRO) for a maximum of 18 months during which time, depending on the outcome of the consultation, there will be the option of making the changes permanent.

The TRO will help determine the benefits of restricting vehicles in Micklegate and will allow the local community and businesses the opportunity to experience the changes before making representations.

During this 18 month period, there will be an outbound road closure only (cycle access will be available in both directions). This means the road will be open to inbound traffic through Micklegate Bar from Blossom Street/Nunnery Lane/Queen Street”.

Preferred option for closure of outbound section of Micklegate Bar September 2018

Call for increase in neighbourhood police profile in York

The next York Council meeting will discuss four motions put forward by the political groups represented on the authority.

  • Liberal Democrat Ashley Mason is asking for more funding for neighbourhood policing. He will get a lot of support for his proposal with PCSO patrols now distinctly thin on the ground in much of the City. 41% of respondents to a recent survey thought that policing in the City was “poor”.

Many highlighted issues with drugs and moped gangs as increasing areas of concern.

The York Council has no direct powers over policing policy (that rests with the Harrogate based Police and Crime Commissioner) but it can be more active in using its powers of scrutiny.

The motion also opposes any reduction in Fire cover. The service has recently been taken over by the PCC.

  • A Labour Councillor wants to close the outbound traffic lane which currently runs under Micklegate Bar. The actual amount of traffic using this route is already regulated with “green” periods at the adjacent traffic lights already relatively short. However, the main criticism of this proposal is that it is being made without any consultation with local businesses or residents. Local road junctions are already congested at peak times so the consequences could be significant. The plan comes from the Lendal bridge closure school of transport planning. Proposals like these need to be considered as part of the next update to the Local Transport Plan. (NB. The Council video, outlining plans to improve the railway station frontage, portray an, almost miraculously, traffic free inner ring road in this part of the City!)
  • The Conservative Councillors have gone to the trouble of restating that they are in favour of free green bin emptying. Many residents would settle, currently, for just having their present green bin emptied.
  • ……& finally, the Green party has come out against, what they term as, “food poverty”. It will probably be difficult to find anyone who thinks hunger is a good thing. The Greens disingenuously suggest that Council officials should write a report saying how the issue can be resolved. Sadly, this is another problem where most of the levers are well outside the control of a local Council.

Council meetings these days are sterile and predictable affairs with all sides posturing and the real issues, that affect street level public service standards, rarely being highlighted.

This can party be traced back to a decision by the last Council which withdrew the option for Councillors to submit written questions (and get a written response).

A limited amount of time is reserved for verbal questions, but these rarely uncover any new facts.

Answers to verbal questions are not recorded in the meeting minutes. The minutes are, in any event, published several weeks – or months – later.

By then the issue has usually moved on.

Micklegate Bar closed from June

Micklegate Bar

As part of a £1.5 million restoration scheme to preserve and protect York’s medieval city walls – announced by City of York Council last month – road closures will be needed in Micklegate to allow the restoration works to be carried out safely.

The scheme will involve replacing Micklegate Bar’s roof and guttering by stripping this all back, replacing the timberwork and installing stainless steel strengthening ‘shoes’ to roof beams.

Two new walkway gates will also be installed. This will allow the Henry VII Experience museum to remain open when the bar walls themselves are closed. During the works both stairways allowing people access onto the walls will remain open to pedestrians at all times.

Micklegate retailers and businesses were consulted in advance about the works and invited to attend meetings with the council. Letters were also sent to all premises in the area.

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Repairing and restoring York’s City Walls

Micklegate Bar

Micklegate Bar

Plans to invest £350,000 repairing and restoring York’s historic City Walls will be considered by City of York Council on Thursday 9 June.

Proposals for the first phase of works to repair and restore the York City Walls over the next five years (from 2016/17 to 2021) will be taken to the Executive Member for Transport and Planning as part of plans to preserve the Walls and set out a quinquennial programme to manage their restoration.

The Executive Member for Transport and Planning will be asked to approve the plans repair and restore the City Walls, including three priority schemes which have been identified for repairs this financial year using £90,000 funding from the Bar Walls budget for 2016/17 and the allocation of £260,000 in capital funding. They are:
• Micklegate Bar Roof
• Monk Bar Steps
• Tower 32.

After an initial 15 month programme of inspection and monitoring from 2014 ten locations in need of repair and restoration are proposed in the report and will be considered for the second phase of this project in future budgets.

John Oxley, City Archaeologist at City of York Council, said: “York’s City Walls are the best example of medieval City Walls still standing in England today, which over a million people walk across every year. Repair and restoration work is needed in many areas along the 3.4km route and we are hoping to continue the restoration of the Walls following the success of the Walmgate Bar project. This report looks to bring about the first phase of repairs ahead of a longer term programme of engagement and investment that will seek to ensure residents and visitors will be able to continue to enjoy York’s famous City Walls”

The City Walls are open every day from 8am to dusk. To find out more about the Walls visit: www.york.gov.uk/citywalls