Square’s new paving is out of character

York Press: King’s Square with its new-look paving King’s Square with its new-look paving

A good deal has been written in The Press about the work being carried out in King’s Square and there seems to be almost universal agreement that the result has been hugely disappointing. Given the historical significance and character of the square, those who have described it as “a disaster” are probably nearer the truth.

If you stand on the opposite side of the square and look across towards York’s Chocolate Story, you might now be looking at any modern shopping precinct anywhere in any city.

The problem has largely been the wholly inappropriate choice of paving and the council officials responsible appear unable, or unwilling, to accept they have got it wrong. Suggestions that this paving was essential in the interests of public safety were nonsensical. The city’s experienced conservation engineers and planning officers of 20 years ago would never have allowed this to happen.

This is one of the worrying aspects of the situation. If the officials seriously think the paving work being done in King’s Square is appropriate, what further afflictions might now be in store for elsewhere in the city? The only conclusion can be that these people are either in the wrong job or else working in the wrong kind of city.

John Nursey, Flaxton, York.

 

• ALL the money spent on King’s Square and where are the Christmas Lights? Surely the trees could be lit. It’s disgraceful.

S Smith, Lang Avenue, York.

Comments (6)

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12:13pm Thu 19 Dec 13

Old_Man says...

Dear Mr ********,

Freedom of Information

Please see below the response to your enquiry under the Freedom of Information Act received on 6th December 2013.

"Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 I wish to request a detailed breakdown of the costs and budget for the King’s Square refurbishment project.

I would like to know the costs of materials and labour, as well as an explanation as to if/how decisions were made on materials to be used and if they were sourced with value for money being a consideration."
____________________
____________________
____________________
__

The Kings Square project is currently part way through construction. Having started in September 2013 phase 1 finished in November and phase 2 will commence in spring 2014. At this stage we can therefore provide an overview of the capital costs broken down into categories based on cost planning which we trust is of assistance.

• Preliminaries/survey
s: £8,750
• Traffic and pedestrian management: £7,750
• Public utilities: £16,619
• Labour: £121,200
• Plant and transport: £20,040
• Natural stone materials: £148,523
• Excavation and disposal: £2,755
• Linear slot drainage system: £28,108
• Sub-base: £26,526
• Propriety bedding, slurry and jointing material: £22,907
• Ancillaries: £44,850
• Contingencies: £41,972

Concerning your question about our choices for materials we can advise:

• For aesthetic reasons natural materials were chosen throughout the project. The decision on this preference was taken at an early stage as part of a design working group process. This respects city wide policy guidance on the appearance of the historic core, such as the York Central Historic Core Conservation Area Appraisal 2011. It also follows national guidance about the quality of places from bodies such as CABE and English Heritage. Ultimately the final decision on this was taken by cabinet through the approval of the scheme proposals on 2nd April 2013.
• For reasons of durability we also chose natural materials. Concrete derived paving products are not as durable as correctly specified natural materials.
• Very high quality natural stone was sought. Natural products vary enormously in their impact strength, porosity, slip resistance, and flexural strength. Materials were chosen that had the highest performance quality. Granite is naturally a very durable material but sandstone known as yorkstone is very variable. We chose the most durable sandstone that we could find indigenous to the region which is a type of Hard English Pennine Stone known as Scoutmoor.
• We chose a reliable source of stone. Some natural materials, especially reclaimed materials are hugely variable in quality. We therefore chose new materials from reliable suppliers that have excellent quality control processes.
• The stone we replaced was riven (split faced) flags and stone setts (mostly hard sandstone) from the 1970s. setts could possibly have been laid in the 1970s as “tumbled” which is to artificially introduce wear by tumbling in a machine. There was significant wear and damage throughout the square and poor patchy repairs. We chose to avoid uneven surfaces when replacing this stone. City of York Council commissioned an external consultant to audit the city centre and make recommendations to improve the accessibility for all users (York City Centre Access and Mobility Audit September 2012). A diverse range of groups that had mobility issues gave evidence of experiencing difficulties with damaged and uneven surfaces; most of these were people on foot. The audit strongly recommended to avoid building surfaces that were uneven and to rectify damaged surfaces. Both of these were aspirations of the Kings Square project.
• We chose to relay the stone using new methods that are much stronger than those used in the past. This is to ensure that the surface lasts for as long as possible. This necessitated deep footings and is aided by utilising uniform shaped stone incorporating small joint widths- something not practical with old uneven stones of varying quality.
• We competitively tendered the procurement of the stone paving so as to get the most competitive price.

We hope that the above reassures you that materials were sourced for value of money- both as an initial capital cost and one that gave value for money in the longer term through life cycle costing.
Dear Mr ********, Freedom of Information Please see below the response to your enquiry under the Freedom of Information Act received on 6th December 2013. "Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 I wish to request a detailed breakdown of the costs and budget for the King’s Square refurbishment project. I would like to know the costs of materials and labour, as well as an explanation as to if/how decisions were made on materials to be used and if they were sourced with value for money being a consideration." ____________________ ____________________ ____________________ __ The Kings Square project is currently part way through construction. Having started in September 2013 phase 1 finished in November and phase 2 will commence in spring 2014. At this stage we can therefore provide an overview of the capital costs broken down into categories based on cost planning which we trust is of assistance. • Preliminaries/survey s: £8,750 • Traffic and pedestrian management: £7,750 • Public utilities: £16,619 • Labour: £121,200 • Plant and transport: £20,040 • Natural stone materials: £148,523 • Excavation and disposal: £2,755 • Linear slot drainage system: £28,108 • Sub-base: £26,526 • Propriety bedding, slurry and jointing material: £22,907 • Ancillaries: £44,850 • Contingencies: £41,972 Concerning your question about our choices for materials we can advise: • For aesthetic reasons natural materials were chosen throughout the project. The decision on this preference was taken at an early stage as part of a design working group process. This respects city wide policy guidance on the appearance of the historic core, such as the York Central Historic Core Conservation Area Appraisal 2011. It also follows national guidance about the quality of places from bodies such as CABE and English Heritage. Ultimately the final decision on this was taken by cabinet through the approval of the scheme proposals on 2nd April 2013. • For reasons of durability we also chose natural materials. Concrete derived paving products are not as durable as correctly specified natural materials. • Very high quality natural stone was sought. Natural products vary enormously in their impact strength, porosity, slip resistance, and flexural strength. Materials were chosen that had the highest performance quality. Granite is naturally a very durable material but sandstone known as yorkstone is very variable. We chose the most durable sandstone that we could find indigenous to the region which is a type of Hard English Pennine Stone known as Scoutmoor. • We chose a reliable source of stone. Some natural materials, especially reclaimed materials are hugely variable in quality. We therefore chose new materials from reliable suppliers that have excellent quality control processes. • The stone we replaced was riven (split faced) flags and stone setts (mostly hard sandstone) from the 1970s. setts could possibly have been laid in the 1970s as “tumbled” which is to artificially introduce wear by tumbling in a machine. There was significant wear and damage throughout the square and poor patchy repairs. We chose to avoid uneven surfaces when replacing this stone. City of York Council commissioned an external consultant to audit the city centre and make recommendations to improve the accessibility for all users (York City Centre Access and Mobility Audit September 2012). A diverse range of groups that had mobility issues gave evidence of experiencing difficulties with damaged and uneven surfaces; most of these were people on foot. The audit strongly recommended to avoid building surfaces that were uneven and to rectify damaged surfaces. Both of these were aspirations of the Kings Square project. • We chose to relay the stone using new methods that are much stronger than those used in the past. This is to ensure that the surface lasts for as long as possible. This necessitated deep footings and is aided by utilising uniform shaped stone incorporating small joint widths- something not practical with old uneven stones of varying quality. • We competitively tendered the procurement of the stone paving so as to get the most competitive price. We hope that the above reassures you that materials were sourced for value of money- both as an initial capital cost and one that gave value for money in the longer term through life cycle costing. Old_Man

3:28pm Thu 19 Dec 13

donotbecomeusa says...

Just plain UGLY...looks like a shopping mall!!
Just plain UGLY...looks like a shopping mall!! donotbecomeusa

4:15pm Thu 19 Dec 13

York Fox says...

It's not horrendous, but it is a massive disappointment. Unworthy of York, and unsuited to its character and nature.

I wonder if they considered showing the outline of the church that once stood on the church, to make use of the space as a heritage feature.
It's not horrendous, but it is a massive disappointment. Unworthy of York, and unsuited to its character and nature. I wonder if they considered showing the outline of the church that once stood on the church, to make use of the space as a heritage feature. York Fox

12:01am Fri 20 Dec 13

Magicman! says...

The christmas lights are a bit of a damp squib... there's more LED's on my bike than on these christmas lights!!
The christmas lights are a bit of a damp squib... there's more LED's on my bike than on these christmas lights!! Magicman!

9:33am Fri 20 Dec 13

BigJon says...

It's extremely plain and characterless....jus
t like every other city centre shopping area in the country. Not only that but the choice of materials makes the raised older area (which I assume is going to stay as is) now look completely out of place with the rest of the pedestrian area - and, unless something is going to be done about it in 'phase 2', the joining of the old and new with patches of tarmac looks just plain sloppy
It's extremely plain and characterless....jus t like every other city centre shopping area in the country. Not only that but the choice of materials makes the raised older area (which I assume is going to stay as is) now look completely out of place with the rest of the pedestrian area - and, unless something is going to be done about it in 'phase 2', the joining of the old and new with patches of tarmac looks just plain sloppy BigJon

4:46pm Fri 20 Dec 13

Dr Robert says...

Does Micklegate know its Christmas this year, ?
Does Micklegate know its Christmas this year, ? Dr Robert

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