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City Centre Access consultation - what you've told us

City Centre Access Update March 2022

On 22 March a report was presented to the Executive Member for Transport that provides an update on the City Centre Access Action Plans that were agreed by the council's Executive on 18 November 2021.

See a summary of the decisions made at the 22 March Executive meeting.

In November 2021, the council’s Executive considered a number of reports that seek to shape a city centre which meets the social, economic and environmental needs of York, and its communities, and ensures we are able to protect all residents and visitors. See a summary of the decisions made at the 18 November Executive meeting.

We summarised what you have told us in the City Centre Access open brief, and as part of the consultation we also summarised some of the key questions that we asked to help shape future access to the city centre.

Background to the City Centre Access consultation

We've provided information on engagement so far, which covers 3 main areas:

  1. the vision for the city centre
  2. proposals for making temporary footstreet arrangements permanent
  3. a strategic review of city centre access

Vision for the city centre

After a period of engagement, the council has produced a draft vision based on 8 key themes; view the My City Centre York Vision.

The ideas for the future of York city centre were put to residents in September 2021, with people having the chance to comment on the proposals to help us refine the vision.

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Footstreet proposal

A statutory consultation on proposals to make the temporary changes to York's footstreets area permanent, which saw the exemption for Blue Badge holders removed from Blake Street, St Helen’s Square, Lendal, and Goodramgate, Church Street, King’s Square and Colliergate, took place in 2021.

The council’s Executive were asked to make a decision on whether temporary footstreet arrangements should become permanent, based on:

  • responses to the statutory consultation
  • outcomes of wider public engagement on the footstreets
  • recommendations in the Strategic Review of City Centre Access
  • consideration of the Equalities Impact Assessment

Hostile vehicle mitigation

One of the key considerations we had to take in to account in making any decisions on access to the city centre is government guidance and responsibilities on protecting city centres from terrorist attack.

To protect our busiest streets and squares from the types of attacks which have occurred in other cities where vehicles have been used as a weapon, it was proposed to provide 'Hostile Vehicle Mitigation' measures and 'access controls' to reduce the risk by keeping the number of vehicles that are permitted in an area to an absolute minimum.

Guidance from counter terrorism experts was crucial in assessing these risks and needed to form part of any of the decisions on access to the city centre.

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A strategic review of city centre access

We spent the summer of 2021 listening to your views on the future of the city centre. This included extensive conversations about how residents, visitors, businesses and deliveries arrive in and move through the city centre.

We shared the results of those conversations, exploring some of the emerging ideas and asking some questions to help refine the plans before putting them to the council’s Executive.

Improving access to the city centre

The COVID-19 response brought a new dimension to the ongoing challenge of space and access in and around York city centre.

We reorganised the city centre to allow space for the safe reopening of the city centre and continue to offer more opportunity for outdoor trading and social distancing in the footstreets after the lifting of restrictions.

The government introduced new rules allowing pavement café licenses to support safe recovery and has since extended them. All businesses with pavement café licenses will be required to include a tap rail in line with Department for Transport accessibility standards.

The strategy has helped York’s economic recovery; with a relatively low infection rate coupled with better performance on numbers of people and spend than most other cities. The extra space has given most people confidence to return to live, work and play in the city centre.

People have space to move about safely and customers queue, drink and eat on pavements and streets which are no longer permitted to accommodate moving or stopping vehicles.

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Ongoing engagement about access to York city centre

The City Centre Access consultation exercise explores all areas of accessibility within the city centre, including cycling, disability, deliveries and taxis, as well as the ongoing effects for all groups since the extension of the footstreet pedestrianisation.

We engaged with a diverse range of York residents to help shape our accessibility plans and better understand the perspectives of our diverse city centre users. 1,076 people completed a survey advertised online and in the summer 2021 edition of the council publication Our City, delivered to every household in York.

There were over 100 attendees at facilitated workshops and insight meetings covering:

Also see

City Centre Access consultation

West Offices, Station Rise, York, YO1 6GA