Lendal Bridge recriminations continue
Lendal bridge without traffic
York been awarded a further £1million by the Department for Transport as a dispute about who paid for the Lendal Bridge trial has surfaced.
Refund decision- who decides and when?
None of the Council’s decision making bodies has considered a proposal to repay Lendal Bridge fines. It is merely a proposal to creep out for a “behind closed doors” meeting of the Labour Group. It is a key decision but does not appear in the Councils forward plan. The last time the Council considered the issue Labour Councillors combined to vote down a request for an independent scrutiny review of the failings of, and lessons to be learned from, the Lendal and Coppergate trials.
Now a decision date will have to be set and a report on the methodology – and costs – of setting up a refund system will have to be written and published. The ultimate success of a proposal to repay fines is not in doubt, as both Opposition parties (LibDem and Tory) have previously called for the refunds to be made. There is considerable doubt, though, about when such payments might start and what paperwork vehicle owners may be expected to complete.
How much did it cost and who pays?
The present government allows Local Authorities a large measure of devolution on transport spending priorities and last year the Councils Labour Leadership chose to spend some grant money on access restriction hardware (such as ANPR cameras).
This totalled around £100,000 and is money that has now effectively been lost. The latest grant allocation (see below) was made before the York Council made its announcement about refunding Lendal Bridge fines, so it remains to be seen whether the fiasco will adversely impact on future transport funding allocations for the City.
The vast majority of the costs of the Lendal Bridge and Coppergate schemes were funded by fine income. The detail was reported to the Cabinet earlier in the month Click here for report Para 23 makes it clear that £1.756 million in fine income had been received by the end of March. Administrative costs were £718,000. In the main, those were the costs of enforcement and processing the FPNs. The Council has never revealed how much it was charged by the Peterborough based company that it used to process the fine notifications.
LTP3 – What did it say?
Some commentators are also claiming the the Local Transport Plan (LTP3), submitted to government in 2010 when the Council was LibDem led, somehow prompted the Lendal Bridge access restriction trial. The plan can still be viewed on the Council’s web site click here
The Plan does suggest a trial which would have given public transport priority on Ouse Bridge (not Lendal Bridge) in the medium term (2019). However that was conditional on other network improvements being completed – notably to to the northern by pass and to Park and Ride facilities – in the interim. The Labour Leadership must accept full responsibility for trying to bounce an ill considered Lendal Bridge scheme, onto an unsuspecting public, before even the two new Park and Ride sites had been completed.
£1 million more from Government
We hope that the Council will get back to basics and ensure that there is full public discussion of their plans for the use of this money. They have gone backwards recently with the removal of card payment options at the Maygate car park, travellers can no longer look on the web to see which car parks are full and on street visual display boards are often not working.
Well used sub-urban bus stops still don’t have real time “next bus arriving” screens yet.
All are issues that need addressing before anymore money is squandered on “vanity” projects