…..but two months too late and what happened to consultation?
The following information has been provided by the Council in response to complaints about lack of consultation about the removal of cycle parking from Parliament Street. It would have been better if the information had been published a couple of months ago rather than the day after the racks disappeared!!
“The old individual cycle racks are being removed this week and will be replaced with ones on rails. Any bikes which have been left locked to a rack will be removed to the Council’s secure store.
What is happening? – The old individual cycle racks are being replaced with ones on rails where the racks are spaced wider apart that the current ones (1200mm as opposed to 800mm). As construction of the cabins for the Christmas Market will start later this week (02/12/19) the new racks will be temporarily relocated to the following locations:
Davygate – outside Debenhams
Davygate – outside the former French Connection shop
Davygate – outside the former Halifax Bank
Church Street – at the side of St Sampson’s Church
Church Street – outside The Works
St Andrewgate – at the Kings Square end
Piccadilly – outside Lloyds Bank
Parliament Street – outside Barclays Bank
Walkway at the rear of All Saints Church
Lendal as soon as the skips associated with the Guildhall works are removed
When are the old racks being removed? – The racks are being removed on the 29th October. Notices were placed on the affected racks a week in advance to forewarn users of their imminent removal. Any cycles which have been left locked to a rack will be removed to the Council’s secure store. Anyone wishing to reclaim a cycle should contact firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange collection.
Why is this work being done? – Following last year’s Christmas Market concerns were raised by the city centre safety advisory group about the relatively few accesses / exits from the central area and the narrowness of these accesses. In order to enable the cabins to be better laid out and to increase the number and width of the accesses / exits it has been agreed that the cycle parking will be temporarily removed for the duration of the large events which take place on Parliament Street including the Christmas Market and Food & Drink Festival.
The racks will be relocated to the above locations during the event and then reinstalled on Parliament Street as soon as possible after the event. At this stage it is not envisaged that the cycle parking will need to be relocated during the Yorkshire Fringe Festival or smaller markets. In previous years several of the racks were unavailable during large events because cabins or marquees were installed immediately next to them therefore cycle parking capacity was reduced.
By relocating the racks elsewhere in the city centre there should be no net loss of capacity during these busy events.
City of York Council will carry out temporary repairs of broken and uneven paving slabs/flags on Parliament Street from next week.
Over the years, the paving has become worn and damaged. One of the main reasons for this is because the trees on Parliament Street are taking a huge amount of water from the underlying clay, which is shrinking the clay underneath the paved areas. As a result an entire new section of pavement from the area near the old fountain to Mark’s and Spencer is required.
The council listened to businesses and retailers in June, when works were originally due to be carried out, and postponed these during the busy summer months.
Following further assessment of the highway, the paving has deteriorated even more – to a level which now requires immediate repairs ahead of the busy Christmas period. This is in order ensure the area is safe for pedestrians.
The temporary measures will include taking up broken and uneven paving slabs/flags and laying two new layers of tarmac surface.
The temporary repairs will start week commencing the 1 October and be completed by the 2 November.
This is not a permanent solution and plans to resurface the full area are in development.
Businesses and retailers were hand delivered letters outlining the works on Thursday 27 September.
City of York Council will be carrying out the works and will be responsible for public safety and for providing access while the work is ongoing.
Works are scheduled to take place between 7am and 4pm Monday to Friday. However some out of hours working will be required (early morning and weekends) to reconstruct access to retailers premises to reduce the impact of this work to businesses in the area.
As with any construction work there is likely to be a certain amount of disruption and inconvenience, but the council will be doing everything reasonably possible to keep this to a minimum.
Councillors are being called to a special meeting to discuss the future of both the St Samsons Square (former) toilets and the “Fountain” on Parliament Street.
A proposal to demolish the disabled toilet block – last used 8 years ago and replaced by facilities at nearby Silver Street – has been called in for further consideration. Surprisingly one of the reasons given for the objection is the lack of alternative disabled facilities.
The Council says, ” Its removal will enable the square to be better used offering increased space for the temporary cultural, recreational and retail events that happen in the city. The water and drain connections will remain to allow toilet facilities to be provided for such events if needed”.
NB The former St Sampsons Square underground toilets were just about the least accessible facilities in the north of England! They were replaced 25 years ago by the unlamented “splash palace” at the other end of Parliament Street.
Redundant St Sampsons Square toilet block
Green party Councillors also now seem to be wanting to distance themselves from their budget plan to erect advertising hoardings on Parliament Street. They describe – with some justification – the existing (water-less) fountain as a key meeting point.
Extensive repairs would be required to bring the fountain – which was the preferred choice of residents who took part in a public consultation poll 25 years ago – back into use. Other options for use the space would also incur costs.
A council report says,
“A permanent replacement will need to be considered by key stakeholders including the Civic Trust, York Business Improvement District, Make it York and will need to be sufficiently iconic that it may well require planning permission”.
It is unclear what, if any, public consultation will take place over the future of the site.
The same meeting will consider how to implement new government rules on houses in “multiple occupation”
It looks like the Council are set on removing the fountain from Parliament Street. It was provided over 25 years ago following a poll of York residents who were asked what features they wanted to see in the remodelled street.
Now the Council says that it is beyond repair and gets in the way of other activities.
In other words, it reduces the amount of commercial events that can take place there.
St Sampson’s Square 30 years ago
A report to a meeting in April will also consider the future of the – long disused – underground toilets which are located in St Sampsons Square.
In both cases is is unclear what alternative use the spaces would be put to.
“Make it York” caused a storm a couple of years ago when they targeted the fountain for removal.
City of York Council is carrying out essential repair works to Parliament Street this Sunday (12 November) ahead of the busy festive season.
All shops and businesses will be open as usual while the work takes place from Pavement down to Shambles Market.
The council is acting to remove the growing risk of slips and trips by temporarily replacing 300 square metres of flagstones with tarmac, before relaying the flagstones early next year.
Laying the temporary tarmac surface now, and delaying the more disruptive and lengthier flag relaying work, means the area can be safe and welcoming to the large number of city-centre visitors over the festive season
The fate of the fountain on Parliament Street will be decided by the York Council’s Executive when it meets on 24th September.
Although the new Executive now includes a representative from both the Labour and Green groups, it is anticipated that a more balanced all party meeting of a “scrutiny committee” will also consider the same issue a week earlier.
The future of the fountain was brought into question when the Quango “Make it York” announced that it would be demolished.
The statement was widely criticised as there had been no prior consultation with residents or most Councillors.
Anotherpetition is being collected concerning the nearby site where children’s rides are traditionally located at Christmas. It is expected that it will attract sufficient signatures to force the Council to publicly debate the issue and consider reinstating the Carousel at its traditional location.
Anyone wishing to sign a petition asking the York Council and “Make it York” to ensure that traditional children’sChristmas rides remain available in the Parliament Street area should click here
Members of the public ride a carousel adjacent to the ‘St Nicholas Fair’ Christmas market in the city centre of York, Northern England on December 3, 2014. AFP PHOTO / OLI SCARFF (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)
The petition asks the York Council and MIY to:
Take action to ensure that any major changes initiated by “Make it York” or other Quangos operating in the City are subject to consultation with residents. In particular we petition that the traditional children’s rides, provided during the period leading up to Christmas, be retained on either Parliament Street or St. Sampson’s Square, unless an alternative location, which is both acceptable to the operators and equally accessible for users, can be found.
“Make it York”, a company wholly owned by the Council but run by an independent Board of Directors, has announced that the children’s rides traditionally provided during the St. Nicholas Fair period leading up to Christmas, will not be allocated a pitch in the Parliament Street area this year.
This ban includes the iconic Carousel ride.
The space may be used to accommodate a licensed bar.
No consultation with residents or most Councillors has taken place, no effective public scrutiny process for “Make it York” decisions has been introduced nor have any performance measures – for the public events that it may organise – been published.
York Council taxpayers need to be involved in the decision making processes for organisations that they help to fund including “Make it York”, the “York Museums Trust” & the York Libraries and Archives Mutual Company.
The petition should also be available on the Council’s web site shortly