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Feedback shapes review of York’s signposting

Following a six-week consultation into the future of York’s signposts, feedback will be taken to a Cabinet meeting on 10th Feb.

The majority of consultation respondents and key stakeholders (73% of those who responded) backed plans to introduce new signposts in York, which should in particular benefit people with disabilities or dementia.

A significant majority of those who responded were in favour of a contemporary wayfinding signpost (in total, 69% agreed). The option to retrofit the existing cast iron finger posts and map holders received little support (21%), as did the option to do nothing (10%).  

Following this support, Members are now being asked to approve and move forward to procure and progress phase one of the project, which is fully covered by already approved and existing capital funding.

The consultation took place last year by the specialist ‘wayfinding’ consultants Placemarque who were commissioned to examine signposting in and around York’s city centre and ways in which better signing can be achieved for places like bus stops, Newgate Market, taxi ranks and civic buildings.

Placemarque is renowned for working with historic cities, and undertook the study to consider what works and doesn’t work in the city’s current signing systems, including the main arrival points, the Park&Ride sites and the Rail Station.

Supported by the Access and Mobility Audit of the city centre, undertaken in 2012, the audit found that the available information on sign posts and civic information points does not currently meet accessibility guidelines in terms of font, size and colour.

This means it can be difficult for people with disabilities or dementia to navigate their way around York and so this initiative is part of a wider citywide campaign to encourage residents and businesses to become more dementia aware, helping York to become a dementia friendly city.

Throughout the consultation specific discussions were held with dementia sufferers and dementia consultants working for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, People with Learning Difficulties through York People First and Blind and Partially sighted through Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Pioneering in this subject is the Jospeh Rowntree Foundation who supports the initiative.

Philly Hare, who manages JRF’s programme ‘Dementia without Walls’, said: “We know that clear signage and other clues for way finding can help people at the earlier stages of dementia to continue making the most of their community, and to get out and about with confidence.  City of York Council has been a key player in helping to create a dementia-friendly York and this new scheme could make a huge difference’.

Prototype signs and maps were designed as part of the consultation, which ran between September and October. Consultation surveys and leaflets were also available in print and online.

Cllr David Levene, Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning and Economic Development at City of York Council, said: “We’d like to thank everyone for their feedback, which was important to help us gain a better understanding on how we can best help residents and visitors find their way round a complex, fascinating network of streets and snickleways. This will enable the team to meet the latest accessibility standards, make the most of digital opportunities, and respect and add to York’s character and distinctiveness.”

Kate McMullen, Head of Visit York, said: “Improving signing will help ensure our visitors, especially those here for the very first time, can easily find York’s iconic attractions, venues and landmarks to help make the very most of their stay here”.

The review has involved input from other key partners including York Minster, English Heritage, York Archaeological Trust, York Museums Trust and York’s City Team.

In addition to this, improving information for residents and visitors has been highlighted in a number of studies over the last three years through the now adopted City of York Streetscape strategy and guidance (adopted in July 2014), the Historic Core Conservation Area Appraisal and the City Centre Movement & Accessibility Study. All highlighting the need for York to carry out a review and examine its existing city-wide information systems through a ‘wayfinding’ strategy.

If approved by Cabinet, the programme will be carried out over a five year period in phases and initial estimates calculate the scheme will need an investment of £200,000 from capital funding.

For more information about the consultation please visit: www.york.gov.uk/wayfinding

Cabinet will take place on Tuesday 10th February at West Offices from 17:30 and is open to members of the public or is available to watch live online from www.york.gov.uk/webcasts

To find out more about the report, or how to attend the meeting, visit: http://democracy.york.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=733&MId=8333. This item is no. 18 on the Cabinet agenda.