A MONORAIL to carry shoppers and commuters above the York traffic, floating homes on the flood plain, and water taxis on the rivers.

These are a York building engineer’s radical ideas for tackling the city’s traffic and housing problems in the 21st century.

Jon Charters-Reid, who has commissioned York filmmaker Dave Thorp to make a short film to show how his ideas could be put into practice, says the ideas have been successfully adopted elsewhere in Europe and he has put them forward to start a debate.

“In Holland, they already build floating houses – designed to rise and fall with the approaching waters,” he said. “This technology already exists – it’s proven and we need to think about adopting those ideas here in York.”

Jon, a chartered building surveyor and member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Engineers and of the Association of Building Engineers, said: “Much of York is set on a natural flood plain and any new-build is liable to be vulnerable.

“Moreover, new-builds consume valuable land where previously the rainwater would have been stored before soaking away naturally and without incident.

“First we have to accept that flooding occurs, there’s not much we can do about it and it’s going to get worse. Then we have to look for solutions.”

He said transport issues might be eased by using electric boats to connect the new floating communities, claiming: “Modern electric boats are clean, efficient and quiet.”

He was also keen for people to see the advantages of a city-based monorail system. “Many cities around the world already use them. They’re pleasing to look at, easy to construct (often alongside or above cycle tracks) and wherever they’ve been installed around the world, they’ve proved to earn their investment back quicker than most ‘conventional’ public transport.

“We can’t solve our problems with the old way of thinking. The solutions already exist – we just need to have the foresight to explore them.”

City of York Council’s housing executive member, Sam Lisle, said he admired Mr Charters-Reid’s enthusiasm, adding: “I am not particularly familiar with ‘floating homes’ and I am unsure where they stand in environmental and planning terms, given the restrictions around building on floodplains.

“But we certainly need to think creatively about how we rise to the challenges we face in York whilst respecting our city’s unique history and character, whether it be in transport or housing.”

lTo see the video, go to https://youtu.be/WPQJKfTqZ-M