Residents and staff at Willow House to be consulted on closure plans

“High value” elderly persons home site to be sold

Willow HouseResidents, their relatives and staff at one of City of York Council’s Older People’s Homes – Willow House – are being consulted on the option to close the home in early 2017, as part of plans to modernise accommodation for older people in the city.

The Council says that, “the plans seek to address the needs of York’s fast-growing older population, by providing modern facilities which allow high quality care and quality of life. It also aims to make the best use of the city’s existing Extra Care housing, making it more accessible for people with higher care needs by increasing the support available at each venue and by replacing the council’s five out-dated Older People’s Homes, with more modern accommodation”.

Two city centre homes (Oliver House & Grove House) have already been sold by the Council. Willow House, located within a stones throw of the City Walls is likely to command a substantial price when marketed.

There will, however, be concerns that specialist properties specifically designed for older people – and with good access to a full range of amenities – are being lost.

In Acomb, the Council faces a major backlash over its plans to build on the Lowfields school sports fields. Residents had expected that site to be allocated for older people as it is also located very close to the amenities which exist on Front Street

A Council media release goes on to say,

“Each of the council’s Older People’s Homes was assessed against a number of criteria to determine which homes should be consulted on for closure first. Two Older People’s Homes – Grove House and Oakhaven – closed earlier this year as part of the programme and this week, Executive is being asked to approve plans for the sale of Grove House to generate additional capital to support the programme.

The criteria covered:

  • Whether there were any serious physical problems with the building which could impact on the quality of care provided to residents
  • Whether the site had potential alternative uses which will support the wider Older People’s Accommodation Programme
  • Whether there were any residents living at the home who had already been moved from another CYC older person’s home which had been closed
  • The size of the home, with smaller homes struggling to provide a cost-efficient service to residents.

None of the Older People’s Homes were found to have serious physical problems with the buildings, so the decision was based on the other three criteria. Willow House was chosen as the next home to be consulted on re closure because:

  • Willow House is one of the smaller homes with 23 permanent residents
  • Only a very small number of residents have moved home previously as part of the programme
  • Should Willow House close, the location of the site means that it would be likely to generate a significant capital receipt if sold, helping to fund the wider Older People’s Accommodation Programme and so benefit more older people in the city.

Michael Melvin, Assistant Director, Adult Social Care, City of York Council, said: “We recognise that this consultation process can be an unsettling and upsetting one and we will be working closely with the residents, staff and their families, to make sure they have the support and advice they need. Residents and staff at Willow House are rightly proud of their home, however, it is vital that we keep the aims of the wider Older People’s Accommodation Programme in sight.

“The programme looks to ensure that we are able to help older people to remain independent in their own home as long as possible, providing them with a wide choice of accommodation to meet their needs. Our residents are of paramount importance and the actions we take now will ensure that they – and future generations – will have the best possible quality of life and ensure that we can meet the needs of York’s ageing population. This consultation is another step closer to achieving the goal of modernising accommodation for older people in York.”

Residents, their relatives and staff have already been informed of the proposals and will be consulted on their views and any preferences they have about where they would like to move to should the home be closed, over the next six weeks.

The results of the consultations will be presented to the Executive on Thursday 24 November.  Willow House also hosts day drop-in services for people with leaning disabilities in a self contained space. These service users will be consulted separately on proposed changes at Willow House”.

York street cleaning maps published “on line”

Following an intervention from Cllr Andrew Waller, the Council has now published maps showing street cleaning frequencies across York.

The maps are available “on line”. Click here to access

The Council says that “in order to target our resources in the most effective and efficient way possible, we have reviewed our street cleansing schedules based on the local knowledge of front line employees. This has enabled us to identify what is actually needed rather than undertake work just because its always been done that way.

As a result of this we have commenced a trial of new street cleansing schedules in each of the wards from the beginning of August 2016 for a period of 6 months.

Although some locations may have a reduced frequency of mechanical sweeping, this means that when we do undertake mechanical sweeping we will have the time to do a more thorough job leading to improved standards of cleanliness”.

City centre footstreets

The changes do not include the city centre foot streets as this is a distinct service undertaken seven days a week, all year round, between 5.00am and 8.00pm, this service has recently been reviewed and the Council is currently working with the York Business Improvement District team on how they can work together to bring about further improvement in the city centre.


If residents have any feedback during the 6 month trial period please email the shaping neighbourhoods team at: where the responses will be monitored and collated.

The Council says, “as well as giving us valuable feedback, you may wish to consider how you might be able to help with the upkeep of your local environment, this may, for example be in the way of volunteering as a snow warden or as a litter picker. See volunteering opportunities (click) page for further details and other ways to volunteer”.

Following the end of the trial, further consultation will be held followed by a report to the Executive Member for the Environments Decision Session in Spring 2017

Information event

The Council is holding an event at Hazel Court for residents on Saturday 15 October 2016 from 10.00am to 12.00pm.

The sessions will be jointly delivered between a number of council teams and external agencies.


The schedules for the Westfield area are reproduced below.  Generally, there is little change although there may be some concerns about sweeping  frequencies at smaller shopping areas like Foxwood Lane.

Some publicly maintainable footpath links ( Chesneys Field, Kingsway West, The Green) are shown on the maps as “private”. These will need to be cleaned regularly as will housing department communal and garage areas.

But overall the plans seem to us to be worth a trial especially given the decision of the previous Labour administration to substantially reduce the street cleansing budget

Manual street celaning

Manual street celaning

Mechanical street cleaning

Mechanical street cleaning

Jobs Fair in York – Friday 30th September

Looking for work?
Want an apprenticeship?
Need to change job?

York’s next job fair on Friday 30 September is the ideal chance for doing all that and more.

Job-Fair-color-peopleTo be held at the York Railway Institute (RI), Queens Street, from 10am-3pm, the event is supported by City of York Council and Job Centre Plus.

At the last fair in April this year, 800 people attended and there were 370 live jobs on offer. At this one, over 70 organisations and training providers are expected under one roof and will include:

  • Hiscox
  • Marks and Spencer
  • Sainburys
  • Premier Inn.

Besides lots of live job vacancies to apply for, there will be support in place to brush up CV writing skills and making job applications.

Councillor Keith Aspden, Deputy Leader of City of York Council with responsibility for Economic Development and Community Engagement, said: “Our job fairs are hugely successful and have been supported by council funding for the last four years. At the city’s last event in April, over 800 people attended and found hundreds of jobs on offer, providing significant opportunities for both employers and employees.

“In July we agreed to continue investment to support a further two job fairs as part of our ongoing efforts to help York residents access job and training opportunities.

“I’d urge anyone to go along and check out what’s on offer on Friday. Opportunities include live vacancies at every level, full and part-time positions, and apprenticeships targeting 16-24 year olds.”

So how good are York Council services?

The results of two recent surveys allow us to measure what residents say are good and bad about City of York Council services.

The Council’s own “Talkabout” panel has given a verdict this summer.

Talkabout results June 2016

Talkabout panel results – click to access

Best service - refuse collection

Best service

It is the first comprehensive look at customer satisfaction with services in the City since polls were scrapped by the, then Labour led, administration in 2013.

These can be compared to a more detailed survey being undertaken in west York where residents have also given a verdict on service quality.

The Talkabout respondents indicate that satisfaction with their local area as a place to live has increased for 83% in 2013 to 92% today.

Worst service - road repairs

Worst service – road repairs

66% of the panel are satisfied with the way that the Council runs thing compared to 54% three years ago

One of the few areas judged to be deteriorating was law and order. 77% said that York is relatively free from crime and violence compared to 80% in 2013.

Looking at street level services, 39% (2013 – 33%) though litter was a problem in their local area although the majority (61%) still thought litter was not a problem.

survey results as at 26th Sept 2016Problems with vandalism showed small increases (17% up to 18%), as did drug dealing (15% up to 26%) and drunk/rowdy behaviour (25% up to 30%)

The numbers who though that the Council was doing well in at improving green spaces was static at 48% but those who thought the Council was doing well in improving streets/public spaces was down from 49% to 45%.

Looking at the more detailed poll conducted in west York, it may be significant that the 4 most criticised public services (footpath repairs, road repairs, the availability of litter bins and local car parking facilities) were not monitored in the citywide survey.

Although most residents indicated that other services were “satisfactory” there were large numbers of people who rated some services as poor.

These included weed control (31% poor), tree/hedge maintenance (36%), Policing (31%), and garage area maintenance (20%).

The top ranked services were refuse collection (91% rated satisfactory or good), recycling (92%) and street lighting (89%)


New way of working for Adult Social Care in York

Plans for a new way of working, helping people to enjoy healthy, active and independent lives across York, will be discussed at an Executive meeting on Thursday 29 September.

Social carePlans for a new way of working, helping people to enjoy healthy, active and independent lives across York, will be discussed at an Executive meeting on Thursday 29 September.

Executive will consider a report which provides an update on the progress made towards a new operating model for adult social care. The new approach aims to enable people in York to maximise control over how they manage their social care needs including greater use of community assets and support from a range of partners.

The proposals focus on providing the best support and advice for residents, by working with partners to improve health and wellbeing and help residents maintain their independence. The plans also look at ways to help communities to be resilient and self-supporting, rather than waiting for people to fall into crisis, then fitting them into fixed services.

The model, which is built on an early intervention approach, supports the council-wide vision of helping people enjoy healthy, active and independent lives and make best use of resources available, including savings to be achieved by 2019/20 totalling over £1.2million.

Key elements include:

  • Enhanced information, advice and guidance
  • Digital self service
  • Excellent customer service
  • Maximising independence by greater use of personal budgets and direct payments
  • The right service, at the right time
  • More use of assistive technology
  • Access to a broader range of supported accommodation

As well as considering the progress being made towards the new operating model, Executive will be asked to approve the proposal to procure additional support to implement it.
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Latest planning application for the Westfield Ward

Another  new home proposed for Front Street

Below is the latest planning application received by the York Council for the Westfield ward.

Full details can be found by clicking the words highlighted in blue


Ali Barbers plannig applicationAli Barber Ltd 45 Front Street York YO24 3BR

Erection of detached dwelling with associated access, cycle parking and bin storage following demolition of existing detached garage

Reference           16/02099/OUT


 Representations can be made in favour of, or in objection to, any application via the Planning on line web site.

The Council now no longer routinely consults neighbours by letter when an application is received

Last week in west York in pictures


Following a crash on Gale Lane we asked for debris to be swept from the carriageway

Litter and weeds on garage access road in Westfield Place 1500hrs 22nd Sept 2016

Litter remains a top concern of residents in the Askham Lane area. We asked for the access road in Westfield Place to be swept

Litter bin spillage

This litter bin was reported for attention

Sheena at Circus

Cllr Sheena Jackson continued her survey of young peoples leisure needs in the area. This week she was outside the circus on Thanet Road. The circus had been criticised for fly posting adverting literature around the area. They were asked to remove the posters within 5 days of leaving the area (which they seem to have done)

Weeds in guttesr Stirrup Close 19th Sept 2016

Earlier in the week the Foxwood Residents Association had a walk round the local estate with Council and Housing Association officials. One big problem was weed growth with street like Wenham Road amongst those apparently missed off the treatment rota. The third application of weed killer has just started with officials promising that an improvement will be noticeable by mid October. We think that the Council will need a change of policy for 2017 following several years now of ineffective treatment.

Weed groth Wenham

More weeds

Andrew bus shelter

….and Cllr Andrew Waller takes direct action to remove weed growth from the gutters of a local bus shelter!

Hole in park

Cllr Sheena Jackson has reported several holes that have been dug in the Foxwood Park surface. They have apparently been dug by an animal and represent a potential hazard for walkers as the dark nights draw in. The holes are being filled in.


The Council announced new plans for the erection of 8 bungalows on the Newbury Avenue garage site on Wednesday. Local Councillors are pressing for more off street parking spaces to be provided if the garages are demolished

Road works on Windsor Garth 21st Sept 2016

Good news just down the road as contractors start work on repairing roads damaged by vehicles accessing the “Hob Stones” development site on Windsor Garth

Acomb Market large

and the week ends to day with the return of the Acomb Market for the last of its currently scheduled run on Front Street. A record number of stalls are available today (Saturday). Acomb Alive are expected to make an announcement shortly about the future of the market.