Plans to upgrade ‘unsafe’ riverside path are welcomed – before it becomes ‘only direct route for thousands of people’

Holgate Ward Labour councillors Rachel Melly, David Heaton and Kallum Taylor at the Jubilee Terrace entrance to the route. Photograph: York Labour Party
25 Nov 2020 @ 8.00 am
| Transport

A popular riverside route is set to be upgraded, before it plays a key role ahead of the York Central development.

Councillors have long campaigned for improvements to the path alongside the River Ouse between Scarborough Bridge and Jubilee Terrace,

They say it feels unsafe at night due to poor lighting, is too narrow, and floods regularly.

Now it could be widened to make more space for pedestrians and cyclists.

Lighting along the route will be improved and work will take place to reduce the flood risk.

The route is used by thousands of cyclists and pedestrians travelling between the north-western part of the city and the city-centre.

Labour Cllr Kallum Taylor welcomed the news. He said if the controversial closure of Leeman Road – now subject to a public inquiry following hundreds of objections – is approved, then the riverside path will be the only remaining direct route with uninterrupted 24-hour access between the city centre and the 1,466 nearby properties.

Buying the land

The River Ouse at Scarborough Bridge, with the path running alongside. Photograph © Google Street View

Cllr Taylor said the York Central plans, and the potential closure of Leeman Road “increase the urgency” for the council to upgrade the route. 

“Modest, but necessary, improvements would make a massive difference here for so many people.

“These include widening the path so cyclists and pedestrians aren’t too close for comfort, increasing lighting, adding CCTV, addressing the barrier at Jubilee Terrace, and raising its lower sections so it’s less likely to be cut off by standing water or flooding.”

City of York Council have yet to agree on the terms of purchasing the land – with engineers set to carry out investigations on the site this winter.

“During the My York Central consultation the need was expressed for improvements to the riverside path between Scarborough Bridge and Jubilee Terrace, to widen the shared pedestrian cycle route, improve lighting and reduce flood risk,” says a report prepared for a meeting tomorrow (Thursday, 26 November).

“The route will augment the new pedestrian and cycle routes through the site.

The riverside path, as seen from Jubilee Terrace. Photograph © Google Street View

“Part of the existing path is on land that the council leases, and that lease expires in 2023. The lease was originally granted to the council by the London and North East Railway Company in 1924, but the freehold is now held by a property company.”

The council wants to either buy the freehold for the land or secure a long term lease, to secure it for future use.

Documents prepared for a council meeting say: “A report will be provided once these investigative works have been completed and further discussions have been undertaken with the owner as to the potential to secure a purchase/ lease renewal.”

Additional reporting: local democracy reporter Chloe Laversuch