Yes and no to King’s Square...

York Press: . .

IT’S good to see The Press give some positive feedback on an initiative that City of York Council undertook to renovate King’s Square (The Press November 28).

For quite a few months, residents and local traders have criticised the work that was being undertaken. I too was bewildered and initially concerned regarding the work, but it is good to see the end result.

I do hope the complainers will now admit that they were looking through a narrow lens, and realise that in future they should inspect the plans and look at the artists impression as to what the final result will be.

While it is important that people should be allowed their democratic right to complain about things they do not agree with, to me there seems no point at all in complaining about things that they have not looked into or researched, and so yet again I reiterate my request to city councillors and council officers to ensure that information and consultation is widely available and not to rely only on online consultation.

Congratulations are due to staff at City of York Council for innovative planning and forward thinking.

H F Perry, St James Place, Dringhouses, York.

 

• THERE are two groups guaranteed to support the King’s Square “Milton Keynes downgrade” – the ever-spending Labour cabinet that borrowed and spent another £500,000 of our taxes, and the surrounding businesses that will get free outside seating areas, with no upkeep required.

Yet in The Press of November 28, you succeeded in speaking to only those groups.

I am disappointed by this, but not as much as by Sir Ron Cooke, the chairman of Reinvigorate York. How did this body get established anyway?

This is what happens when boards sit behind closed doors with one carefully selected luminary to give citizens the impression that all will be fine.

Whoever replaces Labour in 2015 must get back to decent open local democracy.

Many changes need to be made to bring York back to fair and open democracy.

Gwen Swinburn, Park Grove, York.

 

• ON SEPTEMBER 26, a Soap Box letter from Darren Richardson, the director of city and environmental services, boldly declared: “Cobbles will stay”.

Utter cobblers! Exactly 32 yards of dual granite slabs and cobblestone setts have vanished.

The original 1976 cart track gently curved from Colliergate’s kerbside to join the Shambles and Newgate Market. Now it stops abruptly – an incongruous eyesore!

Earlier brave Michelle Wyatt launched her “Save the cobbles” petition from her wheelchair. We now await her figures from our listening council.

Your photograph above the letters of November 27, again featuring Michelle, with the headline posing the question: “Is all this really an improvement?”

Previously the council floated a policy to ban all A-frame advertising boards, defined as ‘obstructions’. It met with huge resistance and was dropped.

However, the Chocolate Story now go one further by parking their enormous logo-laden tricycle on the new paving. Furthermore, I guarantee during next year’s first sunny spell, these chocolatiers will plonk their tables and chairs on the newly laid walkway thereby impeding pedestrians.

Labour bankrolled this £490,000 vanity project, which Reinvigorate York declared a “world-class space”. Oh really...

Geoffrey Widdows East Mount Road, York.

 

• I WAS dismayed at seeing the unveiling of the paving stones in King’s Square. It is sheer vandalism to replace historical stones for bland pavement.

And where is the plaque that informed us all about Christ Church which once stood on that site?

What really annoys me about that is because it has taken me 30 years to write my science fiction thriller book EARTHZOO which features historical York as one of its settings.

It is about to become published yet how can my potential readers wander around York experiencing the plot when the council has demolished most of the scenes?

Someone informed me (jokingly?) they are now contemplating replacing York Minster with council flats!

Phil Shepherdson, Chantry Close, Woodthorpe, York.

 

• I BELIEVE the £500,000 being spent on resurfacing King’s Square to be a total waste of taxpayers’ money which has taken away the charm and character of this historical area.

Terry Smith, Fourth Avenue, York.

Comments (7)

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11:33am Tue 3 Dec 13

Jonthan says...

Geoffrey Widdows talks about the Save the cobbles campaign.

One little problemette with that. There were no cobbles in King's Square, so none were removed.
Geoffrey Widdows talks about the Save the cobbles campaign. One little problemette with that. There were no cobbles in King's Square, so none were removed. Jonthan

12:05pm Tue 3 Dec 13

Firedrake says...

Strictly speaking, Jonathan is right. A "cobble" is an uncut, naturally rounded piece of stone, usuallty taken from the bed of fast-running upland river. Historically, these were indeed used to surface roads. However, what most people call cobbles are in fact "setts" - the usually brick-sized oblongs of cut stone which were mass produced from the Industrial revolution onwards. With ware, they do rtake on a polished, slightly domed form, which I imagine is the cause of the popular confusion.

The only true "cobbles" I'm aware of in York - at least NE of the river - are in Chapter House Street and the lane leading from Minster Yard to the Old Palace. Indeed, said lane is locally (and correctly!) known as "The Cobbled Road"!
Strictly speaking, Jonathan is right. A "cobble" is an uncut, naturally rounded piece of stone, usuallty taken from the bed of fast-running upland river. Historically, these were indeed used to surface roads. However, what most people call cobbles are in fact "setts" - the usually brick-sized oblongs of cut stone which were mass produced from the Industrial revolution onwards. With ware, they do rtake on a polished, slightly domed form, which I imagine is the cause of the popular confusion. The only true "cobbles" I'm aware of in York - at least NE of the river - are in Chapter House Street and the lane leading from Minster Yard to the Old Palace. Indeed, said lane is locally (and correctly!) known as "The Cobbled Road"! Firedrake

1:12pm Tue 3 Dec 13

Fat Harry says...

On balance, I like the new look.

Can't see how it cost £500,000 though. Iain Duncan Smith could live for a month on that.
On balance, I like the new look. Can't see how it cost £500,000 though. Iain Duncan Smith could live for a month on that. Fat Harry

4:06pm Tue 3 Dec 13

The Great Buda says...

Fat Harry wrote:
On balance, I like the new look.

Can't see how it cost £500,000 though. Iain Duncan Smith could live for a month on that.
Its only the first stage, there is more work to be done.
[quote][p][bold]Fat Harry[/bold] wrote: On balance, I like the new look. Can't see how it cost £500,000 though. Iain Duncan Smith could live for a month on that.[/p][/quote]Its only the first stage, there is more work to be done. The Great Buda

6:22pm Tue 3 Dec 13

Despairing Yorkie says...

Gwen, Geoffrey - you're full of opinions and ideas. Why not stand for the council as independents? Or is it easier simply to pontificate without accepting any responsibility?

After the frankly hysterical anti letters about this in last week's Press I went to have a look at Kings Square. Very little real change frankly. I suspect most of the money has gone in prep and earth works, and of course the quoted £400k+ budget is for the whole scheme includingthe roadworks, not just the first phase which has been done now.

The new paving slabs are just that - new. Do any of the critics know what new York stone flags look like? Thought not. Perhaps the council should have laid old-worlde pre-worn slabs instead? As for the "save the 1970s fake cart road" brigade - worlds fail me. Given that for 95% of its existence the road surface in Kings Square wil have been mud and horse sh*t, perhaps the council should have restored that surface instead to please the authentic old York lobby. There is a tiny but vocal lobby in this city who think that preserving York's heritage is about freezing the city in an imagined Merrie England past, not about understanding it as a living developing city that has lasted 2000 years through by constant change, not stasis.
Gwen, Geoffrey - you're full of opinions and ideas. Why not stand for the council as independents? Or is it easier simply to pontificate without accepting any responsibility? After the frankly hysterical anti letters about this in last week's Press I went to have a look at Kings Square. Very little real change frankly. I suspect most of the money has gone in prep and earth works, and of course the quoted £400k+ budget is for the whole scheme includingthe roadworks, not just the first phase which has been done now. The new paving slabs are just that - new. Do any of the critics know what new York stone flags look like? Thought not. Perhaps the council should have laid old-worlde pre-worn slabs instead? As for the "save the 1970s fake cart road" brigade - worlds fail me. Given that for 95% of its existence the road surface in Kings Square wil have been mud and horse sh*t, perhaps the council should have restored that surface instead to please the authentic old York lobby. There is a tiny but vocal lobby in this city who think that preserving York's heritage is about freezing the city in an imagined Merrie England past, not about understanding it as a living developing city that has lasted 2000 years through by constant change, not stasis. Despairing Yorkie

6:25pm Tue 3 Dec 13

Despairing Yorkie says...

Oh, and to counter the inevitable accusations - no I'm not a councillor, or related to one. Just someone born, educated and worked in York for over 40 years who still can't get a handle on how so many people who claim to be interested in York's history don't actually know the first thing about it apart from regarding it as a middle-class retirement home.
Oh, and to counter the inevitable accusations - no I'm not a councillor, or related to one. Just someone born, educated and worked in York for over 40 years who still can't get a handle on how so many people who claim to be interested in York's history don't actually know the first thing about it apart from regarding it as a middle-class retirement home. Despairing Yorkie

3:19pm Wed 4 Dec 13

Lunatic says...

I'm a life-long York resident and a street performer who regularly uses King's Square. I wasn't sure about the change at first, but after reading the plans, I had no objections.

What most of the anti-repair brigade never really addressed amidst their highly emotional vitriol was that the square was in dire need of repair. There was also a misinformation campaign specifically targeted at engendering the illusion that the 1970s paving was some sort of ancient monument, and pedalling the idea that there was no public consultation.

The granite doesn't look anywhere near as bad or as tatty as the old square did. It's nice to not be constantly tripping over uneven paving. And, if they've done it right, it'll be nice to not have to negotiate huge bodies of standing water.
I'm a life-long York resident and a street performer who regularly uses King's Square. I wasn't sure about the change at first, but after reading the plans, I had no objections. What most of the anti-repair brigade never really addressed amidst their highly emotional vitriol was that the square was in dire need of repair. There was also a misinformation campaign specifically targeted at engendering the illusion that the 1970s paving was some sort of ancient monument, and pedalling the idea that there was no public consultation. The granite doesn't look anywhere near as bad or as tatty as the old square did. It's nice to not be constantly tripping over uneven paving. And, if they've done it right, it'll be nice to not have to negotiate huge bodies of standing water. Lunatic

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