City of York Council’s Executive will receive an update on the improvements to York’s Outer Ring Road (YORR) at next week’s Executive including funding bids to dual sections of the ring road.
Due to challenges with acquisition of land through negotiation, the report requests that the Executive approve, in principle, that the council could pursue Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPO) to acquire the necessary land to deliver the Monks Cross Junction improvements, although negotiations with land owners will continue in the meantime to try and avoid this.
It will also recommend that the Council borrows £5 million to enable the delivery of the upgraded Clifton Moor Roundabout with a future proofed design to provide access and a pedestrian/ cycle underpass to a proposed new housing development within the Draft Local Plan. It recommends that officers identify opportunities to reduce the CYC contribution through external funding (HIF, developer contributions etc.) which if successful will reduce overall CYC borrowing.
The report, if approved, will request officers to undertake a study of how the benefits of any dualling of the ring road can enable greater sustainable transport options across the city as travel around the ring road becomes easier.
The outer ring road roundabout upgrade scheme will see a total of seven roundabouts upgraded as part of the West Yorkshire Plus Transport Fund scheme.
It is hoped that increasing the capacity of the city’s outer ring road will help to redistribute traffic in and around the city, enabling residents and visitors to move around more sustainably and positively benefit city centre air quality
The York Outer Ring Road improvements programme is being funded through the West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund, and the Leeds City Region Growth Deal – a £1 billion package of Government investment through the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to accelerate growth and create jobs across Leeds City Region.
A1237 dualling still illusive
With congestion levels on the A1237 York northern by pass gradually increasing, residents have called on the City of York to provide an update report on plans to dual the road.
Hopes that work on at least one junction would start in March have been dashed.
Progress had been promised by Conservative candidates in last years elections but funding – with possibly as much as £240 million needed – is apparently caught up in a wrangle about electing a new regional Mayor.
The government has said that devolution of resources is dependent on the boundaries for new Mayoral regions being agreed. West Yorkshire and North /East Yorkshire are at logger heads over the plan, with York caught in the middle. Meanwhile Sheffield is pressing ahead with its own plans to elect a South Yorkshire Mayor.
No reference was made to a northern Yorkshire devolution in the deals announced in the recent statement by the Chancellor.
The recently published forward programme of decisions likely to be made by the York Council over the next 4 months contains no reference to the dualling project.
Nor is there any provision in the Council 5 years capital programme which was agreed in February.
A report to a Council meeting later this week details how an £80 million Council investment programme will be funded.
The Council will again borrow heavily to fund schemes which include:
Borrowing costs click to enlarge
- Expansion of Fulford school (£5.8m)
- Schools maintenance (£4m)
- Older persons accommodation (£0.5m)
- Museums plus art gallery gardens (0.85m)
- LED street lighting replacement (£1.3m)
- Provision of 20 new Council houses (£8.9m) and modernisation (£2.3m)
- Local Transport Plan (£4.6m)
- Community Stadium (£20.7m of which £6.4m will come from taxpayers)*
*It seems highly unlikely that this money will be spent in the current financial year as the contract is not now expected to be let until the spring.
The Council will invest in better play grounds and more solar powered litter bins.
The programme also includes a (mostly unallocated) £15m sum in the “economic investment fund”. This is understood still to include major contributions towards a bridge into the York Central site and funding for a Digital Media Centre.
A1237 northern by pass improvements delayed?
The 5 year rolling programme – which includes projects which are both directly and indirectly funded – does not identify any money for improvements to the northern by pass.
The West Yorkshire “Combined Authority” agreed last November to include a £37.6m allocation in their forward programme for the project.
Following the announcement by the government of an allocation of £1 billion for the “West Yorkshire Plus Transport fund”, the York Council was asked to commit £500,000 a year in its revenue budget to progress the ring road project.
The expectation was that the £37 million investment would be used to upgrade those roundabouts – such as the one on the Haxby Road – which currently cause bottlenecks on the A1237.
According to the Combined Authorities programme formal approval for improvements at the first junction was due to be given this month (August) with a start on site in March 2016.
No explanation for the delays has been provided in the report to York Councillors.
The government funding allocation must be used by 2021.
No ring road improvements scheduled. Little being spent on reducing congestion
The Councils transport investment programme has been published. As usual the devil will be in the detail and the programme could be scrapped if there are major changes in the make-up of the Council at the May 7th polls.
Around £775,000 is to be spent on improvements to bus services. £250,000 of this will go on the delays Rougier Street bus shelter while £200,000 will address “pinch point improvements”. Once again sub-urban areas fare badly in the allocations (separately on the agenda for the same meeting a £20,000 plan to improve facilities in Rawcliffe is recommended for rejection)
Proposed extra lane for A19 pinch point
£2 million is being spent easing the “pinch point” on the A19 near the Designer Outlet. Much less is being spent elsewhere in the £2.4 million budget although the modernisation of variable message boards – which have been increasingly unreliable – is welcome.
£468,000 is being spent on a range of small schemes. The biggest is the provision of a cycle link at Scarborough Bridge. This is mostly being covered by central government grant.
Wetherby Road VAS
This is only being allocated £450,000 in the programme which is still driven by Labour priorities. School safety schemes, school crossing warning signs, “speed management” and the renewal of the vehicle activated signs (VAS), like those on Wetherby Road and Green Lane, will all get a boost.
Money is also asset aside to develop future improvements and to continue maintenance of the City Walls. The alleygating programme will also continue.
No expenditure on improvements to the northern by pass is expected over the next 12 months despite promises from the Labour Council leadership that this was now one of their priorities.