Make it York activities scaled back

Make It York’s economic development arm is set to merge its expertise with the council’s, “to maximise resources and strengthen York’s future, as arrangements for the city’s destination management organisation are set to be agreed by senior councillors”.

In February, the council’s Executive agreed arrangements for the next contract between City of York Council and Make It York (MIY) in order to secure an even stronger future for both organisations.

This includes both organisations merging their economic development and inward investment functions with the council taking the lead. This merger was approved by 87% of city stakeholders who took part in a consultation on proposals for MIY’s future earlier this year.

Under the proposals, Make It York would continue to support the city centre, its markets and tourism through activities that include culture and events. MIY’s revised role, performance measures and governance are also set to be clarified.

There may continue to be misgivings about how MIY manages City centre activities.

There was a recent controversy about the location of the traditional Carousel while some residents point to the lack of a Farmers Market in the forward programme.

Relationships between market stall holders and the organisation have not always been harmonious.

Even by York Council standards, Make it York has a largely impenetrable decision making and accountability structure.

Are incentives to come to York needed?

A quiet day today in York City centre with locals enjoying the fine weather.

More seating is now available in Parliament Street and this is proving to be popular.

A £60,000 campaign to bring “staycation” visitors to York has also been announced, while the Council has launched a range of transport incentives (see below).

The further easing of restrictions scheduled for Monday may, however, brings its own challenges, with pent up demand likely to test compacity at a time when coronavirus is still prevalent, particularly among younger age groups.

New travel incentives announced

City of York Council have announced a range of parking and travel incentives to encourage residents and visitors back to the city centre to support the city’s ongoing economic recovery.

New offers include a discounted resident’s Minster Badge for city centre parking, as well as a 50% off All York Family Ticket to launch as step three of the government’s Road Map is rolled out next week, from17 May 2021.

Half Price All York Family Ticket

The announcement includes a 50% discount for residents and visitors off the All York Family Ticket. The All York Family Ticket allows unlimited travel for the day, on all bus operators in York, including Park & Ride (excluding tourist and event services such as City Sightseeing and race day shuttles) for 2 adults and up to 3 children.  It normally costs £11, but will be discounted to £5.50 under the offer.

Tickets can be bought at the discounted price from 17 May 2021.

With well-established hygiene practices on-board and the maintenance of low COVID-19 cases numbers across York, now is a great time to enjoy the convenience and sustainability of York public transport network. Please follow the on-board guidance and remember hands, face, space when travelling.

Find out more on the iTravel website at https://www.itravelyork.info/allyork

Minster Badge Discount

Residents will be able to apply for a £10 Minster Badge up until  the end of March 2022 that lasts for 2 years. The badge gives residents discounts on parking in council car parks and on-street parking bays. The badge also entitles holders to park for free after 5pm in most council car parks – perfect for evening shopping or to enjoy the many excellent hospitality businesses across the city.

Minster Badges can be bought at the discounted price from 17 May 2021.

The discount will come into play as part of the next stage of lockdown restriction easing, at step three of the government’s Road Map.

To find out more visit: https://www.york.gov.uk/MinsterBadge

TIER E-Scooter and E-Bikes

With an expanded range of electric vehicles to hire across the city, residents and visitors can enjoy TIER’s e-scooters and now e-bikes from almost 40 parking bays across the city.

TIER currently have an active code that enables 5 free unlocks for users of the app: TIERXYORK

Find out more on the iTravel website at https://www.itravelyork.info/e-scooter-trial

Download the app to ride today at www.tier.app

Any questions? Feel free to reach out to the TIER team on  +44 151 3174276 or yorksupport@tier.app.

Blue Badge holders asked for views on parking

City of York Council wants York’s Blue Badge Holders views on potential new parking in York city centre.

Front Street

Unfortunately the survey does not extend to suburban shopping areas like Acomb Front Street. One suggestion there is that the pedestrian area should be suspended on one day per week to allow access for Blue Badge holders.

The council says it is reviewing options to provide additional Disabled Parking locations at the edges of the pedestrianised ‘footstreets’ area. It is doing so before considering whether to make permanent the temporary changes to access arrangements introduced last year, potentially removing Blue Badge access exemptions on specific streets.

This would make the current temporary arrangements permanent, with no vehicles allowed to enter the footstreets area between 10:30am and 5pm (apart from emergency vehicles and a very limited number of service exemptions).

A separate consultation will take place over the decision. For now the council wants to understand how useful these potential additional Blue Badge parking locations next to the footstreets would be.

The new locations represent a mix of new parking bays, potential shared spaces and options to improve some double yellow line parking with dedicated bays.

The areas under consideration are: 

  • Junction of Blake Street and Duncombe Place – next to the Visit York building and Grays Solicitors,
  • Duncombe Place Horse and Carriage Bay – on the road leading to the Minster,
  • St Andrewgate – the road leading down the side of Barnitt’s onto King’s Square,
  • St Andrews Place, off St Andrewgate,
  • Deangate – between the Cross Keys and the Minster,
  • Stonebow – outside Calvert’s carpets,
  • St Denys Road – near St Denys’ Church,
  • Cumberland Street – by the York Opera House,
  • Lord Mayor’s Walk – alongside the wall near Monk Bar,
  • St Leonard’s Place – near the De Grey Rooms.

As part of the consultation, the council is also talking to other users of these spaces, including taxi associations, neighbouring businesses and residents.

Shoppers returning as York City centre reopens

Restrictions on shops, hairdressers and outside catering eased today. Sunshine helped to attract a good number of visitors to the City centre.

Quiet in York

Very quiet Friday in York City centre yesterday.

Despite marketing efforts like the “Made in Yorkshire” market, it seems that most residents are sticking closer to home at present.

The York Council has made cheaper car parking offers available but has so far not said what the take up rate has been..

“Made in Yorkshire” market on Parliament Street
Quiet on Parliament Street on Friday
Coney Street
Clock refuses to move on from 12:00 o’clock

More leisure time for some, comes when a walk or cycle ride in the country can be rewarding.

Autumn colours and cycle track near Naburn

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.?

Major changes to pedestrian hours in York City centre

No consultation prior to “behind closed doors” decision

Pedestrian hours in York City centre will be extended from 10:30am to 8:00pm, 7 days a week. Currently they end at 4:00pm each day.

The scheme will extend to include Fossgate and Goodramgate.

Cyclists will be able to slalom through some of the affected streets.

The Council leadership claims the move is aimed at helping “traders” and says cafes and pubs will be able to “set up tables on the public highway more easily”. The change was agreed yesterday only hours after alcohol fuelled disorder returned to City centre streets.

Disabled people will be badly affected. They can no longer access the City centre streets and have so far snubbed the additional parking spaces – and free taxi service – set up at the Monk Bar car park

The Council have also failed to address the confusion over their “free parking” offer which applies to some car parks in July and August. It got off to a confused start at the weekend.

The Council says that the following public toilets are now offering a contactless payment option and will be open until 10pm

  • St George’s Field
  • Coppergate Shopping Centre –
  • Exhibition Square
  • Silver Street (contactless from next week)

There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that the Councils recent transport and other decisions reflect the wishes of either the majority of residents or of the business community. Not surprisingly out of town shopping centres seem to be recovering much more quickly from the lock-down recession, leaving the city centre vulnerable to fanciful and ill considered social engineering experiments.

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New pedestrian rules imposed by Junta

What is increasingly intolerable is the failure of the Councils democratic systems. There is no reason why notice of this proposal could not have been published in advance with a decision subsequently taken at a publicly accessible meeting.

Instead it exploited an emergency delegation scheme which was intended to take the City through the worst phase of the lock-down.

The Council own “scrutiny” system has also once again been found wanting with meetings, which took place yesterday, failing to effectively challenge the decisions of the secretive “junta” which now dictates to York residents.

Changes to pedestrian hours may well be something that York people would want to trial. This option could have been included on a list as part of the Councils so called “big conversation” survey.

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It wasn’t, so we don’t know peoples views.

However, given the failures of the last few weeks, they will not forgive quickly those who chose to impose their views in such a discourteous and arbitrary way.

So where is York heading post COVID

There are signs of life in some organisations in the City as they begin to address the harsh post COVID realities.

The Council has issued business recovery kits which may aid social distancing particularity in shops.

The move comes on the day when the Centre for City’s releases details of how the health crisis has impacted on visitor numbers to the City centre. Not surprisingly the profile has changed radically with those travelling from the suburbs (both as shoppers and workers) now in the majority.

This will come as no surprise as foreign tourist numbers are, and are likely to remain, negligible. The next three months will be crucial for many retail and tourist businesses in the City.

The City is middle ranking so far in how well is is recovering its high street “footfall” compared to other Cities. It has a recovery index of 24 compared to the least affected (Aldershot with a score of 57 and the worst Cardiff with 11).

But it is early days and a more general return to work next Monday will tell us more.

So what needs to be done?

Clearly York’s visitor economy is going to depend, at least in the short term, on people travelling to the City from within Yorkshire. They will need to feel safe if they are to be persuaded to come.

It is vitally important therefore that such large spaces as exist in the City centre are fully utilised.

We understated that there are events planned for Parliament Street but it is less clear what use it will be made of assets like the Museum Gardens, Deans Park and the Nave of the Minster. Indeed, imaginative programming at the Minster – which could safely accommodate over a thousand people during periods of poor weather – may be vitally important in any marketing strategy.

All could potentially accommodate Arts events while maintaining social distancing rules.

York Minster and Duncombe Place, York
Duncombe Place

The Council has already listed streets which will be pedestrianised.

Incredibly it failed to include Deangate, one of the widest streets in the City and which could – together with the Minster and Deans Park- provide an ideal events space. Events held there would complement those planned for the other side of the City to the benefit traders and attractions in the Stonegate neighbourhood.

In the longer term better use will need to be made of the river banks and the City Walls but, for a few weeks at least, the City will need to concentrate on promoting itself as a vibrant, safe and welcoming destination.

It is time now for Make it York, the Council , the theatres, museums, libraries and other organisations to publish their short and medium term regeneration proposals?

Footsteets to be extended to aid social distancing and “kickstart” York’s economic recovery

York’s footstreets are set to be extended from 15 June. The main impact will be on disabled access.

“City of York Council is extending York’s footstreets from 15 June to increase pedestrian zones within the city centre and support local businesses by providing residents more space to social distance, making access to city centre shops and businesses easier”.

There has been no consultation on the proposals

“The actions are designed to support the council’s Economic Recovery – Transport and Place Strategy, to build resident, visitor and stakeholder confidence that York is a safe, healthy and attractive place for everyone.

York has one of the largest pedestrian zones in Europe, with many areas within York’s city centre already designated as pedestrian footstreets.

In line with the Government relaxing the restrictions for retailers this month, pedestrian zones will be extended to include the following streets:

  • Goodramgate (between Deangate and King’s Square)
  • King’s Square
  • Church Street
  • Colliergate
  • Blake Street
  • St Helen’s Square
  • Lendal
File:Blake Street, York - geograph.org.uk - 1059330.jpg ...
Blake Street pre lockdown

The core footstreet rules will apply to the extension area, including no vehicles being allowed to access, or park on, these streets, including deliveries between 10.30am and 5pm.

During the footstreet times, barriers (staffed for an initial period) will be in place in Goodramgate and Blake Street to control access, but emergency vehicles and the Dial-a-Ride vehicle will be permitted access at all times.

The council is exploring a further extension of the hours in to the evening, to coincide with the reopening of the hospitality sector, alongside encouraging the safe return of residents and visitors by considering incentivised short stay parking in some of the city’s car parks”. 

Blue Badge holders can, as has always been the case, park for free in any council car park and can take advantage of using disabled bay spaces in Council car parks too. For more information on council car parks visit www.york.gov.uk/parking

Blue Badges

The council is also exploring where it can create additional capacity for Blue Badge holders elsewhere in the city by the 15 June, and provide further support. 

This will include shop-mobility type assistance and additional replacement disabled bays at Monk Bar Car Park. Guides will be available to direct people to other car parks and provide on the day information about car parking availability.