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Bid for DfT funding to support cycling and walking

The Council wants to add a cycling/pedestrian bridge to the A1237 viaduct near Poppleton. A similar facility at Scarborough railway bridge cost over £4.4 million. While improvements at this location would be welcome, it is unclear how a bridge could be funded and what the implications might be for future carriageway dualling plans.

City of York Council has submitted a bid to the Government for £850,000 of funding (against an indicative allocation of £693,000).

This is part of an overall £1.45m programme, to maintain the growth in walking and cycling seen across the city during lockdown.

The Government’s Emergency Active Travel Fund is designed to support walking and cycling as a long-term method for commuting, as the country emerges from the pandemic and to address the current capacity constraints on Public Transport. To receive any allocation from the fund, the council has to demonstrate ‘swift and meaningful plans’ to support cyclists and pedestrians in York.

This application is for the second of two phases, with the first seeing the council being awarded £193,000 in June (this was £20,000 more than the indicative allocation).

The funding for the second phase is conditional on demonstrating how the council is able to adapt the city’s infrastructure to support more active travel, and how quickly these additional measures can be delivered.

City of York Council has submitted a programme of actions to support walking and cycling at key locations as alternatives to travel by bus or car. 

Subject to a successful award of funding, the second phase aims to deliver the following schemes:

It would cost around £360,000 to construct a 6 mile off road cycle track from Wheldrake to Fulford. This would include foundations aimed at stopping the kind of tree root damage which has made parts of the nearby York – Selby cycle track unusable.
  • Measures focused on providing cycling and walking links between Wheldrake and Heslington. This scheme provides an off-road cycle route to Wheldrake, which will benefit commuters between the village and York city centre, including schoolchildren travelling to school in Fulford.
  • Further improvements on the A19 Shipton Road, a 3.2km radial route with cycle lanes currently being designed for delivery in phase 1. The additional funding will allow some of the existing pedestrian refuges on the road (which constrain the width of the proposed cycle lanes)) to be replaced with signalised crossings and improvements to the main junctions on the road.Improvements to A1237 outer ring road bridge – permanent provision of a cycle lane and improved footways over a 1km viaduct where provision is currently poor – linking suburbs on the northern and southern sides of the River Ouse and East Coast Main Line, including Manor School on the southern side and Clifton Moor Retail Park on the northern.
  • Measures in the city centre to improve access into and around the city centre to serve the footstreets area and ensure that the heart of the city is as accessible as possible for pedestrians, cyclists and disabled residents. This scheme would include a range of measures such as improved signage, improvements to disabled crossing facilities, and a new crossing near Castle Mills Bridge catering for cyclists and pedestrians using the existing riverbank path, but wishing to travel across the Inner Ring Road into the south east of the city centre, an area being regenerated.
  • Acomb Road/ York Road Acomb cycle scheme – a scheme to improve conditions for cyclists on Acomb Road to the west of York, including many children travelling to local schools, but where there is currently very little provision.
  • School Zone Pilot – After a successful trial of a ‘people street’ concept at Carr Junior School in association with Sustrans last year, further changes would be planned to Ostman Road in Acomb for a pilot scheme, with potential future wider rollout across the city.

Additional council funding will be used to compliment the schemes in the bid above, as well as consulting and co-designing schemes with local communities, residents and businesses. 

The second phase bid will complement the first phase of funding which is being used to deliver a number of measures across the city including:

  • Extensions to existing Park and Pedal facilities at Rawcliffe Bar Park & Ride site, alongside a new cycle route from the site along Shipton Road
  • Improved cycle parking in the city centre
  • Extensions to the footstreets area
  • Temporary footway widening at pinch points near shops
  • Alterations to signal timings to reduce pedestrian queuing at city centre traffic lights.
  • ‘The Groves’ neighbourhood traffic reduction 18-month trial
No mention of improvements to the rapidly declining exisiing cycle network

So we have a curates egg of proposals. There seems to have been no attempt made to assess potential demand for cycling facilities and hence likely use. The 2000 residents of Wheldrake may get a very expensive path. It is unlikely to carry many commuters in winter (providing street lighting would be even more expensive).

The 12,000 residents of Westfield are offered nothing. Ditto the Rural West ward, where the Knaption – Rufforth cycle path, and several rural carriageways need resurfacing, also get nothing.

There has been no consultation. The so called “big conversation” doesn’t offer choices on transport projects.

There is no consent from residents and without that we will see resentment and conflict.. That much was evident on Bishopthorpe Road.

The Council say the “work will be co-ordinated with the council’s Economic Recovery Strategy, which will be delivered over the next few months.

The strategy focuses on prioritising active travel, working with bus and rail operators to ensure people can continue to use public transport with confidence and creating a more people-focussed city centre.

To find out more about, York’s Active Travel Fund Bid, visit: www.york.gov.uk/ActiveTravelBid (bid documents will be live on this webpage tomorrow, 11 August).

Tell us what you think

We’re asking residents and businesses to complete our Big Conversation survey, which kick-starts a year-long programme of on and offline opportunities for residents and businesses to shape the city’s recovery.

Over 700 people have already responded and we’d be grateful for your views too: www.york.gov.uk/OurBigConversation

Coronavirus York updates; 10th August 2020

Deaths and test results

Two additional positive test results announced today bring the cumulative total to 931. There have been no additional hospital deaths

Live Q&A to discuss resident questions about public health

Join the next live #AskTheLeaders Live Q&A on the council’s Facebook page this Tuesday 18 August at 5-6pm, as the panel discuss your questions and comments about the city’s coronavirus response.

This next question and answer session will discuss your questions, with a special focus on public health in York, including guidance around testing, face coverings, social distancing and latest data.

Residents are invited to watch live on Facebook to hear from:

  • Cllr Keith Aspden, Leader of the Council
  • Cllr Carol Runciman, Executive Member for Health and Adults Social Care
  • Fiona Phillips, Assistant Director of Public Health
  • Dr Andrew Lee, Executive Director of Primary Care and Population Health,
  • NHS Vale of York CCG
  • Inspector Andrew Godfrey, Neighbourhood Policing Inspector for York City Centre, North Yorkshire Police

The live event takes place the day before the city’s next Outbreak Management Advisory Board. The board includes representatives from public health, public transport, the NHS, Universities and City of York Council who will review the city’s outbreak control plan, as work continues on York’s response to the pandemic.

The plan is available to view online at https://www.york.gov.uk/C19OutbreakControlPlan and the next meeting of the York Outbreak Management Advisory Board can be viewed at www.york.gov.uk/webcasts on 19 August from 5:30pm.

How can I get involved?

Residents can interact with the session by either submitting questions in advance by emailing them to YourQuestions@york.gov.uk or commenting on the live video on Facebook where leaders will read out questions and respond.* Questions may be answered by theme rather than individually, so that the conversation covers as many topics as possible.

For the latest York updates on service changes, online support and how you can get involved in supporting your community visit www.york.gov.uk/Coronavirus

*Please note: Resident do not need a Facebook account to watch the live video however, they will need their own Facebook account to comment on the video with their questions (alternatively questions can be emailed to YourQuestions@york.gov.uk).

Adult learning in York must face up to COVID challenge

Shine programme

The Council will consider an update report tomorrow on how well its York Learning (further education) service is performing. Not surprisingly, courses have been interrupted with many of the venues used by the service not being available for hire.

The Council produced a “Shine” booklet recently outlining what was available this summer. Mainly aimed at families, it can be accessed by clicking here

Much of the York Learning’s £3 million budget is spent on providing educational opportunities for disadvantaged groups.

Some performance information has now been published click

It reveals that events such as “job fairs” have been shelved in the wake of the health scare. Given the likely increase in unemployment in the City, providing services like this must have a high priority even if they have to be established initially on a “virtual” basis.

Reskilling the workforce will be a challenge as the City – and country – tries to emerge from recession. Judging by the published report, York Learning has yet to adapt its priorities to address that challenge.

The report reveals a decline in student numbers – including refugees – undertaking English language courses. This is partly explained by the lower number of inward migrants to the area. Some courses are also now available on line using “zoom”.

The report to the meeting acknowledges that during recent months some residents have become more isolated than they needed to be because of lack of IT skills. Many services were only available “on line” during the crisis and libraries were closed.

Filling that skills gap is a top priority for the service

The learning team have been criticised in the past for being slightly remote from local communities. Residents Associations rarely receive any information about upcoming local activities.

The Council will need to engage more effectively in the future if those in greatest need of skills training are to receive  the support that they need.

Latest planning applications for the Westfield Ward

Below are the latest planning applications received by the York Council for the Westfield ward.

Full details can be found by clicking the application reference

—-

Address       134 Askham Lane York YO24 3HR

Proposal      Single storey front and side extension

Reference   20/01304/FUL

——

Representations can be made in favour of, or in objection to, any application via the Planning online web site.  http://planningaccess.york.gov.uk/online-applications/

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

Missing performance stats

Track the spread of coronavirus around the world | World Economic ...

The Leader of the York Council’s Liberal Democrat Group (Keith Aspden) has issued a statement asking the government to delegate funding for the Coronavirus Track and Trace (T & T) activities to the authority.

He says that;

“York has seen the highest percentage of contacts traced and completed (68 per cent) across the Yorkshire and Humber region, this highlights the extent of the amount of people failing to be contacted”.

That will come as news to most residents. The Council publishes no volume or success measures on T & T on its open data web site.

Currently we are seeing only 3 or 4 positive pillar 1 and 2 test results in the City each week. Following up contacts from such a small group should not be too demanding. As with many other issues, the fundamental flaw in York is a lack of openness.

Cllr Keith Aspden has been asked to add his voice to demands for more local information to be published.

He has not replied to a request for at least the following local information to be published

  1. The number of beds at York hospital occupied by Coronavirus patients
  2. The number of ICU beds at York hospital occupied by Coronavirus patients
  3. The number of tests (pillar 1 and 2) carried out (the positive result figure is published)
  4. The number and results of any anti body tests carried out in the City.

To this can now be added the number and proportion of successful traces completed following a positive test result.

Transparency

We raised the issue a few weeks ago of missing public service quality statistics. Many were available through the “open data” web site but recently updates there have been slow to appear (even for pre Pandemic information).

One performance area that was out of date was the number of fines (FPNs) issued for littering offences. The outturn figure for last (financial) year is now available, Three penalty notices were issue, half the number issued the previous year.

There is some good news with the number of street lighting issues reported having fallen for the third successive year (the Council has invested heavily in new street lighting columns)

But figures for transportation matters are mainly still at least a year out of date. The are no figures published for the number of journeys completed by different transport modes. Only bus service use (stable) and, separately, Park and Ride passenger numbers (down), have been added.

These are mainly figures for the period before lock-down and are important if the economic recovery is to be monitored.

The Council has failed to produce KPIs on air quality or carbon emission levels.

Coronavirus York updates; 7th August 2020

Deaths and test results

No additional hospital deaths announced in York today. However, deaths in hospitals elsewhere in Yorkshire & the North East were higher than in other parts of the country.

There have been no additional positive test results in York today. We are currently experiencing about 3 new cases each week.

The latest figures released by the government today suggest that 0.05% of these tested in the community in Yorkshire and Humberside recorded positive results. New infection rates dropped during June but increased again towards the end of July.

Council commentary

The Council has updated its commentary on the pandemic on the open data web site. They say

DIAGNOSED CASES (Pillar 1 and 2 combined)

• As at 6.8.20 York has had 928 cases, a rate of 440.6 per 100,000 of population. The England rate is 472.3. The Yorkshire & Humber rate is 594.6. The most recent cases in York had a test specimen date of 3.8.20 (2 cases).

• The PHE ‘Exceedance’ rating compares the no. of new cases over a 14 day period with the previous 6 weeks and provides a RAG rating to indicate if the previously observed trend in the no. of new cases is worsening. The latest rating for York (4.8.20) is Amber. The rating was triggered by a higher than ‘expected’ number of cases per 100 tests once in the last 14 days (3 cases with a specimen date of 25.7.20). We know that in recent weeks the number of cases have been low in York which has an effect on the thresholds used to determine the RAG rating – a small change can mean the difference between a red, amber and green rating. The exceedance report should not be considered in isolation but in context alongside other factors such as the recent total number of cases, COVID related deaths, outbreaks as well as changes in the local testing regime and local hotspot analysis.

• The latest weekly National Covid-19 Surveillance Report released on 31.7.20 and covering the week up to 26.7.20, showed that the 7 day rate of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population tested under Pillar 1 and 2 was 4.29 for York. York was ranked 73rd out of 150 local authorities (with 1 being the lowest rate).

• The latest confirmed 7 day rate of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population for York is 2.85. This is for the 7 day period up to 31.7.20. This excludes cases with a sample date in the last few days due to partial data and lags in reporting. The national average is 8.8 and the regional average is 15.7.

• As at 4.8.20, the latest 7 day positivity rate in York (Pillar 2 only) was 0.33% (5 positives out of 1,528 tests). The positivity rate in York is lower than national (1.2%) and regional (1.8%) averages.

Deaths

The two sources about deaths from Covid-19 at LA level are ONS data and local registrar data. They are derived from the same source (civil registration data). ONS data is more comprehensive as it includes deaths of York residents which have occurred and been registered outside York. Local registrar data is useful as it provides a breakdown by age and gender. The most recently available data is summarised below:

• ONS weekly data: For deaths occurring up to 24th July 2020 and registered up to 1st August 2020, 169 deaths were recorded as having occurred for CYC residents (82 in hospital, 74 in care homes, 9 at home, 3 in a hospice and 1 in an ‘other communal establishment’). The number of deaths per 100,000 of population in York is 80.24 which is lower than the national average of 87.08

• ‘Excess’ deaths (ONS). In week 30 (18 July to 24 July), 20 deaths occurred in York, which is 11 fewer than the average weekly number for 2014-18. The peak week for ‘excess’ deaths and for Covid deaths was week18 (25 April to 1 May).

• Local Registrar data: In the weekly data received on 3.8.20 (for deaths occurring up to 29.7.20), a cumulative total of 161 deaths of CYC residents where COVID-19 was mentioned (confirmed or suspected) on the death certificate, have been registered. The average age of the people who died was 82.4, with an age range of 53-104. The age profile of those dying in York is slightly older than the national average. 85 of the 161 were male (52.8%), slightly less than the national average (55%). 81 of the deaths occurred in hospital and 80 were community deaths (e.g. at home or in a care home or hospice). 69 people (42.9%) died in nursing /care homes (the national average is 29.6%). In addition 13 people (8.1%) who normally resided in nursing/care homes in the CYC area, died in hospital.

Data on deaths occurring in hospital are shown below. Deaths are initially reported for York NHS Foundation Trust which includes Scarborough Hospital and the further breakdown by site can be delayed. From local registrar data, 58.5% of COVID-19 deaths occurring at York Hospital have been CYC residents. (NB NHS Trusts record deaths following a positive covid-19 test whereas ONS record deaths where covid-19 in mentioned on the death certificate so the totals are not the same).

• Deaths at York Hospital: As at 6.8.20, 134 deaths of people who had tested positive for COVID-19 and were being cared for at York Hospital have been reported. 214 deaths have been reported by the wider York NHS Trust.

Call for parking App info to be updated

We have called on the Council and its RingGo partner to provide parking space availability information on their parking app.

The information is provided by RingGo for car parks in other towns and cities.

New freephone line for those in mental distress

NHS Tees, Esk Wear and Valley have introduced a new freephone line which will make it easier for people in mental distress to access urgent help.

People in York, including children and older people, can contact their local TEWV crisis service on freephone number : 0800 0516171.

Following the success of the Trust’s single point of access telephone number launched earlier in the year, and in response to national guidance, the freephone line will help reduce barriers to accessing help in a mental health emergency.

Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, callers, including those with learning disabilities and/or autism, will be offered a series of options which will divert them to their local crisis service. People calling the existing single point of access number will automatically be diverted to the freephone line with a view to this replacing the 0300 number in the coming months.

For more information visit: https://www.tewv.nhs.uk/freephone-line-for-those-in-mental-distress/

Additional facemask requirements from tomorrow (Saturday)

In addition to existing locations facemasks will be required at

  • Auction Houses
  • Bingo Halls
  • Cinemas
  • Community Centres
  • Concert Halls
  • Funeral Directors
  • Indoor Entertainment Venues (amusement Arcades, Funfairs, Adventure Activities E.g. Laser Quest, Go-karting, Escape Rooms, Heritage Sites Etc)
  • Libraries and Public Reading Rooms
  • Massage Centres
  • Museums, Galleries, Aquariums, Indoor Zoos or Visitor Farms, or Other Indoor Tourist, Heritage or Cultural Sites
  • Nail, Beauty, Hair Salons and Barbers – Other Than Where Necessary to Remove for Treatments
  • Place of Worship
  • Premises Providing Professional, Legal or Financial Services
  • Public Areas in Hotels and Hostels
  • Social Clubs
  • Storage and Distribution Facilities
  • Tattoo and Piercing Parlours
  • Theatres
  • Veterinary Services

Job Retention Bonus

The government is introducing a new Job Retention Bonus to provide additional support to employers who keep on their furloughed employees in meaningful employment, after the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ends on 31 October 2020.

Government have so far released an overview of the eligibility requirements and what employers need to do now to claim the bonus. Full guidance will be published by the end of September.

Find out more here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/job-retention-bonus/job-retention-bonus

Government Plan for Jobs from 1 August

The Chancellor’s Plan for Jobs announcement in July included a range of incentives that are available to employers recruiting apprentices, including those that have previously been made redundant. Incentives include:

a new payment of £2,000 to employers in England for each new apprentice employers hire, aged under 25, and a £1,500 payment for each new apprentice they hire aged 25 and over, from 1st August 2020 to 31st January 2021, for new recruits. These payments are in addition to the existing £1,000 payment for new 16-18 year-old apprentices, and those aged under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan. an additional £111 million this year for traineeships in England, to triple participation in traineeships. Government will fund employers who provide trainees with work experience at a rate of £1,000 per trainee and expand eligibility for traineeships to those with Level 3 qualifications and below. an additional £32 million funding over the next two years for the National Careers Service so that 269,000 more people in England can receive personalised advice on training and work. A Job Retention Bonus – a one-off payment of £1,000 to UK employers for every furloughed employee who remains continuously employed through to the end of January 2021.

Incentives payments can be claimed by employers from September and will be paid in January 2021. Find out more by visiting: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/rishis-plan-for-jobs-will-help-britain-bounce-back

Risks, delays & cost increases as York Council struggles to manage its commercial portfolio

York Guildhall

Yesterday’s announcement that more than £15 million of infrastructure schemes had been secured in North Yorkshire over the next 18 months – with £300,000 of funding going towards the York Guildhall offices project – will have been welcomed by many.

The money comes from the Government’s “Getting Building Fund” which “aims to boost economic recovery from Covid-19”.

According to a Council spokesman, the funding will now be used “for internal fit-out works” on the business club which will occupy much of the building.

That will come as a surprise to those who thought that the agreed £20.18 million budget included all costs.  Indeed, the option approved by the Council in February 2019, specifically identified £300,000 for “fixtures, fittings and furniture”.

Council report 2019. Option 1 was agreed

It seems that the only change is that this expenditure will now be funded from general taxation.

Even with this subsidy, and assuming that all offices and the on site restaurant, are all occupied, York Council taxpayers still face an annual bill of over £500,000.

An Executive meeting which took place last week was told in an update on the Guildhall project that “additional delays have meant that it is presently considered that these additional costs cannot be contained within the agreed contingency”.

The scale of the over expenditure was not revealed.

The Guildhall is not the only commercial portfolio project to come under scrutiny.

Some independent commentators are sceptical about the timing of the Councils £2.8 million acquisition of 25/27 Coney Street. Rent levels are now dropping and with them property valuations in some high streets. Coney Street is struggling more than most.

Meanwhile large numbers of Council owned properties remain empty and unused.

These include Ashbank (empty for 8 years), 29 Castlegate (3 years), Oakhaven (4 years) and Willow House (4 years 6 months).

Willow House stands abandoned with no sign of redevelopment work starting.

We now understand that Willow House – which was advertised for sale with Sanderson Weatherall – has been withdrawn from the market. The Council turned down a £3 million offer for the prime site shortly after it became available.

None of these properties are accommodating anyone.

All are incurring maintenance and security costs for taxpayers, while at the same time attracting no Business Rates or rent income.

At a time when local authorities are on their knees financially, poor resource management is  a matter of concern.