AFTER revelations that parking income in York has risen by 80 per cent in six years to £6.7 million, we noticed a fascinating campaign by Tom Brake.

Mr Brake is the aptly-named transport spokesman for the Liberal Democrats. He is furious that the national total proceeds from parking has topped £1 billion.

"It's outrageous that Britain's motorists are being charged more than £1 billion a year," he fumed.

"Parking charges are not helping to reduce congestion. Congestion continues to go up as the cost of parking increases dramatically."

Mr B called for "a full and independent investigation into what has been driving the massive increase in parking charges". Perhaps he would like to start his inquiries with a call to York's Lib Dem leader and parking price hike specialist, Coun Steve Galloway...

EVEN though he is a Manchester United fan (a team affectionately nicknamed Scum by Leeds fans of our acquaintance) the new Archbishop of York is a terrific appointment.

It is inspiring enough that John Sentamu had the guts to stand up against the bloody regime of Idi Amin in his native Uganda. But he is also that rare species, a bishop with the common touch. As such he is a worthy successor to the highly approachable David Hope.

In London, Dr Sentamu raised £1.6 million to restore his church, which bodes well for the Minster fundraising appeal. As Bishop of Birmingham, he installed giant plasma TV screens so everyone could follow the service (could our cathedral follow suit?).

However, the favourite fact we unearthed about our new Archbishop is this: he is a Shirley Bassey fan.

On Desert Island Discs, as well as church and African music, Dr Sentamu selected Thank You For The Years by Dame Shirley.

At this point it might be worth pointing out here that he is married with two children.

STAFF at GNER must have been gobsmacked at the way BBC Look North described their employer in a recent news bulletin.

"A train company that runs trains from Leeds to London" was presenter Christa Ackroyd's solemn explanation.

We know that Look North is based in Leeds, but really. You would think a broadcaster such as the BBC would have grasped that GNER not only runs trains from London to Leeds, but also to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness, Hull, Harrogate and Skipton - and that's just the termini.

Christa, recently pictured in this column in front of a fan's moonstruck tribute, should have known that GNER's base is at, er, York.

A YORK lad left his mobile phone in the pocket of his school trousers and threw them in the wash, the Diary is told.

By the time they emerged from the spin cycle the phone was well and truly ruined. His mum found she could claim a replacement on the household insurance. After a while, the company contacted her to tell her it was ready.

She was anxious to know if the new phone was on the same network as the old one, asking the insurance man at the end of the line: "Is it Orange?" After putting her on hold for a minute, he returned, breathless, with an answer. "No. It's silver."

FINALLY Tony Thomson, boss of York Brewery, tells us his special Ascot brew, Royal York, sold so well he had to brew a second batch.

Did the Queen try it, we asked him? Does this mean he can display the Royal crest on his pump clips?

Is he in line for an OBE? Or a knighthood?

"Just write what you like," he sighed.

Updated: 09:34 Tuesday, June 21, 2005