Majority oppose major changes at St Leonard’s Place/Bootham/Gillygate junction

It looks like the proposal to change traffic signal priorities at the Gillygate/Bootham/St Leonard’s Place junction will be abandoned.

Some York Councillors had apparently favoured introducing additional delays on traffic flows through the junction as part of a signal renewal programme.

The revised arrangement – although improving pedestrian facilities – could have resulted in a 40% increase in travel times with some journeys being diverted onto already busy alternative routes.

There would also have been a consequential increase in air pollution levels on streets like Gillygate because of standing traffic. Bus journey times would have increased.

A public consultation exercise was undertaken to test residents’ reactions to the plan. Despite some leading questions being included in the on-line survey, most respondents (58%) have come out against major changes.

Although the junction is far from ideal for all road users, it currently reflects the compromises that come if you wish to conserve the historic features of a City like York.

A report will be considered next week.

The responses to the consultation do reveal a growing chasm between the views of people who live within walking distance of the City centre and those who use personal transport to travel to the facilities that are located there.

There is a lack of empathy between the two groups which suggests that finding a consensus on a new transport plan for the City  (click)  may prove to be illusive.

Options consulted on for Bootham Gillygate junction winter 2020/21

Pollution levels still low in York

Air quality remains good, and pollution levels very low, on Gillygate and at other monitoring sites in the City.

Traffic levels are, however, higher than were recorded during lockdown 1 last spring. They are likely to increase further from Monday when there will be a general return to school.

It will be April before shops and offices reopen.

Council plans to reduce road capacity at the Gillygate/St Leonard’s Place/ Bootham junction seem ill timed and insufficiently thought through.

The plans could increase congestion by 30%. That would delay bus services including the vital park and ride links.

In the meantime, residents can monitor hour by hour pollution levels by clicking this link

Meanwhile we understand that the Council will delay its assessment of the effects of road closures in The Groves area.

A review was due in the spring.

They are right to delay as traffic volumes and movements have been untypical during the Lockdown period.

However, it does mean that a reassessment of some of the more questionable aspects of the scheme – such as contraflow cycle routes – will remain in place as traffic volumes and safety hazards increase.

There have been no queues involving deer or cattle in The Groves during recent months

Council stages three on line consultations


The promised consultation on changes to pedestrian priority arrangements at this junction started this week.

It asks whether changes could be made as part of a plan to modernise the traffic signals at the junction.

The survey can be found by clicking this link


This design replaces all signalling equipment at the junction whilst also making slight improvements for pedestrians crossing the junction.  Transport modelling of these revisions indicate that the impact to all vehicular traffic moving through the junction is negligible however the improvements to infrastructure at the site make future upgrades and revisions to operation easier.

* A full replacement of all on site traffic signalling technology

* Pedestrian Crossing width increased to 4 metres on the Bootham arm of the junction

* Pedestrian Crossing width increased to 6 metres on the Gillygate arm of the junction

* Tactile paving on the St Leonards Place arm of the crossing to be realigned meet current design standards.

Option 2

This design looks to reallocate space at the junction from road traffic to pedestrians whilst also replacing the required signalling equipment. 

Transport modelling of the redesign indicates that the changes would reduce the capacity of the junction by approximately 30%.  This would see significant increases in general traffic delay at the junction and a large increase in queues which would impact on adjacent junctions across the network. 

* A full replacement of all on site traffic signalling technology.

* Pedestrian Crossing widths increased to 4 metres across both the Gillygate and Bootham arms of the junction.

* Additional pedestrian crossing point introduced from the eastern corner of Gillygate to the western footway of St Leonards Place.

* Removal of the left turn lane from St Leonards Place reducing the highway into a single lane in both directions.

* Highway realigned to the East of Gillygate/St Leonards place to create a more straight ahead route for vehicles travelling from Gillygate into St Leonards Place and additional footway and pedestrian realm adjacent to Bootham Bar.

* Existing Pedestrian Island removed from St Leonards place and crossing realigned as a single stage crossing.

The consultation runs until 31st March.

Dropped kerbs

The Council is also consulting on a revised policy for approving dropped kerb – verge cross over plans.

Lack of on street parking space means that more residents will be likely to seek to make this change in the future. Installation of vehicle charging facilities as the internal combustion engine is phased out, may stimulate demand.

The new regulations are very proscriptive. They don’t permit the relocation of tree or street furniture which may obstruct access to a driveway.

A programme of providing dropped kerbs for Council owned premises has stalled over recent years meaning that verges in several streets are now badly damaged.

The draft policy can be found by clicking here

The consultation closes on 28th April

Homeshare York

The Council is also consulting on the future of its Homeshare services

“Currently Homeshare matches a homeowner aged 55+ who has a spare room and could benefit from some support and/or companionship (the ‘Householder’) with a younger person who will provide 10 hours of support a week in exchange for accommodation (the ‘Homesharer’). Homeshare is free to the Householder and the Homesharer pays £160 towards the running of the match as well as any contributions towards council tax increases. Homesharer’s are fully vetted including two references and a DBS check. Matches are made based on both parties’ personalities and interests and support is offered throughout the match. Matches are expected to last for a minimum of 6 months but can be ended early if a match is not working out. For more information you can visit our Homeshare webpage.

the Homeshare survey can be accessed here:

The survey runs until 22nd March

Overnight closure of St Leonards Place, Bootham and Gillygate on Monday and Tuesday

City of York Council will be resurfacing the junction of St Leonard’s Place, Bootham and Gillygate on 25 and 26 September.

To minimise disruption work will take place from 7pm-5am and is expected to take two nights to complete.

To carry out the work safely, a temporary full road closure will be in place between 7pm and 5am on Monday and Tuesday. Work to part of the bus lay-by adjacent to Exhibition Square will also take place at the same time and will be closed throughout Tuesday and Wednesday.

During the closure period, residents and visitors will have pedestrian access to properties and local attractions. Traffic management officers will be on site to escort pedestrians where required.

Residents in the works area will have pedestrian access to their properties. Vehicle access cannot be guaranteed during the hours of working. Car park entrances within the work area will be affected and may not be accessible at all times during the works. Access to Marygate and Union Terrace car parks will still be available from Bootham and Clarence Street respectively.

Emergency services will be permitted through the works in emergency situations and pedestrian access will be available at all times. Cyclists will be required to dismount and use the footways when travelling through the affected areas.

As with any construction work, there is likely to be a certain amount of disruption. Residents in the affected area have been contacted directly and assured that everything reasonably possible will be done to keep this to a minimum. However, motorists should expect some delays and plan their journey accordingly.

The contractor carrying out the work will be Tarmac,who will be responsible for site safety and providing pedestrian access at all times.

Key York planning decisions scheduled for 22nd January

Future of B&Q, former Council offices and Del Monte sites to be determined

B & Q Hull Road

Sainsbury’s have applied to convert the premises into retail food store with external alterations including reconfiguration of the shop front, canopy, installation of new customer cafe and associated toilets, installation of ATMs, removal of existing garden centre and builders yard and reconfiguration of site access and customer car park.

The store will have 5,591 Sq m of retail floor space and 505 car parking spaces.

There have been 93 objections to the proposal mainly on transport grounds. Several competitor traders have also objected.

71 people have written in support of the plan.

The application is recommended for approval but will be referred to the Secretary of State who will decide whether to call it in for further consideration.

Del Monte site Skelton

The application seeks outline consent for the use of the site for residential development for up to 60 dwellings. The site has previously been used as a factory, which was demolished last year.

20% of the homes will be “affordable”.

The application is recommended for approval. If approved the new homes will reduce the pressure to build on Green Belt land.

Offices to be turned into homes

Offices to be turned into homes

 Former Council offices, 1-9 St Leonards Place

 This application seeks planning permission for the change of use of 1-9 St Leonard’s and 2- 4 Museum St, and includes the former stable block to the rear.

At present these buildings are vacant and were last used as City of York Council offices. The applicants wish to convert the buildings into 5 town houses and 29 apartments.

The former stable block would be converted to 1 mews house with a double garage and 5 mews houses over 5 double garages would be developed along the rear lane. The layout of the existing St Leonard’s place car park would be revised to create a private car park with 30 parking spaces. Gates and railings would be reinstated around the car park area.

The Council is seeking a contribution of £298,169 towards the provision of “off site” affordable housing. Concerns about air quality for rooms facing St Leonard’s Place, means that windows will be fixed and fresh air ventilation will be drawn mechanically from the rear of the buildings.

The application is recommended for approval together with a parallel application which would permit limited works to the Listed building. This is another project that will reduce the pressure for building on the Green Belt.

  1. Planning permission is also recommended for approved at Hagg Lane, Dunnington for the extension of a car park currently used during the week by Costcutter staff and of Saturdays by footballers.

Car park signage criticised

St. Leonards Place car park

St. Leonards Place car park

Some motorists have been confused by the signing at the entrance to the – now privately run – car park on St Leonards Place. Several have thought that the entrance had been moved as part of the Exhibition Square refurbishment, although this isn’t the case.

For a Conservation Area the signs are borderline intrusive anyway.

Users of the car park find that they are expected to pay up to £12 to park. Unfortunately the operators – a Leeds based company – allow only cash payments for tickets.

Parking machines at St. Leonards Place car park. click to enlarge

Parking machines at St. Leonards Place car park. click to enlarge

It is several years since the Council made credit card and “pay by phone” options available at its central car parks.

There is also no parking available for those with disabled badges although it is the most central facility for those accessing most of the shops in the city centre.

This is a good location for cycle parking facilities and it would have been worth the Council continuing to operate the car park facilities until the apparently endless saga over the future of the adjacent office block is finally settled.

There is no sign of work commencing on site despite the council announcing a development scheme almost 3 years ago.

The Council is also remaining tight lipped about the planned hotel at the Barbican site which is now 4 years behind schedule.

Bootham Gillygate junction to be closed for 1 week (overnight)

 St Leonards Place, Bootham, GillygateCarriageway Resurfacing Works


Bootham - Gillygate roadworks from 17th November 2014

Bootham – Gillygate roadworks from 17th November 2014

City of York Council have announced that it is to reconstruct the junction at St Leonards Place, Bootham, Gillygate starting on the 17th November 2014.

The works are programmed to take 1 week to complete, working Monday to Friday between 7:00pm and 5:00am.

To carry out the works safely, a temporary full road closure will be in place between 7:00pm and 5:00am Monday to Friday, with some accommodation works taking place outside of these times.

Due to the nature of the works and the deep excavations taking place, it will not be possible for the buses to access the bus stops on St Leonards Place and all buses will be diverted to temporary bus stops.

Residents and visitors will have pedestrian access to properties and local attractions and Traffic Management Officers will be on site to escort pedestrians where required.

Residents in the works area will have pedestrian access to their properties but no vehicular access will be possible during the hours of working. Parking is not permitted on any of the roads involved. The car park entrance within the works will be affected and may not be accessible at all times during the works. Access to Marygate and Union Terrace car parks will still be available from Bootham and Clarence Street respectively.

Emergency services will be permitted through the works in an emergency situation and pedestrian access will be available at all times. Cyclists will have to dismount and use the footways when travelling through the affected areas.

St Leonards Place

The media are reporting that the old Council offices in St Leonards Place may be restored for use as residential accommodation.

Ironically, if true, that would mean that the preferred use identified when the buildings were sold in 2007 would be implemented.

Labour views in 2012 click

Labour views in 2012 click

In the interim, there have been several options considered for the buildings but the impact of the recession prevented any progress.

For a time it seemed that a shared residential and hotel use would be the likely way forward but in 2012 the new Labour Council welcomed plans for what was described as a “prestige hotel”.

Labour Councillors were effusive in the Press when acclaiming the plan.

As we commented at the time, proposals to move the bus stops from outside the hotel seemed to be less than well thought through.

But the original idea to reintroduce residential accommodation into the area was right. The York Conservation Trust were one of the bidders for the property but lost out when the tenders were opened.  They had ambitious – but costly – plans to restore the properties.

The Council did well to sell the buildings at the peak of the pre recession property boom. The receipt helped to fund the move to a consolidated HQ in vacant buildings at West Offices.

The provision of residential accommodation in the Listed St Leonards Place buildings would be a bonus for the City.

There is a serious question to be answered about the change.

There are several sites earmarked for hotel developments in the City. Already a site on Holgate Road has been abandoned while the former Haymarket car park – sold off partly for hotel use at the low point in the recession by a less than erudite Council Leadership – is also stalled.

The Council needs to be realistic and focus its support on those hotel sites which are both commercially viable and which can contribute sustainable jobs to the local economy.

In that respect the key site must be that next to the Barbican which could help to sustain the important conference trade in the City.