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Proposals aim to pump new life into the streets of York
MILLIONS of pounds are to be pumped into a huge facelift for York’s city centre after fresh plans were unveiled.
City leaders will be asked to approve spending £3.3 million towards six projects through the Reinvigorate York scheme, with work being carried out over the next three years.
Improvements to entrances of streets such as Spurriergate and High Ousegate and new lighting and seats are also on the cards, while the junction of Parliament Street, Piccadilly, High Ousegate and Coppergate should be made more “pedestrian friendly” following the “splash palace” toilet block’s demolition.
The proposals, which will be discussed by City of York Council ’s cabinet next week, include:
• Pedestrianising Fossgate and improving its junction with Stonebow and Whip-ma-Whop-ma Gate
• A larger public space and better disabled access in Kings Square, with a separate funding bid to improve Newgate Market
• Improvements to Exhibition Square, Bootham Bar’s entrance and Duncombe Place
• Revitalising Micklegate to “celebrate it as an important entrance” to York and reducing traffic.
The money will come from the council’s Economic Infrastructure Fund, set up earlier this year. In a written report, Derek Gauld, the authority’s head of major development projects and initiatives, said the centre of York was “looking tired in places” and risked lagging behind rival cities in attracting visitors and businesses.
He said “peripheral” streets were struggling for trade and said the design of street furniture, paving and signs had been “piecemeal”. He said there was not enough “green space and relaxation area”.
Mr Gauld’s report also said access to the “fragmented” city-centre was considered difficult, adding: “While several areas, most notably Shambles and Stonegate, are among the highest quality streets in the city or elsewhere, the remainder often fails to live up to the high standards the city should expect”.
Work in Exhibition Square and King’s Square is earmarked to start first.
Sir Ron Cooke, advisor to the Reinvigorate York panel, said: “Reinvigorate York is vital, not least because competition from other cities is growing and visitors regularly cite strolling around and enjoying the ambience among their top activities. This is about improving the city-centre stage we all act on in our work and play.”
Coun Dave Merrett , cabinet member for planning issues, said York faced challenges from cities which were improving their centres, such as Leeds, Hull, Manchester and Newcastle, and other heritage cities such as Bath, Bruges and Barcelona, making improvements crucial.