Decision Session – Executive Member for Transport


13 April 2021

Report of the Director of Environment, Transport and Planning


Strategic Review of City Centre Access and Parking




1.   This report seeks approval of the scope and methodology of the Strategic Review of City Centre Access and Parking.


2.   This review was commissioned by the Executive in November 2020 as part of the decision to start the formal process to make permanent a number of city centre footstreets that had been temporarily extended in response to Covid-19.


3.   The review will explore how the existing mitigations for those affected by the proposed permanent changes to the footstreets, and general accessibility to the city centre, can be improved.


4.   City wide questions about future car parking provision across all sectors and ownership need to be explored through the upcoming Local Transport Plan 4 to ensure they are supported by appropriate policies. Consequently this review will focus on council car parks to create a hierarchy which will identify which should be prioritised for investment and improvements; the role they can play in improving city centre access; and inform how any future potential changes in parking demand is managed.


5.        The Executive is asked to:

1)   Approve the scope for the review of city centre access and parking.

Reason: to proceed with carrying out the review



2)   Approve the methodology and programme for the review, including carrying out consultation and engagement.


Reason: to allow the review to commence in line with the programme with a report to be brought back in September 2021.



3)   Note that the review is to be completed prior to the implementation of the permanent footstreet extension in September 2021, as is set out in the programme.


Reason: to continue to improve the existing mitigations for those affected by the proposed permanent changes to the footstreets that are due to be implemented in September 2021.



4)   Note the review of city centre parking is critical to the Executive making the decision as to whether to proceed with St George’s Field multi-storey car park as part of the Castle Gateway Masterplan. This decision is required in October 2021.


Reason: to enable an informed decision to be taken by the Executive as to whether to proceed with St George’s Field multi-storey car park.




6.   In November 2020, Executive approved a budget of £40k to undertake a full strategic review of the city’s parking and access, to be completed by summer 2021. The main purpose of the review is to continue to improve the existing mitigations for those affected by the temporary changes to the footstreets that are proposed to be made permanent from September 2021.

7.   The report specifically identified a number of outcomes the review must as a minimum include

      A full review of the Shopmobility offer

      A feasibility study for a city centre shuttle service for people with mobility issues

      Identify two car parks with potential for achieving gold standard for disabled users

      A feasibility study to explore options for a delivery hub model for the city centre

      Consider through engagement the recommendations set out in the independent review of York’s access offer

      Continuing dialogue with disabled residents on how we ensure that York continues to improve and enhance its access offer, and to continually improve these mitigations and help explore solutions together that accompany any permanent changes


8.   The aim is to undertake a strategic review of the access requirements and existing council car parking provision in a rapidly evolving city centre.



9.   The review is split in to the two key areas, access and parking. The review of access is predominantly a public and stakeholder engagement led review supported by a number of feasibility studies that have already been carried out. The parking review, however, will be an evidence based review, with certain outcomes and recommendations drawing on the engagement work carried out as part of the access review.


City Centre Access


10.        The City Centre Access review builds on the engagement work already carried out and responds to the issues raised by the operation of the extension of the footstreets carried out in response to Covid-19.


11.        The review will focus on improving city centre accessibility for those who have been affected by the revised footstreets namely disabled groups, businesses and deliveries, cyclists, taxis and residents that live within the footstreets.


12.        The objectives identified for the city centre access review are as follows:


a.   Improve disabled access

b.   Ensuring sustainable delivery solutions for city centre businesses

c.   Review the operation of taxis

d.   Explore how all cycling groups access and cross the city centre

e.   Understand and respond to access needs of city centre residents



13.        Under each of these objectives are a number of outcomes which have been identified. These outcomes include those which were specifically requested as part of the November Executive report.


14.        Along with the outcomes, we have identified the main evidence and engagement that is required as part of the review:


a.   Improving disabled access

·        Feasibility study of a shuttle service for those with mobility issues

·        Review of the Shopmobility service

·        Audit of the quality of disabled access

·        Implement actions which are deemed to be appropriate from the previously commissioned independent review of disabled access

·        Engage with disabled groups


b.   Ensuring sustainable delivery solutions for city centre businesses

·        Feasibility study of delivery hubs

·        Explore storage lockers

·        Spatial mapping of loading bays

·        Engage with businesses and delivery drivers/cycle couriers


c.   Review the operation of Taxis

·        Spatial mapping of taxi ranks and drop off points

·        Engage with taxi drivers, businesses and disabled groups


d.   Explore how all cycling groups access and navigate the city centre

·        Map the city centre cycle routes

·        Review operation of cycle couriers

·        Explore options for city centre cycling couriers

·        Explore disabled cyclist access and blue badge permit options for cyclists

·        Engage with cycling groups, cycle couriers and disabled groups


e.   City centre residents (affected by the footstreets)

·        Access for off street parking - map off street parking locations

·        Consider trades people/access

·        Engage with residents


15.        All the technical evidence and engagement will be pulled together and where relevant fed in to the City Centre Parking Review. The final report will be considered by Executive in September 2021.


City Centre Parking


16.        The city centre is changing, both pre-covid and accelerated by the impacts of Covid-19. There is also uncertainty as to how people’s behaviours and attitudes may have changed as the city starts to open up again, and going forward post-recovery.


17.        This state of flux due to Covid-19 directly affects demand for parking in the city centre, resulting in uncertainty around the long term level of parking demand.


18.        Due to this uncertainty, now is not the right time to try to identify the required parking capacity in the city centre long term. Furthermore any policy changes to parking provision need to be supported by council policies. It is therefore appropriate that any city wide questions about future car parking provision are explored through Local Transport Plan 4 (LTP 4).


19.        This review of city centre parking will focus on council owned car parks with a view to creating a reliable evidence base which can inform future decision making.


20.        Seeking to bring about any change through reducing council provision without planning policies could lead to the private sector filling the gap and benefiting from parking revenue.


21.        Council car parks generate £7m revenue each year, a vital income source to the council. However, very little evidence is currently collected from the car parks to allow decisions to be made to maximise their efficiency.


22.        The main aim of the review of parking is to create a hierarchy of council car parks that can be used in the future to inform a strategy of how any potential future decline in parking demand is managed and which council car parks would be prioritised for investment and improvements.


23.        There are four objectives identified in the review of city centre parking:

a.   Provide an improved evidence base for future decision making

b.   Identify strategic priority car parks for investment and retention should parking decline in the future

c.   Optimise and future proof council car parks, including revenue considerations

d.   Respond to disabled access parking requirements



24.        Under each of these objectives are a number of outcomes which have been identified.

a.  Evidence Base

·        Collate all available data

·        Identify and implement measures to improve future evidence base


b.  Priority car park locations

·        Provide a matrix for assessment of car parks using available data to produce a hierarchy

·        Assess car parks to create that hierarchy to target future investment

·        Maximise council land assets drawing on the evidence base, and recommendations from the City Centre Access Review


c.  Optimise and future proof council car parks

·        Improve customer experience and the quality of council car parks

·        Review the pricing and payment options to allow flexibility based on demand and prioritisation

·        Optimise capacity within council car parks and the revenue generation

·        Target Electric Vehicle (EV) charging

·        Maximise the use of the Park and Rides


d.  Disabled access and parking

·        Implement City Centre Access recommendations for Blue Badge parking

·        Implement improvements to the Shop-mobility service

·        Identify gold standard accessibility car parks



25.        The programme below sets out the key stages and timescales for carrying out the review and compiling a report to be considered by Executive in September 2021.


26.        The programme identifies where an update will be provided to PH CMT on the progress of the review.


27.        The programme also identifies related work streams that are reliant on this review being carried out according to the proposed programme.


Included in the related work streams is the commencement of LTP 4. This review, including the evidence base gathered, engagement carried out and the concluding recommendations, will feed into the LTP 4 process, providing a long term plan to manage any future natural or policy driven reduction in parking demand or provision.




29.        This review continues the dialogue with those affected by the extension of the footstreets, building on the engagement work already carried out. The previous engagement has played a significant role in shaping the scope and objectives of this review. As set out above, public and stakeholder engagement is central to the review of city centre access. The engagement approach is set out in Annex 2 and is consistent with the council’s approach to resident engagement.


30.        A Project Board has been formed to deliver this review chaired by the Corporate Director of Place. Representatives from Environment, Transport and Planning, and Economy, Regeneration and Housing sit on the Board, and have overseen shaping the scope and methodology.





31.        A budget of £40k was approved by the Executive in November 2020 as part of the footstreets report to carry out a full strategic review of the city’s access and parking offer.



Council Plan


32.        The Council’s objectives, as set out in the Council Plan 2019-2023 can be clearly seen represented through the aim and objectives of this review as well as the inclusive and transparent methodology proposed.


33.         At the heart of the review is the aim of supporting a vibrant and sustainable city centre economy. This includes supporting the city centre to be attractive, safe and accessible to all, which as well as supporting the economic aspirations for the city, also promotes the independence, and health and wellbeing of all its residents.


34.        The review reaffirms accessibility as a central outcome of the programme to deliver world-class infrastructure, public space and create a greener and cleaner city.







35.        The report must demonstrate that all relevant implications of the proposals have been considered.


·           Financial – The council budgets for £7m gross income from council car parks. The review needs to recognise this key source of revenue to the council and any conclusions take into account the financial impact on council services. The cost of the review (£40k) can be funded from the LTP revenue budget agreed for 2021/22.


·           Human Resources (HR) – There are no HR implications


·           Equalities – An Equalities Impact Assessment will be produced to accompany the strategic review report.


·           Legal – The review is being undertaken in-house so no procurement issues arise regarding the spending of the £40,000. If small amounts are required to be spent as part of the review, the team is aware to contact legal colleagues to conform with our CPRs. We have identified the work which we are involved in relating to city access security measures and the current autonomous transport study which may both impact on the review.


·           Crime and Disorder – There are no Crime and Disorder implications       


·           Information Technology (IT) – There are no IT implications


·           Property – Implications covered in report



Risk Management


36.        The review of City Centre Access will centre on consultation and engagement with all groups affected by the footstreets to ensure the voice and views of all stakeholders is considered in arriving at the recommendations







Contact Details




Chief Officer Responsible for the report:


Katie Peeke-Vout

Regeneration Project Manager

Regeneration and Asset Management

01904 553364


Andy Kerr

Head of Regeneration Programmes

Regeneration and Asset Management

01904 554153


James Gilchrist

Director of Environment, Transport and Planning


Report Approved


[Insert Date]







Specialist Implications Officer(s)  List information for all


Financial:                                      Legal:

Patrick Looker                                 Walter Burns

Finance Manager                            Senior Solicitor


Wards Affected:






For further information please contact the author of the report



Background Papers:


Report to the Executive – “Future of the extended footstreets”, November 2021



Annex 1 – Strategic Review of City Centre Access and Parking – Scoping Presentation

Annex 2 Strategic Review of City Centre Access and Parking – Engagement Plan


List of Abbreviations Used in this Report

LTP 4 – Local Transport Plan 4