Tourists flocking to York for half term will be able to see all the classic seasonal sights. Snowdrops flowering in Museum Gardens. The Minster dappled in spring sunshine. Goslings trotting behind their mums at Rowntree Park.
Not to mention red and white crash barriers, clouds of cement dust and every other paving slab being pneumatically pulverised by men in fluorescent tabards. It’s like we’ve just launched the Festival Of Roadworks.
Anyone walking round York city centre at the moment cannot have avoided them. Everywhere you look is being dug up. Parliament Street. High Ousegate. Stonegate. St Helen’s Square. Back Swinegate. Grape Lane.
If you add in the massive hole outside the Minster, it feels like the whole city is a building site.
The buskers are being drowned out by the drills. Dozens of shops are near-inaccessible because of the barriers. Pedestrians, instead sauntering about our footstreets without a care in the world, are forced to dodge and weave like Ronaldo in a minefield.
This can’t be good for our image. What is going on? Surely it can’t just be the annual rush to spend the last of the council’s budget before financial year end?
We need better planning than this. Otherwise, next time we log on to Trip Advisor, we’ll be greeted with messages that say: “Went to York for the holiday. It was closed for repairs.”
*UPDATE* Friday, February 15
A spokeswoman from City of York Council said that all the roadworks are to lay cable for York’s new CCTV network. Although the work has been going on this week – half term for many local authorities – it will be suspended next week, when it is half term in York and elsewhere.