Revival double yellows

Local Lib Dem councillor Stephen Fenton has welcomed action taken to enforce parking restrictions at the entrance to the Revival estate off Tadcaster Road. More double yellow lines are planned to be installed following a recent public consultation. The measures are in response to dangerous and inconsiderate parking.


Revival ticket

Stephen is also in touch with council officers, who are in turn in contact with the developers and management company, about the irresponsible parking in front of the emergency access gates in the corner of Masters Mews.

York free car parking scheme abandoned

The scheme was introduced last year but was criticised for being complicated, applying to only some car parks and only for a limited number of days & hours.

Another Alexander project abandoned

Traders have confirmed that the offer – which cost £300,000 to subsidise – has had little effect on the number of customers that they have been getting.

A plan to pay for the scheme, using funds from a Business Improvement District organisation, appears to have fallen through

The scheme was the controversial brainchild of the former Council Leader James Alexander who was struggling to cope with traders anger in the wake of the Lendal bridge closure fiasco as well as fears that the new John Lewis store at Monks Cross would pull shoppers away from the City centre.

It will be a “double whammy” for visitors to the City centre from 1st April as a proposal by Green Councillors, to raise hourly parking charges by 10p, will also kick in.

Parking changes from 1 April will also effect on street parking and season permits across the city, 

• The standard rate of car park and on-street charges: will increase by 10p per hour to vehicles not displaying a Minster Badge (an optional resident parking permit). 

• Residents who are signed up to the Minster Badge scheme:  will benefit from an additional FREE hour in car parks on Friday and Saturday evening (which moves from 5pm instead of 6pm). Valid in selected car parks only.

• Pay-by-phone option (in selected car parks) remains 10p cheaper per hour than the standard rate.

• Season parking tickets: An increase of approximately four per cent.

From the end of March the council will also be installing new tariff boards in all council car parks to display the new charges.

For more details about parking in York visit 

Travelling in York? Plan journeys in advance by using the online Journey Planner at

Traffic signals and car park barriers unreliable in York

Traffic signals

This year to date (1st Jan to 3rd Dec) there have been a total of 696 traffic signal faults reported to the York Council’s maintenance contractors.

This number was 678 for the same period last year.

The Council does not have a means of recording the total duration for which signals have been out of operation; however, for high priority faults in this period – which are recorded in their own indicator – 91% were resolved within 4 hours, compared to 82% for the same period last year.

Marygate car park

Barrier faults have occurred during a total of 17 days since they were introduced at the Marygate car park. Currently income from the car park is less than it was when operated on a pay and display basis.Marygate-car-park-equipment-768x1024

Income from the Marygate car park, from the start of July to the end of October, totalled £231,000 in 2014/15.

The equivalent figure for 2013/14 was £246,000.

The York Council spent £100,000 installing the barrier system at Marygate.

NB. The Council has admitted that due to faults on its automated vehicle counting systems it doesn’t know how many motorists have taken advantage of the free parking offer which is available at some car parks from Thursday to Saturday.

Overall income from car parking is, however, over £400,000 below budgeted levels.

Car park signage criticised

St. Leonards Place car park

St. Leonards Place car park

Some motorists have been confused by the signing at the entrance to the – now privately run – car park on St Leonards Place. Several have thought that the entrance had been moved as part of the Exhibition Square refurbishment, although this isn’t the case.

For a Conservation Area the signs are borderline intrusive anyway.

Users of the car park find that they are expected to pay up to £12 to park. Unfortunately the operators – a Leeds based company – allow only cash payments for tickets.

Parking machines at St. Leonards Place car park. click to enlarge

Parking machines at St. Leonards Place car park. click to enlarge

It is several years since the Council made credit card and “pay by phone” options available at its central car parks.

There is also no parking available for those with disabled badges although it is the most central facility for those accessing most of the shops in the city centre.

This is a good location for cycle parking facilities and it would have been worth the Council continuing to operate the car park facilities until the apparently endless saga over the future of the adjacent office block is finally settled.

There is no sign of work commencing on site despite the council announcing a development scheme almost 3 years ago.

The Council is also remaining tight lipped about the planned hotel at the Barbican site which is now 4 years behind schedule.

Parking income problems increase for York Council


It looks like the installation of barriers at the Marygate car park – which cost taxpayers £100,000 – has reduced Council income by around £35,000 (20%) over the last 3 months.


Income from Marygate Car Park in the 13 week period from 30th June to 28th September totalled £142,000 in 2014/15.

The equivalent figure for 2013/14 was £177,000.

Those expecting the blame to be placed on faulty barriers – they have been jammed in the raised position on a number of occasions recently – will be disappointed.

The York Council says,

“There have been some minor faults which, as with all newly introduced schemes, is to be expected whilst the system beds in. These have been dealt with expeditiously with minimal disruption to the fee-paying public”. (!)

It is the latest in a series of parking management blunders since Labour took control of the Council in 2011.

Most residents have faced a 100% increase in the amount that they pay to park while the Council sold off the Haymarket car park for a fraction of its true value in the depth of the recession.

Minster Badges

In response to a question tabled by the Liberal Democrats at the last Council meeting, Labour have admitted that only 6,300 of the new £20 Minster badges have been sold so far.

Over 30,000 of the old style badges were in circulation.

Minster Badge

A Minster badge is necessary to qualify for free evening parking. It also entitles users to a discount on day time parking fees.

The relatively low take up of the badges suggests that the charging scheme may be discouraging residents from visiting and shopping in the City centre.

“Free” parking

The Labour Councillor with responsibility for car parking in York has admitted that he doesn’t know how many drivers are taking advantage of the “free” car parking available at a limited number of locations on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

More worryingly, he says that the impact of the scheme on the Councils car parking account is impossible to calculate because of other factors such as the opening of the new Park and Ride site at Poppleton.

The Council are promising to check the vehicle counters at individual car parks over the next few weeks to try to get some idea of the impact that the – very expensive – scheme is having.

Subjectively it does appear that the morning rush hour has been busier over the last couple of months with journey times increasing.

When introduced, the free parking scheme was criticised by many as encouraging more vehicles onto the road during the morning peak period.

Vacant car parking spaces web links still not working

Still big gaps in Council information

Last year the York Council stopped providing information on its web site about the number of vacant parking spaces at its City Centre car parks.

York Live web site click to access

York Live web site click to access

It promised that the information link would be reinstated by “May”.

2 months later and the information is still not being provided for the most popular car parks like Nunnery Lane and Marygate.

The responsible cabinet member refused to apologies at a recent Council meeting for the delays.

He said people could use social media to find out where to park (actually none of the social media system provided real time parking availability information)

NB. The Council has also been unable to keep many of the on street “Variable Message Signs” in a good state of repair.

Residents now asked to pay £20 for “Minster” parking sticker


The Council’s Labour Leadership are going ahead with their threat to scrap the free “Minster” badge which entitles residents to discounts on car parking charges.

This was introduced some years ago as a way of recognising that residents had paid for the car park to be established in the first place.

Residents will have to apply online to purchase a replacement badge. (Ironically, today, the web site links weren’t working).

The Council says that the charge will go towards making up a £280,000 shortfall on car parking income.

The shortfall has arisen since Labour increased car parking charges, some by as much as 80%, when they took office.

The new scheme means the end of “free” evening parking for residents. Free evening parking was something Labour campaigned for in 2007 when a £1 per evening charge applied for residents.

Now any resident, without one of the new Minster Badges, faces a £2 charge (the same as visitors).

When announcing their plans earlier in the year, Labour claimed that they wanted to provide an incentive for “frequent visitors” to return to the City, but it now appears that those living in the City’s hinterland will NOT be able to buy a badge.

With around £300,000 in car parking income now at risk because of the free morning parking introduced at some car parks on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturday, it seems unlikely that the council has got its sums right.

We predict a strong reaction against the new charges from residents, some of whom may now choose to shop, and play, away from the City Centre.

“Free” car parking in York

Since 2012 Labour has increased car parking charges by as much as 80%.

It has been an open secret that businesses in the City centre hoped to extract major concessions on car parking charges when the new John Lewis development opened at Monks Cross.

Castle short stay car park

Castle short stay car park

Even so, today’s Council announcement that there would be “free” car parking at many City centre car parks between 8:00am and 11:00am on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays comes as a surprise.

Nothing is “free”. The loss of income – which would eventually fall on taxpayers – could be as much as £500,000 pa.

Dumping more traffic onto the highways network at the busiest time of the week (between 8:00am and 9:30am) could have far reaching consequences for traffic congestion.

The selected times are also those when deliveries are being made in the footstreets area

Park and Ride passenger numbers are likely to suffer, while many shoppers and short term visitors may well choose to do their business in the 3 hour “free” period, leaving car parks empty at other times of the day.

The Council isn’t even in a position to make such an announcement.

No Councillor or officer has that delegated power (just as the “Labour Group” had no constitutional power to remove the restrictions on Lendal Bridge).

But the Councils constitution and delegation schemes have been thrown out of the window in the last few weeks.

A report indicating the consequences of the proposal must go to the “Cabinet” meeting which is taking place on 6th May

Taxpayers, bus users (who would be delayed by added congestion) and rival car park operators will look with interest at the assumptions being made. The private operators in particular may regard the Councils plan as unfair trading given that the subsidy will apparently come from Section 106 monies derived for the Vanguard development.

With the Council heavily dependant on the £5 million that it receives from off street parking charges, the unanswered question is what happens when the Vanguard subsidy runs out?

A more flexible approach to charging levels is needed and new technologies make this possible.

However, like the Lendal Bridge trial, the plan has all the hallmarks of a badly thought through scheme.

Visitors who arrive back at their vehicles at 11:30am, and find that they have been fined for failing to “pay and display”, are unlikely to be very happy.

The safest option would have been to reduce the charges at off peak times and focus further discounts at identified “shopper’s car parks” such as Fossbank.

The Council should also get on with resurfacing the Castle car park (safety issue) and making sure that the “parking space availability” real time information is once again provided on both their web site and on the variable message boards located on arterial roads.

NB. The Council appear to have missed the irony of issuing, with their media announcement, a photograph of Councillors striding through an already full car park.

“Save Minster Badge” petition – only 1 week left to sign

Residents only have until 18th April to “sign” a petition on the Councils web site asking for the retention of the Minster badge.


The badge entitles York taxpayers to discount car parking during the day and free parking in the evening.

It is due to be scrapped under a Labour proposal which would see a new badge introduced which anyone would be able to buy.
The petition can be accessed by clicking here

The petition reads,

We the undersigned petition the council to continue to supply Minster car parking badges to York residents free of charge. As one of the few councils in the country who have suffered council tax rises every year under the Labour council while the rest of the country hasn’t. We propose that residents have already paid for this right.

The many businesses that rely on local trade within the city centre are already dwindling. Also many businesses like restaurants and cafes rely on local trade throughout the winter months when there are few tourists. A further reduction in the number of residents visiting the town centre could prove fatal.

Free City centre car parking on Saturday

Car park Richard iii

All council owned car parks are offering free parking all day and evening on Saturday 1 February 2014.

Thirteen car parks will be free to use for residents and visitors to help them enjoy York’s vast city centre offering.

The car parks that will be free to use on Saturday 1 February are: Bishopthorpe Road, Bootham Row, Castle, Castle Mills, Esplanade, Foss Bank, Haymarket, Marygate, Monkbar, Nunnery Lane, Piccadilly, St George’s Field and Union Terrace.

The initiative aims to counter the decline in shopper numbers in the City centre following the closure of Lendal Bridge.

The Council is already forecasting that it will be £200,000 under budget for car parking income this year.