Fossgate traffic; “We cocked it up” admits Council

The Council is taking urgent action to change access arrangements on Fossgate and part of Walmgate.

It follows complaints from residents and traders who have been unable to service their premises during the extended pedestrian hours.

It is understood that this has adversely affected trade.,

The Council says, “The current arrangements were installed as part of the Councils emergency COVID response to facilitate pavement cafes and reduce vehicles to support the Economic Recovery. Although consultation was undertaken, the businesses on Fossgate and the yards are reporting negative impacts. This change would allow resolve many of the issues with the temporary arrangements currently in place.

This change continues the displacement of blue badge parking. The council is conscious of this and has put in place mitigations including off street and on street blue badge holders and continues to keep this under review. Understanding the impact is a focus of the current consultation”

The Council has now agreed two modificatiosn to teh traffic order.

1. To approve an emergency change to the Temporary TRO currently in place on Fossgate, to manage one way vehicular access on Walmgate/Fossgate during the day through a “no motorised vehicles, except for access” restriction between 10.30am and 8pm, with two dedicated loading bays on Walmgate/Fossgate and a loading ban for the remainder of the street, and a staffed access point during footstreet hours..

2. To undertake further engagement with traders and residents on Fossgate (including Walmgate, between Fossgate and the junction with Merchantgate) and those gaining access to properties through Fossgate on what future temporary arrangements look like.

As usual the decision was taken at a “behind closed doors” decision session without any prior notice being given.

Traffic signals to be upgraded on Walmgate junction

Walmgate Bar 1830 Traffic signals came later!

Ageing and outdated traffic signals at the Walmgate junction with the Inner Ring Road are set to be replaced in the New Year by City of York Council.

Works are estimated to take around six weeks to complete – between Sunday 6 January and Friday 15 February.

New, more reliable, traffic signals will be installed on the junction of Walmgate / Barbican Road / Foss Islands Road and Lawrence Street (Walmgate Bar). This junction was last refurbished in 2002.

Pedestrian crossing facilities will also be improved, by widening the islands and improving the cycle lane on Lawrence Street.  An early start signal for cyclists will also be installed, coming out of Walmgate Bar, to provide them with priority coming out of town.

As with any construction work, there is likely to be a certain amount of disruption. Residents are assured that everything reasonably possible will be done to keep this to a minimum. During most of the works, except when Walmgate is closed during the weekends identified below, all routes will be kept open. However, there will be lane closures on some approaches to the junction reducing capacity. Motorists should expect significant delays and plan their journey accordingly.

To help minimise this disruption and complete the works as quickly as possible, work will be carried out from 7.30am – 5.30pm Monday to Friday and 8am – 3pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

The left turn from Walmgate on to Foss Islands Road will be prohibited during the works, diversion routes will be in place. Walmgate will be closed at the Bar on Sunday 6 January to allow for preliminary site works to be undertaken. Walmgate will also be closed on the weekends of 12 / 13 and 19 / 20 January to allow the works on the approach to be undertaken safely.

During the works it is anticipated that all bus services will operate as normal, however there will be delays when travelling through the junction.

When Walmgate is fully closed at the bar buses which normally use this route will need to be diverted.  Information regarding the diverted routes will be posted at

Temporary crossing points will be available at all times during the works to ensure that all pedestrian crossings that are currently available are maintained.  Traffic marshals will be on site between 7am and 7pm, seven days a week to assist with pedestrians crossing the road.

The five year traffic signal asset renewal programme was given the green light by the councillor responsible for transport and planning in November 2015 at a public meeting.

The total replacement programme will cost £2.620m over six years and will be funded through the capital programme budget and the existing Local Transport Plan budget.

Residents are urged to plan ahead, allow more time for journeys on these routes and to consider alternatives and to use public transport where possible. Bus services will be operating as normal for the majority of the works but passengers are requested to visit for more information.

The works for Walmgate have been coordinated alongside the works for Stonebow, Fossgate and Pavement to minimise disruption and inconvenience, and at a time which the council understands is the quietest time of the year for businesses.

For information regarding the scheme during the works visit:

Frequently Asked Questions

Piccadilly container village backed by some planning department officials

Sea containers to be parked on Piccadilly?

Council planning officers are recommending that the controversial plan to erect a boozy shipping container village on Piccadilly be approved.

The paper for the planning committee reveals that concerns about impact on the Conservation area and the proximity of the food and drink dominated plan to existing residential properties may be discounted.

The proposed approval of the scheme reflects badly on the competency of the planning system in the City. We already seen an ugly visitor centre approved for a site near Clifford’s Tower while Councillors earlier in the year gave the OK to siting an arts barge on the Ouse. The barge also will have alcohol at the heart of its customer offer.

If the shipping container plan is approved it is unlikely that we will see the permanent development of what is a key site in the City until late in 2020 at the earliest.  The Council – which owns the site – has never satisfactorily explained why – since the end of the recession – they have not been marketing the location for permanent development .

Ironically it seems that the Shambles market will be one of the main casualties if the project does get the go ahead.

We feel very sorry for those residents living in properties to the rear of the site.

One is located only 2 metres from a container.



Walmgate residents were not consulted on shipping container project

Residents living in flats overlooking the proposed shipping container development on Piccadilly have not been consulted on the plans by either the Council or local Ward Councillors it has emerged this morning.

reynardsOver 200 people live near or adjacent to the Reynard’s garage site and one occupier has told us that the first they knew of the proposals was an article in the local newspaper.

At yesterdays meeting the three Councillors, who are supposed to represent the interests of the Guildhall community, all spoke in favour of the container village.

It appears though that they failed to consult local taxpayers before making up their minds.

Part of the scheme involves the provision of “ a large event space and seating area on most of the site + a decking stage performance area“. This has prompted fears about noise in an area which has had its fair share of afternoon and night time disturbance over recent years.

Quite how the developers will square their ambitions with licensing and planning restrictions remains to be seen.

The Council was also criticised for not publicly inviting other organisations and businesses to pitch for use of the site.

One resident has said that they would have been happy to lease a car parking space at the location – suggesting that the Council have missed at least one revenue raising option (Connecting mains services to the container village will cost taxpayers £40,000).

Councillors have been challenged to justify their claims that “there is a lack of space for street food vendors and meeting space in the City“. It has been pointed out that many guildhalls are underused, several retail units are unoccupied and the recently established Shambles cafe area is lightly used. Several office and commercial blocks in the Piccadilly area are empty and have the benefit of existing mains services.

A relatively new small business start up centre in Clifton is rarely fully occupied.

Meanwhile more information has emerged about the project in Brixton (London) which has apparently inspired the York plans




Residents and staff at Willow House to be consulted on closure plans

“High value” elderly persons home site to be sold

Willow HouseResidents, their relatives and staff at one of City of York Council’s Older People’s Homes – Willow House – are being consulted on the option to close the home in early 2017, as part of plans to modernise accommodation for older people in the city.

The Council says that, “the plans seek to address the needs of York’s fast-growing older population, by providing modern facilities which allow high quality care and quality of life. It also aims to make the best use of the city’s existing Extra Care housing, making it more accessible for people with higher care needs by increasing the support available at each venue and by replacing the council’s five out-dated Older People’s Homes, with more modern accommodation”.

Two city centre homes (Oliver House & Grove House) have already been sold by the Council. Willow House, located within a stones throw of the City Walls is likely to command a substantial price when marketed.

There will, however, be concerns that specialist properties specifically designed for older people – and with good access to a full range of amenities – are being lost.

In Acomb, the Council faces a major backlash over its plans to build on the Lowfields school sports fields. Residents had expected that site to be allocated for older people as it is also located very close to the amenities which exist on Front Street

A Council media release goes on to say,

“Each of the council’s Older People’s Homes was assessed against a number of criteria to determine which homes should be consulted on for closure first. Two Older People’s Homes – Grove House and Oakhaven – closed earlier this year as part of the programme and this week, Executive is being asked to approve plans for the sale of Grove House to generate additional capital to support the programme.

The criteria covered:

  • Whether there were any serious physical problems with the building which could impact on the quality of care provided to residents
  • Whether the site had potential alternative uses which will support the wider Older People’s Accommodation Programme
  • Whether there were any residents living at the home who had already been moved from another CYC older person’s home which had been closed
  • The size of the home, with smaller homes struggling to provide a cost-efficient service to residents.

None of the Older People’s Homes were found to have serious physical problems with the buildings, so the decision was based on the other three criteria. Willow House was chosen as the next home to be consulted on re closure because:

  • Willow House is one of the smaller homes with 23 permanent residents
  • Only a very small number of residents have moved home previously as part of the programme
  • Should Willow House close, the location of the site means that it would be likely to generate a significant capital receipt if sold, helping to fund the wider Older People’s Accommodation Programme and so benefit more older people in the city.

Michael Melvin, Assistant Director, Adult Social Care, City of York Council, said: “We recognise that this consultation process can be an unsettling and upsetting one and we will be working closely with the residents, staff and their families, to make sure they have the support and advice they need. Residents and staff at Willow House are rightly proud of their home, however, it is vital that we keep the aims of the wider Older People’s Accommodation Programme in sight.

“The programme looks to ensure that we are able to help older people to remain independent in their own home as long as possible, providing them with a wide choice of accommodation to meet their needs. Our residents are of paramount importance and the actions we take now will ensure that they – and future generations – will have the best possible quality of life and ensure that we can meet the needs of York’s ageing population. This consultation is another step closer to achieving the goal of modernising accommodation for older people in York.”

Residents, their relatives and staff have already been informed of the proposals and will be consulted on their views and any preferences they have about where they would like to move to should the home be closed, over the next six weeks.

The results of the consultations will be presented to the Executive on Thursday 24 November.  Willow House also hosts day drop-in services for people with leaning disabilities in a self contained space. These service users will be consulted separately on proposed changes at Willow House”.

Investing to protect York’s medieval Bar Walls

City of York Council’s investment of over £100,000 to protect and preserve York’s historical Walmgate Bar Walls, which date back to the medieval period, will reach a key milestone this week.

Walmgate bar

For the first time in its history, the timber-framed rear extension at Walmgate Bar will be lifted up slightly (by 10mm) by using a sophisticated jacking system in order for important works to be carried out. These will involve replacing the capitals of the two supporting columns and relocating the way the weight of the structure is transferred to the stone columns.

The Bar is the most complete of the four medieval gateways in York and the walls themselves are the best example of medieval city walls still standing in England today, which over a million people walk across every year.

Originally built as defences, the focus is now on conservation and the council is working with Historic England to carry out a number of improvements to Walmgate Bar to help preserve over 1,900 years of history.
Walmgate Bar is a gatehouse to the city and is the only bar to still have its barbican, portcullis and wooden inner doors.

Works to restore these and other significant parts of the gatehouse started last year. This includes installation of a unique system which will support the timber-framed extension should either or both columns be struck by a vehicle, repair works to the roof (including restoration of the balustrade) and windows, and re-rendering the timber-framed extension.

Thermal insulation will also be improved through the use of a lime render that incorporates hemp. A discreet viewing platform will also be placed on the roof and a hand rail will be installed on the Barbican walkway. The scheme has been discussed with and agreed by Historic England.

Cllr Nigel Ayre, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism at City of York Council said: “The City’s Walls are one of York’s most treasured and significant historical features which is why it’s so important we continue to invest in preserving them. Over a million people a year take a walk through 1,900 years of history on the City’s Walls and we hope through this investment many more visitors will continue to enjoy them.”

John Oxley, City Archaeologist at City of York Council, said: “The repair and restoration work at Walmgate Bar has turned out to be much more complicated than we envisaged when we commenced work earlier this year.  Once we had stripped all the render from the building, we realised that important original features were no longer supporting the structure adequately.This has meant that we have had to carefully reassess parts of the restoration proposals.We have had great support and assistance from experts at Historic England. We are all now very pleased that this essential work can now be completed.”

Further works will continue throughout the month and will require road closures in the area on 22 September.  Details of this will be made available nearer the time.

The City Walls are open every day from 8am to dusk. To find out more about the Walls or about the Walmgate Bar project

Investing to protect York’s medieval Bar Walls

Walmgate bar painting

City of York Council is investing over £100,000 to protect and preserve York’s historical Walmgate Bar Walls which date back to the medieval period.

Walmgate Bar is the most complete of the four medieval gateways in York and the walls themselves are the best example of medieval city walls still standing in England today, which over a million people walk across every year.

Originally built as defences, the focus is now on conservation and the council is working with English Heritage to carry out a number of improvements to Walmgate Bar this month to help preserve over 1,900 years of history.


Walmgate road-works anger

road works

Sleepless nights as work overruns evening deadline

For the second night running, resurfacing works near Walmgate Bar have extended beyond the 11:00pm deadline.

Local residents have complained that they had been given no notice of the changes to working hours which were announced 2 weeks ago.

Earlier in the week a fractured water main was blamed for congestion but the Council have yet to explain the cause of the latest delays.

The Council originally said that works would be restricted to the period between the hours of 6.30pm and 11.00pm.

The works are scheduled to be finished by 19th September.

For details any emergency works on Walmgateafter 11pm @YorkshireWater @YWHelp can advise

— City of York Council (@CityofYork) September 12, 2014

Big retail and housing plans go to York committee next week

Press building, Walmgate

The plan to demolish the existing building occupied by The Press reaches the Planning Committee next week (22nd).

Monks Cross

Monks Cross

The plan would see the erection of 1 three storey and 1 four to seven storey block and the conversion of Wards Warehouse to provide student accommodation (648 student rooms and management facilities); the erection of a 3 storey office (class B1), an extension to the Poads Building and the provision of associated cycle and car parking facilities and landscaping works.

The details can be read by clicking here

The application is recommended for approval.

Monks Cross

The extensions to the existing Monks Cross development are described as “external alterations to amalgamate five existing units (nos 3, 4, 5/6, 11 and 12) and create additional mezzanine floorspace to create two non food retail units” Details can be found by clicking here.

The applicant says that one of the new units would be occupied by Primark. The second unit would be occupied by Debenhams

The application is recommended for approval