YORK residents have backed the idea of a new Yorkshire Wheel on the banks of the River Ouse.
In a city-wide survey, 42.7 per cent supported the idea, while only 9.7 per cent opposed it. The rest expressed no view.
The opinions were contained in the results of City of York Council’s annual budget consultation, which asked voters how they thought money should be spent and saved in 2009/10.
More than 7,700 households – about one in nine – took part, and many backed the idea of a new wheel in North Street, replacing the old one at the National Railway Museum.
The wheel would generate income for the council through leasing the land to the operator, World Tourist Attractions.
Elsewhere in the consultation, residents overwhelmingly called for a reduction in council red tape and pen-pushing.
Of those who responded, 72.2 per cent called for the council to cut spending on administration. Less than three per cent disagreed.
There was also support for cutting pensioners’ concessionary bus travel by 30 minutes a day, and increasing the cost of adult courses in leisure or personal development.
The response rate was up by a fifth on last year. The council’s chief executive, Bill McCarthy, said: “I’m really pleased that almost 8,000 residents have taken the time to give us their views on
where the council should make savings and in which areas they would like to see it spend more.”
He said there would “undoubtedly be some difficult decisions” in setting the budget, but residents’ views would be taken on board.
The survey showed strong support for services for the elderly, with more than half of respondents opposing cuts in elderly care, and 35 per cent calling for increased payments to private
residential care providers, to ensure they could meet demand.
There was also strong opposition to cuts in road and pavement maintenance work, with 46 per cent saying current levels should be maintained, while 40 per cent of respondents thought the council
should make additional savings by delaying the use of concessionary travel for those aged 60 and over until 9.30am.
Nearly a third said spending on children in care should be increased to meet rising costs.
Council leader Andrew Waller welcomed the response rate and said: “I recognise that residents want us to maintain support for vulnerable people, the elderly and children while maintaining the high
standards of road maintenance, street cleaning and kerb-side recycling, as have set through York Pride in recent years.”
World Tourist Attractions has said it will submit a planning application for a new wheel by the end of January. The budget will be set at Guildhall on February 26.