Stories in the stones … Stonegate paving plans

Stonegate, 1940s/50s (Photo: Explore York Libraries and Archives)

Stonegate, 1940s/50s (Photo: Explore York Libraries and Archives)

Stonegate is to be repaved, with work starting in the New Year, as announced in a council press release this week: Paving the way for a new Stonegate. It’s going to cost ‘around £500,000′ (but as is standard, this is phrased as ‘investing’ around £500,000).

When that kind of money was spent on controversial repaving work in King’s Square there was at least a consultation — has there been one on this, I wonder, beyond the businesses on the street? I’ve not been able to invest as much time on York things recently, so may have missed something.

Anyway, as is standard, it’s all presented in a very positive light, in the press release, for local media to use and quote.

For the first time in a generation, City of York Council is completely repaving Stonegate.

The scheme will enhance the street’s appearance and character, creating a more pedestrian-friendly environment, attracting more people into the area and improving access for pedestrians.
— CYC press release

Whether paving is seen as an interesting thing is perhaps to do with age, agility, or perhaps to do with being a council tax payer.

I was interested in the detail of the proposals. Looking at the available information, and the further detail provided, including an FAQ section (below main press release), I’m seeing some information which appears to contradict the media-targeted statements.

This statement in particular stood out:

‘For the first time in a generation, we are completely reconstructing Stonegate’

Reconstructing? Completely? All the shops and everything?
But seriously, that’s quite a striking statement, and it doesn’t appear to fit with the detail in the supporting information/FAQs, which states

The works only include the highway, not the footway.

and also that

all of the cobbled sections of the highway, running adjacent to the footways and the middle of the highway, will be retained on Stonegate.

So is it a ‘complete reconstruction’, or not?

Over on Twitter I’ve seen quite a lot of discussion, and interesting points made, on the proposed repaving and particularly on whether there should be kerbs (or curbs, alternative spelling), or not, because of accessibility issues.

The council does have a series of documents, prepared some years back, to guide how changes/improvements to the streetscape should be designed and implemented, a streetscape strategy. All available on this link I think.

They include reports on accessibility, from a range of different perspectives — see the Access and Mobility documents in the list on this page. I assume these streetscape strategy documents have been used to inform the plans for the changes on Stonegate. (Well, I hope so, otherwise time and money wasted getting the reports compiled and published.)

I hope we don’t get into the whole ‘historically authentic’ thing again, regarding the paving. Regular readers might remember that a few years back I wrote a piece about the paving in Stonegate, after there had been quite a lot of local concern at paving slabs being removed and the paving being patched up with inferior materials. Looking through archive photos showed that the street’s surface had changed a few times, and that the paving seen as historic wasn’t as historic as it appeared to be, in that particular setting.

For more on paving (I’ve written about it a lot, including the groovy old paving in the back alleys in the Victorian terraced streets of the suburbs) see all pages tagged ‘paving’.

. . .

This page is tagged ‘December Daily‘, and is number 19 of those. I hope you’ve found it of interest. Virtual coffees keep it going and sustain many hundreds of other pages on here (not all about paving).

About Lisa @YorkStories

Lisa @YorkStories is the creator, administrator, and writer of content on She can be contacted on this link or via Twitter, @YorkStories
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