Busier in York today

A lot more visitors to York City centre today. Most of the car parks used by shoppers were full.

Never been a more important time for the Council to get its car park space availability advance signs working again. Same for variable message signs.
Nunnery Lane car park full
Half a dozen unoccupied disabled spaces at Nunnery Lane
Reason why some people don’t cycle into York? Bike -or most of it – may have gone by the time you return
Castle car park – York’s most popular with shoppers – full today. This is the car park that some Councillors wish to close.
Peel Street car park full. This is the privately owned car park which is offering free parking in conjunction with some City centre traders. Seems to be very successful
College Street attractions proving to be popular. Possible scope for something similar in the Duncombe Place/Deans Park area?
More people in Parliament Street but the space is still underused.
Improving footfall on Fossgate with a coupe of restaurants serving from outside tables.
Goodramgate foot street also well used today
People even queuing to get into Spark! Council may be hoping for a rent payment?
Monk Bar general spaces 95% occupied. Unfortunately, once again, only four of the 40 spaces reserved for blue badge holders were in use. Needs an early policy review.
Most embarrassing gaff by the Council is the – largely unused – cycling lane in the Marygate car park. The rest of the car park was full today. The car park is popular with shoppers and uses the “pay on exit” system. The parking spaces could be reinstated and cyclists could choose to use the service road if they wish.
The Esplanade short stay car park was at 80% of its capacity today.
Lots of space at the railway station car park. Suspect that LNER may have missed an opportunity here.?

York getting a little busier?

Few more on Spurriergate today
Museum Gardens – with social distancing well organised by Museum staff – was popular today
Marygate car park close to capacity today apart from the completely useless coned off area. Not being used by anyone for social distancing. Meanwhile, at the other end of the Scarborough bridge cycle link to the station, cyclists wanting access the exit towards Holgate Road, have to dismount and walk through the congested portico or bus stop areas.
Cycle parking still poor in York. These were chained to railings today. They had enforcement notices attached but, given the large sums of taxpayers money being thrown at some peoples idea of “sustainable transport”, installing a few extra parking frames (Sheffield stands) wouldn’t be amiss.
The York Council offices are still closed. The gates are padlocked. Given the new government advice about “getting back to work” there should now be a road-map leading to the reopening of services where customers need personal contact.
No information, forward plans or meeting agendas on Council, noticeboards. This one, outside West Offices, simply says that meetings are cancelled “until 30th May”.
No noticeboards at all now outside the Guildhall. Although the building itself is closed for refurbishment, the noticeboards, previously displayed there, provided an easy, accessible location where residents could read about what the Council planned to consider. (Very few people routinely walk past the small noticeboard outside West Offices)

Coronavirus York updates; 4th July 2020

Deaths and test results

There have been no further deaths at York Trust hospitals The total (3/7/20) remains at 214. The last death was recorded on 18th June.

The cumulative total of positive test results (public + private centres) remains at 898 (2/7/20).

Modest increase in visitor numbers today

There appears to have been a small increase in the numbers of people on City centre streets today compared to last Saturday. Some pubs have opened and there are outside cafe tables available on Parliament Street. Most visitors seem to be adopting a cautious approach and are observing social distancing requests. Few are wearing face masks.

There has been come criticism of the Councils “2 hours of free parking” initiative which one trader described as impenetrably complex. The deal doesn’t apply to the main shopper car parks like Castle and Marygate.

Births, deaths and marriages

York Council announces changes at York Register Office and York Crematorium

In line with the easing of government restrictions from 4 July, York Register Office will reopen for weddings and civil partnerships and the Crematorium will welcome more people from this weekend.

Since government restrictions were imposed in March, the council has regularly kept how services at the crematorium can continue under review, with the health and safety of mourners, funeral directors and staff our priority.

Recent government advice means that we are delighted that weddings are able to resume from 4 July the council has been working on plans so that the Register Office can safely hold marriages.

York Crematorium

As part of the updated government advice and taking into account social distancing measures required as well as the ever-present risks relating to the spread of Coronavirus, the Crematorium can now welcome up to eighteen people excluding the funeral director and clergy or celebrant in the main crematorium chapel.

Due to the size of the small chapel and the need to maintain social distancing, the number in the small chapel is being kept at five.

Numerous safety measures remain in place.

The council will also be working with funeral directors and staff to review how the changes to the 2m rule may work in practice to potentially allow higher numbers of mourners to attend. 

Once the restrictions have been fully lifted, the council will ensure that services of remembrance at York Crematorium will be offered to all families and a city-wide multi-faith remembrance ceremony will be held, supported by local faith leaders and the Council.

York Minster has also confirmed that a special memorial service to comfort relatives and friends bereaved during the Coronavirus pandemic will take place at the Minster, when such events can take place.

York Register Office

Weddings are returning to York Register Office this weekend.

Initially the Register Office have and will sort bookings for those who booked a wedding or civil partnership before the pandemic struck and will be in touch with all couples to offer them the opportunity to get married.

As with other Register Offices in the region that are able to reopen and in line with government advice, the council is maintaining the 2m social distancing. This means initially 8 guests (excluding the couple and officiants) will be allowed in the large room in use, in addition to the small witness only weddings which remain as two witnesses only as normal.

While it is not possible to safely accommodate higher numbers at the register office the council is actively seeking alternative venues that would allow 30 people to attend and will make further announcements should this be possible.

Six weddings are booked for this weekend and we hope the couples have a fantastic day and happy marriage.

City centre economy facing a challenge

City centre traders are likely to be looking with concern at the numbers of people who are visiting the City centre. New footfall figures have been published.

The figures suggest that visitor numbers to the City may have plateaued.

Parliament Street less busy this year?

Long periods of hot weather haven’t, in the past, been good for York with some tourists preferring to visit coastal areas.

This years weather has been mixed.

Special attractions like the Rose Theatre, although generally successful, are not sold out while interest in events like the current “Great Yorkshire Fringe” are at best comparable with last year.

During June several York streets saw a 10% drop in visitor numbers in 2019 compared to the same month in 2018.

Early figures for July in Parliament Street suggest a 4% drop in visitor numbers during July.

Perhaps not surprisingly, given the number of empty shops on Coney Street, that area has seen visitor numbers drop from 812,808 in June 2017 to 713,762 in June of this year.

There is no shortage of excellent Festivals in York while the work of the BID has seen several parts of the city centre tidied up.

The most important time for many City centre traders is the period between now and Christmas.

Lets hope that the City continues to be “best day out” in the region

Gradual decline in visitor numbers to Parliament Street.
Smaller shopping streets are doing better with visitor numbers to Stonegate stable and numbers in Micklegate increasing.

York’s newly restored Mansion House attracts 1000 visitors

Visitors have flocked to see inside York’s newly restored Mansion House after it opened its doors for the first time last weekend [2-3 December].

Over 1,000 people visited the house following a £2.6m restoration project to make the history of the Mansion House even more accessible to York residents and visitors.

The house will now be open every day [except Mondays and Tuesdays] until Saturday 23 December, giving people more opportunities to see the house fully dressed for Christmas, complete with decorative garlands and a 10ft Christmas tree.

Councillor Keith Orrell, Interim Executive Member for Economic Development and Community Engagement, City of York Council, said: “York Mansion House really comes into its own at this time of year and the house looks really beautiful dressed for Christmas. I hope that local residents will take the opportunity to see for themselves the marvellous retoration work – the biggest since the house was finished in 1732 – and find out more about the unique history of York’s Mansion House than ever before.”

The resoration includes a new-look exterior, with a brick-coloured facade and a polychrome crest – a colour scheme voted for by York residents in 2016 – and thought to be similar to how the Manison House would have looked in the 1890s. (more…)

So just how successful was the visitor economy in York this Christmas?

The Council has published the latest figures from its footfall cameras. The figures cover the period up to 25th December 2016 and provide a guide to the number of people walking around the City Centre.

December Visitor numbers to York

December Visitor numbers in York

At first glance, the figures suggest that impressions about visitor numbers may have been optimistic.  There has been a dramatic drop in the numbers on Coney Street, no doubt influenced by the high profile shop closures which took place in 2016.

Other streets are also showing a drop compared to 2015 when the Boxing Day floods took a toll on some parts of the City centre.

Even Parliament Street – which should have benefited from the ambitious St Nicholas Fair – doesn’t seem to have enjoyed the expected boost.

Of course, footfall figures are only part of the story. Trader turnover is a vital barometer while hotels look at room occupancy figures. The latter were buoyant earlier in the year.

Large and small visitor attractions monitor admission numbers carefully and there is some evidence to suggest that iconic attractions like the Minster did well towards the end of the year.

It may also be that the benefits of a cleaner, safer and better illuminated City centre – sponsored by the Business Improvement District – will make a difference in future years as “word of mouth” spreads the good news..

…. but in the meantime the authorities should be producing an analysis of what went right, together with a battle plan to address any failings.

Castle car park not full this week

Castle car park not full this week

Parliament Street quiet since Chrsitmas

Parliament Street quiet since Christmas



City centre visitor numbers show small increase in February


Continuing mild weather, and a recovering economy, boosted visitor numbers in York City centre by 3% during February compared to the same month in 2013.

Although the increase is less than is being experienced in similar High Streets elsewhere in the country, no doubt tourism chiefs will point to the success of special events such as the Viking Festival as part of the explanation for the reversal in fortunes.

The modest increase is unlikely to be enough to deflect criticism from the unpopular Lendal bridge closure which continues to dog the reputation of York City centre.

Huge increases in car parking charges – which are scheduled to be introduced later in the spring when York residents will lose their “Minster badge” discounts – are another cause for apprehension.

The first Saturday in March saw 38,882 visitors recorded on the Parliament Street footfall cameras.

This compared to 50,054 on the equivalent Saturday last year.

The full footfall figures can be seen by clicking here.