All those saying that the traffic trial was always going to be made permanent may be right, says Alison Sinclair
It may not have escaped the notice of some people that publicity advertising the Reinvigorate York consultation includes a section on the Lendal Bridge closure.
The section is headed The Lendal Bridge Trial and tells us that when the formal trial finishes on February 26, restrictions will remain in place until City of York Council decide “in the spring” whether they will become permanent or not.
On one of the same days that the consultation advert appeared in the Press (29 January), the deputy leader of the council is quoted as saying “the Lendal Bridge scheme was being paid for through the Government’s Better Bus Area Fund” and that “the council had to go through ‘a strict criteria and process’ to obtain the funding”.
That sounds to me as if all those people who have been saying the restrictions are a done deal are right. To me, the implication of these remarks is that for the city to qualify for the money, the restrictions must be in place.
We are not so much being asked what we think about the restrictions as told what they are going to be, on a permanent basis so that the bus money will be forthcoming.
But what will happen if the PR feedback on the bridge closure has been so bad that even this council has to admit it cannot persist with the restrictions?
Will that mean that there will be no money; or, worse still, will money have to be handed back? The choice is not clear.
Perhaps we shouldn’t worry, though: the money pouring into the city treasury as a result of all those fines will probably exceed the funding that could be lost from the Better Bus scheme.
The consultation leaflet concludes with a welcome for feedback on the trial and gives on-line details for doing this.
For those people who are not expert in communicating on-line, I suggest they go along to one of the advertised points for discussing the Reinvigorate schemes and express their views on this and the other schemes in person.
It will be more difficult to complain later if you don’t do it now!
- Alison Sinclair is an historian and conservationist
- Read all our Lendal Bridge stories here