CONSULTANTS will look at ways of improving York’s signposts through a £200,000 scheme as part of a wider city-centre facelift project.
The experts have been commissioned by City of York Council to examine signs in and around the city centre following a recent report which said visitors often had difficulties getting their bearings and York could be “confusing”.
Placemarque have been drafted in after working on projects in cities such as Derby, Oxford and Cambridge, for which they have won awards. The Labour-led council said the consultants will consider how signs can be improved around bus stops, taxi ranks, civic buildings and Newgate Market and the review will also help York meet accessibility guidelines.
The funding, which includes consultancy fees and the costs of the first phase of work, will come from the budget for the council’s £3.3 million Reinvigorate York scheme. A study will this month assess the good and bad points of York’s current signs, including those at York Station and Park&Ride sites. Organisations such as York Minster, York Civic Trust, Visit York, York Archaeological Trust and York Museums Trust will also be involved, and Placemarque will then design “prototype” signs and maps to go out to public consultation in the summer.
A 2012 access and mobility audit found information on signposts and boards in York did not meet guidance on size, font and colour. Coun Dave Merrett, cabinet member for planning, said York was linked by a “complex and fascinating network of streets and snickelways”, saying: “It’s important this study delivers options which help residents and visitors find their way around better, meet the latest accessibility standards and digital opportunities, and also respect and add to York’s character and distinctiveness.”
Reinvigorate York chairman Sir Ron Cooke said electronic signs could be considered.
But he said: “We must be careful not to impose more visually intrusive clutter on our heritage streets.”
Visit York head Kate McMullen said better signage would help ensure tourists can easily find attractions, venues and landmarks.
However, Coun Keith Aspden, who leads the council’s Liberal Democrats, said: “With front-line services being cut and council tax going up, residents will be shocked that Labour is choosing to spend £200,000 on a report into signposts in the city centre.
“Labour need to cut the vanity projects and focus spending on things which actually matter.”