Cycle path maintenance still poor

The York Civic Trust was reported in the media today as backing a “go slow” by cyclists in the City centre. They were apparently highlighting the need to remove cars from roads to allow for safer cycling.

Any such plans need to be subject to detailed consultation. The Civic Trust could make a start by re-engaging with its own members.

We have already seen on half baked scheme – on Bishopthorpe Road – impact adversely on both shoppers and traders. Nearby roads became clogged at peak times increasing pollution levels.

A similar situation arose at Marygate car park where 40 spaces are currently coned off to provide a (largely unused) route for cyclists. Many cyclists choose to use the internal service road. Meanwhile pressure on parking spaces means shoppers are discouraged and prosperity in the City centre is put under more pressure.

The City does’t benefit from impulsive, uninformed, decision making.

If cyclists – with or without the support of the Civic Trust which really should have other concerns – choose to “go slow” then they will only be replicating life of many riders who try to use existing, suburban, off road cycle paths.

Moor Lane shared cycle/footpath obstructed by overgrown hedge

Too many of these are obstructed by hedges and weeds. Surfaces are damaged, signage faded and lines obscured by age. There are no regular maintenance inspections. Even local Councillors seem unaware of the problems or are indifferent to them.

If the Council has funding available then that is where they should make the first investments.

What’s on in York: Civic Trust events

A interesting programme of events has been prepared by the York Civic Trust. Mostly aimed at members, there are also some which could attract a wider audience.

Membership of the York Civic Trust is only £30 (click)

Likely to be of particular interest is an open series of lectures commencing in May which traces the influence that settlers and immigrants have had on the City.

The organisers say that in 2021 they will bring the story up to date. Given the present Home Secretary’s policies that may turn out to be a very short lecture.

The Peoples of York, Lecture 1: Arrivals

This is the first in a landmark series of six talks. The lectures will explore how York was shaped by settlers from Europe and beyond from the earliest times. The stories of individuals and the history of familiar places will come to the fore in six enlightening and engaging talks.

Organised by YCT, and supported by York Museum Trust, these fascinating sessions will be open to everyone. The series will launch with an insight into Roman and Anglian arrivals in York. In the autumn of 2020, the stories of medieval settlers will come to the fore. In 2021, we will hear how the city was shaped by the turbulence of 19th and 20th century migrations across Europe, and bring York’s story up to the present day.

Venue: Tempest Anderson Hall, Yorkshire Museum

Ticket cost: FREE
Ticket purchase: https://peoples_of_york_lecture1.eventbrite.co.uk

What’s on in York: “Hungate – The First 2000 Years” Peter Connelly Lecture

16th October

6:15 pm – 7:45 pm

Venue: Friargate Meeting House, Castlegate, York YO1 9RN

 £10.00

The archaeology of Hungate, York has provided evidence for at least 2000 years of continuous human connection to this low lying parcel of land nestled in the Foss valley.

During his talk Peter will trace these connections from the use of the area as a Roman cemetery on the edge of Eboracum, through the organised development on the fringes of Viking Age Jorvik and onwards across time to the start of the 20th century when Hungate was called home by a large working class community.

By illustrating the perspective of the last 2000 years, Peter will reveal how certain choices in the past have influenced the development of the Hungate, we see today. He will finish his talk with a personal view of how contemporary decisions, may influence the development of Hungate in the future.

Tickets

What’s on in York: The Georgian Edit

Cutting Edge Fashion of the Eighteenth Century @ Fairfax House

Opening on the 23rd August and running until the 31st December it includes a fabulous array of men’s and women’s fashion from an era when daring and flamboyant designs brought theatre into everyday life.

The exhibition celebrates ten years of ground breaking fashion exhibitions at Fairfax  House and draws together works which highlight the exuberance, playfulness and often extremes in fashion worn by those gorgeous Georgians.

Showcasing sumptuous dresses, suits, shoes and a wealth of exquisite accessories the exhibition runs throughout the house, offering visitors a unique opportunity to see Georgian cutting edge fashion up close. 

What’s on in York: Bomb Happy D-Day – A play about ordinary men in extraordinary times

by Everwitch Theatre

14th, 15th and 16th June

York Army Museum, 3A Tower Street, York. YO1 9SB

“I haven’t seen anybody dead before and we’re in the water, wading to the shore and we’re literally brushing against… bodies rolling in the surf…eighteen, nineteen year olds…people that we know…”

Bomb Happy evocatively brings to life the verbatim memories of the last five York Normandy Veterans who, as young lads from York, Leeds, Sheffield and London, find themselves part of one of the most important military operations in World War Two.

Told in their own words, Bomb Happy follows each Veteran’s unique journey from D-Day to VE Day highlighting the lifelong impact of post traumatic stress disorder.

Meet the Veterans- a unique opportunity to meet York’s remaining D-Day Veterans, including one or two of the real men behind the stories in Bomb Happy, alongside their wives & widows, after the show!

“ Bomb Happy is a verbatim victory….What we see on stage are not worldly-wise old men reminiscing about the past but boys shipped to an unknown land being confronted with the carnage of the battlefield. 5 star Review, Broadway Baby

“…it would be hard to imagine a more emotional experience at any Yorkshire theatre this season.” Charles Hutchinson, York Press

” This play about ordinary men in extraordinary times deserves a much wider audience…This really is a must see play, which will stay with you forever.” Paul Reed, BBC Historian, The World at War

“An incredibly powerful and moving piece. Brilliant cast. Veterans story told in their own words. Do please see it if you can.” Neil Foster, BBC Radio York, BBC Radio Leeds

Suitable Age 12+

Empty Council owned Castlegate property – future still uncertain

29 Castlegate, which is located next to Fairfax House, and is owned by the City of York Council continues to be left empty.
29 Castlegate

Hopes that the property might be purchased by the York Conservation Trust have disappeared following a change of Chief Executive. They had been expected to purchase the iconic building for around £431,000. The discounted sale price was justified in 2017 by claims that significant repair works were needed.

At the same time, the York Civic Trust said that they were set to lease the building with an investment of £2.8 million to be made, as part of an expansion of activities at Fairfax House.

It became clear 6 months ago that the York Civic Trust had suspended their plans.

The building – which also benefits from a valuable showroom frontage onto the Coppergate Shopping Centre – was used for many years as a photographic gallery. When the gallery moved to Bradford, the Council allocated the space to be used as a youth advice centre.

In 2012 the, then Labour controlled Council, commenced negotiations to move the youth facilities elsewhere. The proposal was widely condemned.

The building has remained empty for over 3 years. Potentially this has cost the Council tens of thousands of pounds in rent and rates income.

Addressing the problems with empty Council owned properties should be a top priority for the new administration when it is elected this week. Too many expensive, high profile, properties like 29 Castlegate and the Guildhall have been left to rot. In future York Councillors must insist on receiving an “unused asset” report on a regular basis. It needs to be transparent.

If the Civic Trust deal on Castlegate has fallen through, then the property should either be leased or sold on the open market.

Because of its prestigious location there is likely to be a lot of interest.

This might include bringing part of the building back into residential use.  With apartments at the nearby fire station site selling for over £700,000 each, the opportunities at this address will be obvious to many developers.

Either way, something needs to be done quickly.