Temporary measures introduced to protect York’s busiest city centre spaces from terrorist attacks could be made permanent by City of York Council next week.
The Council’s Executive will consider the results of a trial restricting vehicle access to the busiest city centre streets during footstreet hours (10:30-17:00) at its meeting next Thursday (29 August)
The Councils consultation revealed major conflicts with the wishes of groups representing disabled people
It has been criticised by a former Tory Councillor who said on social media “Almost everyone wants to pedestrianise our city centre. It should be about improving it and supporting business growth in difficult times…not terrorism”
Changes were introduced last November following police counter terrorism advice for long-term measures to combat the ongoing threat of ‘vehicle as weapon attacks’ like those seen recently in Toronto, London and Nice.
If approved, a sliding bollard system would restrict access to Parliament Street, St Sampson’s Square, High Ousegate and Spurriergate, Coney Street, Davygate, Finkle Street, Church Street and Jubbergate during footstreet hours (10:30-17:00).
The Executive introduced the measures on a temporary basis to allow for work to understand the impact of restricted access on key groups, including disabled people and others with limited mobility within a core part of the city centre.
The council commissioned studies of how blue badge parking changed throughout the period, alongside a series of workshops with individuals and groups representing disabled people in York.
In addition to the available parking on the streets next to the restricted area, the executive will consider mitigation proposals including:
• continued access to St Sampson’s Square for Dial and Ride services
• creating blue badge parking on the traffic-restricted section of Piccadilly, and converting the taxi rank to blue badge parking during the day time (10:00-18:00)
• extending the parking time restrictions outside Explore on Museum Street from 2 to 3 hours
• supporting marketing efforts for alternative services like Shopmobility and Dial and Ride
*If approved, the Piccadilly changes would be subject to a traffic regulation order change. The proposed changes would be advertised for up a three week period to allow for objections before a decision can be made.
Experiments with rising bollards in the past in York have encountered reliability issues. Reliability and maintenance costs are not considered in trhe Council report.
City centre future
The same meeting will consider launching a consultation exerciseon the future of the City centre retail area. The area has change a lot in recent years with several shops being replaced by pubs and restaurants.
Problems with drunken behaviour have increased.
If approved, an engagement exercise “following the principles of early and ongoing public involvement, pioneered on the Castle Gateway regeneration scheme”, would begin in the new year.
This would deliver a “strategic vision for the city centre to guide future development, regeneration and investment decisions”.
The proposal has the support of the York BID and “Make it York”.
The Council report fails to address the needs of sub-urban high streets like Front Street
A Council official has agreed, at another “behind closed doors” meeting, to contribute £350,000 towards the provision of new “wayfinding” signs in the City centre.
The total cost of the project is £700,000 with the York Business Improvement District (BID) contributing half.
The plan has prompted a mixed reaction in the past. The new LibDem led Council administration had been expected to review the proposals, along with other expenditure commitments – like the £20 million Guildhall project – which it inherited in May.
However, that hasn’t happened, with the new administration
adopting a very low-profile approach to public service reforms.
The decision notice says, “The February 2019 Budget Council
meeting included the following …. this scheme will allow the Council and York
BID to proceed with full implementation of a new Wayfinding scheme starting in
Spring 2019, following a detailed consultation exercise. Works will include the
removal of 60 current heritage fingerposts to reduce street clutter, and
installation of 36 new totem signs, 14 fingerpost signs, and 13 wall signs.
York BID have committed £350k to the full implementation, which will be matched
by the Council as part of this scheme”.
Opinions on the design of the new signs – one of which is located
outside the Mansion House – have been mixed with same favouring the more traditional
However, the main area of contention relates to prioritisation
at a time when an increasing number of visitors to the City depend on smartphone
features like Google Maps to find their way around.
While Visit York has a goodwebsite, there is scope for a more specialised smartphone app.
There are several commercial applications available with some
depending on advertising revenue. Currently Visit York doesn’t provide a list
of approved Apps that are available. Anyone accessing the iTunes store and
entering “York” will be offered only 2 options. One of these is currently unavailable.
Visit York should commission an official real time “walking
tour” type guide and promote its use via its web site, social media and at
entry points to the City.
Meanwhile, many will take the view that £350,000 might be better invested in ensuring that the City is weed and litter free, and that street furniture like bins and seats are kept in good condition.
The Council should also finally deliver a replacement for the real time car parking space availability signs, and “on line” service, which was lost some 8 years ago.
Such a “clean and seen” campaign must include the main road and rail routes into the City which are so important in forming a visitors “first impression” of York.
City of York Council has today published a draft masterplan for the Bootham Park Hospital site, following the public consultation which took place last year.
The masterplan, developed jointly between the York Council and the York teaching Hospital NHS Trust, proposes “a viable option for the development of the site, one that meets the needs of York residents by providing care accommodation, public open space, key worker housing and more”.
The key features of the plan include.
A Nursing home included on YTHT land (part of former nurse’s accommodation site).
Residential development aimed at the senior living market to the east of the chapel.
Child care nursery located on northern edge of YTHT land – directly accessible to the York Hospital site
The main former hospital building to be converted to extra care apartments (potentially incorporating step down care linked to York Hospital). Unlisted elements to be removed and a new block built to the north east in order to provide a viable number of units.
Unlisted and some grade 2 listed elements to the west removed in order to accommodate a Medical Training and Research Centre of Excellence with associated Key Worker Accommodation (medical staff).
A linear ‘’atrium’’ provides a main access and control point but also visually separates the form of old and new elements.
Landscaped area to the north redesigned to provide a semi private garden and courtyard space in the centre of the listed building group reinstated as landscape open space.
Unlisted cottages off driveway entrance from Bootham removed and replaced with apartments.
Existing listed gatehouse reinstated as residential accommodation.
Potential café/pavilion proposed adjacent to reopened pedestrian access off Bootham.
The plan involves building on the Union Terrace car park. The coach park would be retained with a multi storey car park, constructed above it,containing 250 spaces. It is claimed that this change will improve access to the hospital site from the south and provide a better “gateway” appearance for a key route into the City centre.
The Council says, “York residents will now be invited to contribute further to the development of the masterplan, by giving their views on the proposals so far.
The Bootham Park Masterplan Consultation will launch in September 2019″.
NB. NHS Property Services have recently engaged in a failed commercial sale and continue to re-market the site.
A copy of the draft masterplan can be downloaded by clicking this link
Notices have appeared warning motorists that they face a £100 fine if they use the shoppers car park at Woodthorpe shops for longer than 2 hours. The notices say that ANPR (spy) cameras will be used to enforce the new restrictions.
We can understand that the owners of the car park which is privately owned may wish to discourage commuter and overnight parking. They have, after all, to pick up the bill for repairs and maintenance. Spaces are intended to be used by shoppers and those visiting the dentist and doctors surgery.
Maintenance standards on the surface of the shopping area and adjacent parking areas does need to be improved. Fortunately, following voluntary efforts, the amount of litter and weeds has been reduced while the flower beds are much tidier.
Camera enforcement seems a little over the top if they are to be used routinely. The last thing that the local community would want to see is more “on street” parking on busy local roads .
NB. There are also concerns about the future of the Post Office which is located in one of the shops.
Most of the promised new parking bays in the Westfield area have now been completed. These are funded from a combination of the Westfield ward delegated budget and the Housing Estate Improvement Programme.
An additional 5 off street lay-by spaces are due to be provided in Tudor Road shortly. These will be funded as part of the Lowfields redevelopment project.
After seemingly years of inactivity, the Council has made good progress in installing new, off street, parking spaces over the last few weeks. The funding for the bays was made available from delegated ward budgets and the “housing estate improvement programme”. More work is needed, but hopefully the new budgets, which will be available from Monday, will allow more speedy progress to be made over the next year.