Council Contract Awarded Estimated at £140,000 on Road and Footpath Sensors

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A freedom of information request has revealed North Yorkshire Council has committed to an estimated £140,000 contract (with funding from the Transforming Cities Fund) which includes sensors from Viva City Labs. These sensors not only monitor traffic on the roads, but also monitor pedestrian numbers on the same streets.

The council have installed these to “monitor the impact of the Transforming Cities Fund (TCF) project”. What is the Transforming Cities Fund project and why do we need it you may ask. My answer to the second part of that question would be that we don’t need it, but as to what it is, one answer to that can be found at the link underneath this paragraph which states:

The £42m* package aims to connect more people with the places they want to go by making it easier to walk, cycle and use public transport.
https://yorkmix.com/council-backs-controversial-transformations-of-selby-harrogate-and-skipton-gateways/
*The overall scheme countrywide seems to have more than £42m behind it. It seems to be £1.28 billion according to this:
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/61013716d3bf7f04468935d5/tcf-co-development-process-national-evaluation-case-study-1.pdf

The above article from 2022 stated concerns about Station Parade in Harrogate being made one way. Given the positioning of the cameras in Skipton around the area of the train station, I have concerns a similar level of folly is about to play out in Skipton. Were that section of Broughton Road to be made one way (perhaps to accommodate a cycle path), it would cause immense inconvenience and issues with traffic around the town.

This comment made by the council in response to a Freedom of Information request in February 2024 has done little to calm my concerns:

In Skipton we will be looking at if improvements made to the transport interchange, bike access and pedestrian access helps to reduce vehicular traffic. No current plans for LEZ or ULEZ are in place but the Council is considering future lower carbon transport projects across the County.

Further weight is added to my concerns by this comment from an Insider Media Limited article:

Pedestrian and cycling routes between the rail and bus stations in Skipton will be improved, along with links to Skipton Academy and Craven College.
https://www.insidermedia.com/news/yorkshire/projects-to-benefit-for-transforming-cities-funding-discussed

The above article from 2020 also mentions major works to be completed to the front of Leeds rail station. Here and now in 2024 they have blocked off roads and made the traffic flow through Leeds City Centre more difficult than it used to be. Viva City Labs sensors have been used in Leeds also so is the same fate to befall Skipton, Selby and Harrogate?

In the same Freedom of Information request already mentioned in this article, North Yorkshire Council also tell us:

It should be noted that whilst there is a budget of £140,000 for this project, this is across a total of 25 sensor locations in Skipton (7 sensors), Selby (5 sensors) and Harrogate (13 sensors) over five years. This provides a comprehensive dataset to be able to review the impacts of TCF schemes.

and via information contained within their response:

Data collected will help to monitor the effectiveness of proposed new schemes and assist in future decision making

I would reinterpret these statements as a needless waste of £140,000 to threaten the ability of residents to travel around their locale and go about their daily business unhindered.

The anti-car rhetoric continues from local “leaders” as quoted below:

Leaders in Skipton say the station is a “poor representation” of what the town has to offer as visitors are greeted by a “sea of cars” when they exit. It is hoped that a £5.8m package of improvements will transform the nearby area, improve links with the nearby canal and offer safer facilities for walking and cycling.
https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/politics/this-is-how-the-areas-round-harrogate-selby-and-skipton-stations-will-be-transformed-thanks-to-ps31m-from-the-transforming-cities-fund-3140251

I do note there is an image depicting a somewhat changed Skipton Train Station with cars still flowing both ways along Broughton Road in the above article. Whether this is the council’s vision for that road or not remains to be seen.

I will add that this article is not an outright rejection of making our area nicer or of encouraging people to get more exercise via foot and bike. All of those are good things, the issue for me is the anti-car, anti-carbon and ultimately anti-life climate emergency angle that is front and centre of these plans.

Remember if Carbon Dioxide goes so do we.

Article Sources:

Why is Viva City’s Solution Unique PDF (July 2022)

Viva City Sensors Technical Brochure.pdf

Viva City Technical Specification PDF (September 2023)

Vivacity Skipton 2023.pdf

76885 Permanent Town Centre Traffic Data Collection CCS TTAS Lot 4 Further Competition.docx

76885 Permanent Town Centre Traffic Data Collection Pricing Schedule.xlsx

York Mix: Council backs controversial transformations of Selby, Harrogate and Skipton gateways

BBC: Millions for Harrogate, Selby and Skipton in town centre plans

Insider Media Limited: Projects to benefit for Transforming Cities funding discussed

The Yorkshire Post: This is how the areas round Harrogate, Selby and Skipton stations will be transformed thanks to £31m from the Transforming Cities Fund

Gov.uk: National Evaluation Case Study 1 Transforming Cities Fund PDF

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