Business Groups Call for Lendal Bridge Trial To Be Abandoned
6:23am 27th November 2013
(Updated 1:10pm 27th November 2013)
Business groups have joined calls for York's Lendal Bridge trial to be abandoned.
York Council Conservative leader Ian Gillies called for the six month car ban between 10.30am and 5pm to be ditched as it marks the half way point today.
Minster FM asked Frank Wood from the York Retail Forum and Susie Cawood from the Chamber of Commerce if they agree:
We also asked Kate McMullen, the head of Visit York if she feels the trial should be abandoned, she said in a statement:
"We are pleased that ways to improve the city centre environment for all are being investigated and we look forward to seeing the results of the trial."
"Visit York has seen a mixed response so far from both tourism businesses and visitors; some saying they welcome the changes and others saying their business has been affected. We remain concerned about the longer term impact of fining visitors, who have inadvertently used the bridge when closed. Reducing the number of fines being issued is our greatest concern and we’d like to see measures put in place to address this."
Earlier, Ian Gillies said monthly statistics show the trial isn't working, blaming poor signs for the number of people getting fined and says it's harming the city's reputation.
In a statement, Ian Gillies said:
“Whilst I do not criticise the administration for trying something new, the recently published statistics show there have been no appreciable gains in any of the areas such as bus journey times and usage where the Council was anticipating improvement, while on the other hand problems have been stacking up all over the City."
“The Conservative Group has been looking at the evidence. Whilst there still has been no criteria published by which success will be measured, statistics clearly show that this experiment has failed.
“If the Labour Cabinet are serious about economic growth in York, the City’s reputation, and the majority opinion of York residents, they should re-open Lendal Bridge.”
In particular, York's Conservatives highlight:
- Poor Signage resulting in an increase in of P.C.N.s.
- Loss of reputation for the City as a tourist destination and accusations that the City is using bridge fines as a cash cow;
- A contributing factor in the decrease in footfall in the City Centre as a result of people not making the journey and subsequent reduction of trade for City Centre businesses;
- No noticeable improvement in Park and Ride punctuality;
- No evidence of increased usage of service buses;
- Closing an integral part of the Inner Ring Road resulting in increased journey time, and increased congestion and pollution in other area of the City
- Increased speed of authorized vehicles driving over the bridge;
- No mitigating help for City Centre Traders as promised.
In response, Labour Cabinet Member for Planning, Transport and Sustainability, Dave Merrett said:
“Since the trial started [Conservative] Coun. Joe Watt has said he is in favour and other Conservative representations have made it clear the trial should be longer, lasting from 7am until 7pm or all day. So it begs the question is this a Conservative Group view or Coun. Gillies’s view?"
Ian Gillies has since clarified to Minster FM, his call is Conservative group policy which Councillor Watt will be expected to support.
Dave Merrett continues:
“This is a trial and the initial signs are that it is working well in terms of improving the public realm and environment and bus reliability, but we have always said full analysis and evaluation will be after six months. This will be a detailed and objective analysis and not based on the comments of a Conservative opposition councillor stood at the side of the road”.
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