Ritual hand wringing over future of St Sampsons Square toilets

St Sampsons Square 40 years ago

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”



Parliament Street fountain’s days are numbered

Parliament Street fountain

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.

York children set to lose Christmas Carousel?

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)

Members of the public ride a carousel adjacent to the ‘St Nicholas Fair’ Christmas market in the city centre of York, on December 3, 2014.  OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images

It looks like the new “Make it York” organisation is set to ban a famous childrens ride from the St Sampsons Square/Parliament Street area this Christmas. The festive music from the ride has added to the atmosphere in that part of the City.

A carousel ride has been a popular choice for hundreds of young (and not so young) children for a long time but we understand that their booking for a traditional pitch on St Sampson’s Square has been cancelled by “Make it York” 

Instead more market stalls are to provided in the Square with a “new attraction” likely to go outside Marks and Spencer.

Make it York have offered the carousel operators a pitch in the Eye of York, apparently unaware that the Ice Factor event was forced to move from there following complaints, of noise and distracting behaviour, from officials at  the adjacent County Court. The site would in any event not have a high enough footfall to justify installation and running costs.

There has been no discussions with Councillors over the move.

While many residents would welcome some consultation on what new attractions might be provided in the future during the Christmas and other seasons, it seems that the new organisation has yet to learn the importance of consultation with potential customers.Make it Talk angry mob score

It is only a few weeks since that the organisation announced that it was removing the fountain in Parliament Street, ostensibly again to provide more space for specialist stalls. The York Council later intervened and shelved the idea pending proper public consultation.

Make it York took over tourist promotion, economic development, the management of the Shambles (Newgate) market and city centre activities in April. The transfer of responsibilities – and a large budget – was criticised at the time for are lack of transparency, poor communications, lack of consultation and inadequate no performance measures.

The Council is represented on the make it York Board by its Leader Cllr Chris Steward