Plan to reshape city and boost local economy is revealed

The Advertiser Series: CITY FUTURE: The Ripon City Plan has been unveiled. CITY FUTURE: The Ripon City Plan has been unveiled.

A BLUEPRINT to shape a city into the next decade, including a proposal to bar vehicles from the historic market square, has been unveiled.

The Ripon City Plan (RCP), which is being developed by Ripon City Council from residents’ responses to a public consultation exercise, aims to give residents a greater say in how the city is developed.

A key part of RCP includes a drive to strengthen the city centre as a meeting place of choice for Ripon residents and visitors by reviewing the use and design of the Market Place, which could include creating a pedestrian-only zone.

The RCP also calls for new roads, paths and cycle tracks in the city centre to improve access, moves to support the creation of an evening economy and designating areas to promote cultural and leisure.

The plan also sets out a drive to enhance the city’s physical character by introducing policies for the design of new developments and by encouraging public art and environmental improvement action.

A long-standing proposal to create a pedestrian precinct surrounding Ripon Cathedral and a scheme to identify sites for tourist accommodation are among ideas in the RCP to regenerate the city.

Mayor of Ripon Councillor Mick Stanley said: “Ripon has never had a comprehensive review of how it operates.

“The county council promised a long time ago that they would look at traffic management in the city, but it has not happened.

“High streets are now more about social areas than retail areas, while the cathedral is the only medieval one in the country with a road in front of it.

“We want the plan to provide the best opportunities for development, enhancing the city’s good points, protecting our unique and irreplaceable assets and grasping the chance to play a stronger role in our area of North Yorkshire.”

Coun Stanley said residents would be consulted over an initial draft of the RCP in early spring, before the document is examined by an independent examiner and submitted to Harrogate Borough Council in August.

Christopher Hughes, a member of the RCP committee, said: “Neighbourhood Plans are still a relatively new concept.

“There are only five in the whole country, so far, that have been to referendum.

“What is clear, be it in Tattenhall or Thame, Upper Eden or Exeter St James, is that plans have been approved by a significant majority, and communities are taking charge of planning for the future of their places .”

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