Direction signs project update – planning applications submitted

Further to yesterdays story, about the Council/BID project which will see £700,000 spent on new City centre direction signs, planning applications have now started to appear on the Council web site.

This one is for two “finger” signs on Ouse Bridge

There is a backlog of controversial planning applications building up at the Council. Normally they would be dealt with at public planning committee meetings.

We understand that a meeting may be scheduled in a few weeks time to discuss an application at the hospital. In the interim, the best that objectors can hope for is that “on line” remote meetings will be scheduled.

Car ban, driver-less shuttle …just posturing?

Comments from some Councillors on social media suggest that the half-baked plan to ban all “non-essential” private cars from the City Centre is not what it at first seemed.

Politicians have been falling over themselves to reassure drivers that there will be exemptions from the ban for those driving to City centre destinations. These include blue badge holders, those driving to off street public car parks, those driving to workplace car parks, those driving to their (City centre) homes, those making deliveries, taxis, tradespeople, those driving ULEVs and more.

The “ban” is now being re-positioned as an attempt to prevent the “through movement” of cars (vehicles beginning and ending their journeys outside the City Walls).

That is an argument that took place more than 2 decades ago when the Council closed access to Deangate (next to the Minster), several streets were pedestrianised and Coppergate was closed to general traffic for most of the day.

 In effect, there is now little “through” traffic using Ouse bridge. There is likely to be even less traffic on the bridge when the Castle car park closes next year. Closure of Ouse Bridge to general traffic is included as an option in the current LTP albeit after improvements to the A1237 bypass have been completed. A new Local Transport Plan is due next year and could provide a background for an informed debate.

There is one big issue. The Labour proposal amount to a 24/7 ban on private cars using Lendal Bridge, which does have an element of through traffic using it. It is the bodged, ANPR enforced, Lendal Bridge restriction re-badged and greatly extended.

That is why the Labour Councillor, who is acting as a surrogate for disgraced former transport chief Dave Merrett (who now heads the local Labour party organisation), has included the whole of the area within the City Walls in his car ban plan.

The additional journey times for people trying to drive from, for example, the railway station area to east York and beyond using the, already congested,  Clifton or Skeldergate bridges should be revealed.

As well as origin and destination statistics the Council is also able to publish congestion trend data. The length of traffic queues on most arterial routes – as a result of initiatives like “park and ride” – are now less than they were 20 years ago.

The trick is to reduce congestion not gamble with changes that could make matters worse.

Cllr D’Agorne- the current transport chief –  has also admitted that he was briefed last summer on plans to seek funding for a “driver-less” shuttle service in the central area.

He says that he maintained confidentially about the plan as officials didn’t want other cities to hijack the idea. No consultation was undertaken.

Some will feel that, if funding is allocated (£4 million is being sought), then the pressure to implement a potentially hazardous system will overcome any objections from concerned residents.

Another project for the “row back” quickly brigade?

York Council making progress in dealing with complaints

Most of the tin cans which blighted Ouse Bridge have been removed. Still a bit of work to do on the weeds but it is less unsightly now.
The Hob Moor hedge which was obstructing Kingsway West has been cut back
Still some issues with hedges blocking footpaths. This one on Foxwood Lane
This one on the snicket access to Hob Moor from Holly Bank Grove

How we control weed growth in York will be reviewed..

…but not until October

Senior York Councillors have confirmed that they will be reviewing how the City controls weed growth in gullies, on footpaths, on traffic islands and on other hard landscaped areas. A review meeting will take place on 7th October.

The move comes after many residents, together with some local Councillors including Independent Mark Warters from Osbaldwick, pointed out that this years spraying programme simply hadn’t had the required effect..

Ouse Bridge today with long established weeds (and cans)

More perceptive residents will, however, have also worked out that, by October, weeds will be dying back naturally anyway.

So some action over the next 6 weeks is still needed.

This can really only be done now using mechanical – rather than chemical – processes.

We can report that today the weeds that disfigure the Ouse Bridge still remain along with assorted empty beer cans.

It would take only 5 minutes to clean the area.

Weed control review added to Councils forward plan today

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..

Annual Council bridge weed growing contest – latest results

Weeds have been growing on the parapets of Ouse Bridge in York for over four years now.

Suggestions that the timely treatment with weed killer in the Spring might made the key route into the City a little smarter, have been ignored by the York Council.  We fear that the weeds are gradually undermining the strength of the bridge joints.

This is how the bridge has looked over recent years.

Setember 2016

September 2016

Ouse Bridge 2015

Ouse Bridge 2015

Ouse Bridge 2014

Ouse Bridge 2014

No historical evidence of horticulture on Ouse Bridge

No historical evidence of horticulture on Ouse Bridge

Ouse Bridge annual weed growing contest gathering pace

Ouse bridge parapet weeds small 27th Aug 2015

Ouse Bridge weeds 27th Aug 2015

This year the weeds growing on the parapets of the Ouse bridge are about 3 inches shorter than they were last year.

Lack of rain in June is blamed for the change

Last year the Council failed to address the issue prompting fears that the integrity of the structure might be compromised.

The problem has been reported and hopefully the new Council will act promptly

Ouse Bridge 7th August 2014 Weeds take over parapit

Ouse Bridge 7th August 2014 Weeds take over parapet


Ouse bridge weeds in rude good health

Ouse bridge weeds 25th September 2014

Ouse bridge weeds 25th September 2014

Almost 4 months after the weed growth on Ouse Bridge was first reported to the Council they continue to thrive.

The Council agreed in the summer to ensure that they were treated with weed killer but – if the process ever took place – it has proved to be ineffective.

Great shame as the bridge is well used by both residents and tourists and the undergrowth is a poor advert for the City centre.

Hopefully the Council will act before the structural integrity of the bridge is compromised.

We now understand that they are to try to pull the weeds by hand


Neglect in City continues

Ouse Bridge 7th August 2014

Ouse Bridge 7th August 2014

A couple of months ago we reported that public service standards in the City had declined.

Ouse Bridge York June 2014

Ouse Bridge York June 2014

One particular problem was weed growth – with Ouse Bridge badly affected.

The weeds were not only a potential threat to the integrity of the bridge but were an eyesore in a particularly sensitive area.

So it is disappointing to find that two months later no action has been taken to address the issue.