‘Make your voice heard on Reinvigorate York plans’

Exhibition Square, York, with the William Etty statue, prior to the temporary closure of the Art Gallery. Photograph © Allan Harris on flickr
3 Feb 2014 @ 9.26 am
| Environment, Opinion
Exhibition Square, York, with the William Etty statue, prior to the temporary closure of the Art Gallery. Photograph © Allan Harris on flickr
Exhibition Square, York, with the William Etty statue, prior to the temporary closure of the Art Gallery. Photograph © Allan Harris on flickr

alison-sinclair-headshotIf you failed to register an opinion on the King’s Square revamp, don’t do the same with these even bigger plans for the city, says Alison Sinclair

Anyone who had something to say about the project to “reinvigorate” King’s Square, whether good or bad, should make sure they don’t miss the chance to have their say about what else is proposed to “reinvigorate” various other areas in the city in the next few months.

Three more schemes have been prepared, and the council is mounting an information campaign to enable us all to have our say on improvements they are proposing for Exhibition Square, Duncombe Place and Fossgate.

Exhibition Square


First is the commendable intention to sort out and tidy up Exhibition Square, to reinstate it as the forecourt to the Art Gallery and improve it as the setting for the historic buildings which surround it.

The square will become a more pleasant space to be used for a variety of purposes. In order to bring about the desired improvements it will be necessary for a number of things to be done.

Arrangements for tour buses and service buses on both sides of the Square could be reorganised, with bus stops moved to slightly different positions and new bus shelters provided.

If some of the bus spaces change their use, repaving will be required, and opinions are sought about doing this.

Changes will almost certainly be required to the statue of William Etty and the pool at the foot of his plinth. There are three possibilities which could affect these two features.

One is that the statue should be removed altogether and relocated elsewhere. A second is that a new water feature could be designed away from the statue; and the third that there should be no water feature.

William Etty stands where he does because he was one of the instigators of a campaign in the 1830s to save the Bar Walls from further destruction when the Bootham Barbican was demolished for the creation of St Leonard’s Place.

Not everyone realises that it is thanks to Mr Etty and his fellow protesters that we can today enjoy walking the circuit of the City Walls.

It was to commemorate their achievements that his statue was erected where he could watch over the consequences of their success.

Duncombe Place


The second scheme is for Duncombe Place and concerns the junction with Blake Street, St Leonard’s Place and Museum Street, where the view of the Minster and its approach are important.

It is another place where treatment of the road surface will be necessary as it is also suggested that pavements should be widened for pedestrians.

Different surface materials would be used to distinguish different uses, and separate the carriageway for vehicles from pedestrian footways.



And the third scheme, for Fossgate, invites opinions about converting the street entirely into a daytime foot street.

Views are sought about the preferred extent of the foot street, and on the means and materials for improving and emphasising the entrance from Pavement.

These are the schemes we are asked to comment on as part of the consultation process the council has in place at the present time running until February 21.

During the consultation period, there will be a permanent exhibition in the council’s West Offices reception. Staff will be on hand to answer questions on Wednesday 5 February, from 10am to 4pm, and response and comment forms will be available at all times.

People may also attend staffed public exhibitions at:

  • Guildhall Residents Forum, Friends Meeting House, Friargate, on Monday, February 3, from 6pm – 8pm
  • St Sampson’s Square, on Tuesday, February 11, from 10am – 4pm

Otherwise information and an online questionnaire are available on the Reinvigorate York pages of the city council website.

Responses may also be sent via email to [email protected], or posted to: Reinvigorate York, City of York Council, York YO1 7ZZ