Get in touch: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting YORK to 80360 or send an email»
Park-and-sail idea for York's rivers
A “PARK-AND-SAIL” scheme to ferry visitors, shoppers and commuters along York’s rivers could be looked at under a masterplan for promoting the city and revitalising its tourism image.
The initiative, similar to one recently launched in Portsmouth, is among suggestions put forward by businesses, tourism, travel and cultural organisations and the public, amid claims York must move its visitor economy to a new level.
A consultation on City of York Council and Visit York’s new tourism strategy said the city’s rivers needed to become more of an attraction, with better gardens and access. Other ideas include overnight parking at Park&Ride sites and later buses, pay-on-exit car parks and a winter festival to fill an events gap between January and Easter.
Portsmouth’s park-and-sail operates during peak holiday times, and is intended to boost tourism and cut congestion. Passengers park at the port and take shuttle buses to waiting boats for regular 25-minute journeys.
The council’s cabinet, which meets on Tuesday, will be asked to progress plans for a fresh approach to raising York’s profile, drawing in economic investment and attracting more visitors.
A new private sector-led agency is likely to take the lead on marketing the city as Brand York and bringing various organisations together – similar to the London & Partners, IAmsterdam and Newcastle Gateshead Initiative bodies – after officials said the current set-up was “piecemeal and fragmented.”
Work on the proposals has involved Visit York, Science City York and the city’s universities, and cultural body York@Large is also set to play a part in taking them forward. A report by officers said that despite York’s “strong” visitor numbers, the value of its tourism industry has stood still in recent years and opportunities are being missed, while doing nothing would see funding decrease and a “second-best” tourism offer.
Charlie Croft, the council’s assistant director for communities, culture and public realm, said the strategy’s ideas were “innovative” and, if agreed by cabinet, successful schemes elsewhere would be studied further.
Although a new agency could be created, he said Visit York was an “integral part” of the new tourism approach and would have a key role.
“It is about a bold, collaborative new approach to the way York raises its profile, attracts investment, manages the city centre and markets the city nationally and internationally,” he said.
“It’s too early to say what the final model will be. We are now at the stage of gaining approval to look into various options.”
Urban design expert Professor Alan Simpson, who led the team which produced the New City Beautiful 30-year vision for York in 2010 and highlighted a riverside facelift as a crucial area, said: “The rivers are absolutely critical for York – what has been done with river frontages in cities such as Newcastle is tremendous.
“It is about rediscovering the water-edge and turning it into a meaningful, prosperous place and space.”
Comments are closed on this article.