York Civic Trust is calling for a re-think on the new bollards that are being installed in the city centre – without public consultation.
The £3.4 million hostile vehicle measures scheme is now being installed to protect residents and visitors in public spaces within the City Centre from attack by vehicles.
Organisations including York Civic Trust were involved in influencing the design of the hostile vehicle measures in 2018, but since then there has been no public consultation.
The scheme was given the go-ahead in August 2022 by the then City of York Council Executive, but there was no public input at all.
Duncan Marks, Civic Society Manager said, “York’s city centre and economy relies on, and is made better by, the quality of its historic and modern streets and buildings. 8.4 million visitors a year can’t be wrong!
However, it is painfully obvious that the hostile vehicle measures – essentially glorified bollards – are not in keeping with the rest of the city, and is damaging to local heritage.”
As the planning processes that would normally apply to new developments were not utilised for the HVM scheme, there could be no serious public consultations on the plan from local people, businesses, and organisations that represent people with limited mobility.
Other Local Authorities have used normal planning processes for similar schemes.
To install the sliding bollards at the base of the Shambles, historic cobbles had to be removed. The soon-to-be Blake Street bollards will be sited directly in front of the Grade-I listed Assembly Rooms (Ask Restaurant) – one of York’s most iconic Georgian buildings which for nearly 300 years has gone unobstructed by street clutter.
The installation of the HVM outside the Assembly Rooms has been pushed back until January. York Civic Trust says this is a good opportunity to stop and consider the impact of these measures, both on heritage and on people.
Andrew Morrison, Chief Executive of York Civic Trust, said, “If the planning process had been used and the public given adequate time to review the plans, then the schemes would have been improved.
The low-level sensors act as trip hazards for many and the Shambles – which is York’s most popular street – has been damaged. Now that there is time before the next installation, the Council should facilitate public consultation on these measures, both to protect York’s heritage and to reduce the issues they pose to pedestrians, particularly those with low mobility.”