View more tweets

York Council action on Public Rights of Way?

A couple of months ago the Local Government Ombudsman criticised the York Council for the time it was taking in dealing with applications to have Public Rights of Way (PROW)  declared.

The Council has a long waiting list. It can sometimes take several years for the applications to be processed.

Some PROW access points are in a poor state of repair

Two applications are to be considered by the Council at a meeting being held on 25th July. They concern public footpaths at the following locations

The meeting on 18th July will be told that government legislation will make some aspects of PROW decision making simpler.

The Deregulation Act 2015 will have an effect on historic rights of way.

The Act makes changes to existing legislation affecting rights of way aimed at streamlining the application procedures for new rights of way under which landowners will have a greater say.

The key area of improvement relates to the process for determining applications.

Local Authorities are given the power to divert a route at the application stage should it not be suitable (for example where it runs through property such as working yards where there is a significant risk).

Other changes include restrictions on how long an application can remain at each stage of the process, gating of rights of way and the introduction of a basic evidence test. Many of the changes are aimed at ‘historic rights of way’ – routes based on documentary evidence from before 1949.

In order to provide certainty for landowners about what rights of way exist on their land, the government intends to close the definitive maps to claims of historic paths which existed before 1949 on 1 January 2026

NB. Amongst the PROW applications in the York Council queue to be considered is one, crossing Acomb Moor, linking Foxwood Lane to Osprey Close. Safety on the link has been criticised because of lack of maintenance of one of the stile accesses.

Hidden in open view?

We’ll get an idea of the calibre of the newly elected York Councillors this week when they begin to consider how to scrutinise the management performance of the local authority.

A series of updates are being presented.

A typical report is being tabled on housing and community safety issues on 24th June.   

Litter blights some neighbourhoods

What is immediately clear is that no performance indicators have been tabulated (or referenced out). Councillors aren’t being told how long it takes to do things, what any backlogs are, what quality checks are in place or what the levels of public satisfaction are.

Some of the information is available on York Open Data but you have to search for it. Many of the figures are not up to date.

Some major issues are not mentioned at all.  

Empty garages reduce local authority rent income

The housing section fails to even mention empty Council garages, tenants don’t feel they can influence decisions (most tenants organisations have folded) and there are delays on the Housing Estate Improvement programmes.

Similarly on community safety (mainly policing matters) anti-social behaviour in sub-urban areas hardly gets a mention. Trends in drug and alcohol abuse are not quantified. Vandalism, criminal damage, graffiti, all of which disfigure residential areas, are ignored. The trend in the number of prosecutions for this type of offence and similar environmental crimes (litter, dog fouling) is not revealed.

Graffiti scars some streets.

The challenge for new Councillors will be not so much to question the information that has been provided by officials, but more to probe the areas where reports are silent.

Good for the gardens .. and the weeds

Seems the City is set too be overwhelmed by weeds this week. Ideal growing conditions mean that areas which have not been treated for weed growth are rapidly turning green.

If left untreated, weeds can break up footpath surfaces and paving leading to costly repair bills.

Bad Bargain Lane is one area where the York Council have yet to tackle weed growth
Private forecourt area like the Woodthorep shops also need attention
Residents groups in some areas are taking action to cut down nettles and other weeds
Heavy rain recently has highlighted the need to address ponding problems on roads like Bell House Way

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 

—-

189 Kingsway West York YO24 4QD

Erection of single storey extension extending 4 metres beyond rear wall of the original house, with a height to the eaves of 2.67 metres and a total height of 3.57 metres. 

Ref. No: 19/01127/LHE 

———-

4 Croftside York YO26 5LT

Single storey rear extension and rear dormer. 

Ref. No: 19/00980/FUL 

———-

Dryfix Preservation Ltd The Yard Tudor Road York YO24 3AY

Change of use from electrical storage only (Use Class B8) to unrestricted storage, open air storage and distribution (Use Class B8)

Ref. No: 19/00966/FUL 

————

94 Wetherby Road Acomb York YO26 5BY

Single storey rear extension 

Ref. No: 19/00867/FUL 

——

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

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

Work starts on Burnholme elderly persons accommodation

Work has stared on building a new 80 bed care home at the Burnholme site.

When completed, the Council will have the right to fill 25 of the beds

A lot of building work going on at Burnholme

Work is also proceeding on renovating sports facilities on the Burnholme site. A new library complex has already opened.

The care home being built on the Fordlands Road site (by Octopus Health care) will be completed in the summer of 2020. A site for another home has been reserved in the new York Central development.

The progress being made on these sites contrasts with other projects aimed at addressing the needs of the City’s increasing elderly population on the west of the City.

Tenders are only now being sought for the long awaited elderly persons facility on the Lowfields site. Other specialist homes on the west of the City, such as Windsor House and Lincoln Court have already been cleared of their elderly occupants.

One embarrassment for the Council, is the elderly persons home at Oakhaven. Residents were controversially moved from this building 3 years ago.

Despite some temporary uses, the building has remained largely unused ever since.

The Council has not been able to say when work on a replacement will start.

The Council says that it will start building houses at Lowfield this summer. Many will be “shared ownership” although there seems to have been little research done on the size of the market – among those on the waiting list – for this type of tenure.

There is, however, a lot of demand from older people – currently occupying large council and housing association houses – who want to “downsize” to bungalows or flats.

Work has started on constructing the Tudor Road access onto the Lowfields site. A new lay-by has been provided nearby.

While we remain critical of the Councils plan to build on the playing field at Lowfield, it also now seems that they may have got the mix of home types wrong.

There should have been more bungalows.

The issue of the Yorspace” communal housing development – which is not classified as “affordable” – has also still not been resolved.

Two more arrested after serious collision involving 12 year-old girl in Low Poppleton Lane

Police officers investigating a collision involving a 12-year-old girl and a motorcycle in York have arrested two more people in connection with the incident.

A 29-year-old York man was arrested at 8pm on Wednesday 12 June 2019 on suspicion of causing serious injury by dangerous driving and failing to stop. He has been released on conditional bail.

Two more people have been arrested – a 30 year-old York man and 25 year-old York woman on suspicion of assisting an offender. Both have been released under investigation whilst enquiries continue.

The girl remains in a critical but stable condition in hospital.

Community Stadium opening date announcement needed.

The announcement earlier in the year, that the opening of the City’s new Community Stadium would be delayed until the autumn, surprised few people.

York City Football Club first learned in 2004 that it could face a move away from Bootham Crescent.

The future of the Knights Rugby team subsequently become inextricably intertwined with the stadiums future.

All seemed well in 2010 when a source of funding (S106 planning contributions) for a new stadium was obtained. Planning permission for the Vanguard development was subsequently granted.  

Further delays occurred as the Council agonised about procurement polices and management arrangements.

After many false dawns, the stadium should have been opening this month.

The announcement of another 6 month delay came as a disappointment.

Such information as leaked out about the cause of the delay was neither confirmed nor denied by a Council embroiled in a local election process. The “purdah” period prevented any statements that might have influenced the election result.

It is now over 5 weeks after the election concluded – with another “no overall majority” result. The Green Party, which opposed the stadium development together with some Tories – now shares power with the LibDems who themselves have a long commitment to the stadium.

There is no suggestion that political interference is behind the reason for the delayed announcements.

The Council, Football and Rugby Clubs – together with the builders (Buckingham) and stadium complex managers (Better), have been strangely quiet over the last few weeks.

 The “purdah” period is long over yet no explanation for the delay or, more importantly, a new opening date have been confirmed. The last official statement talked about an October opening date.

More realistically, the clubs may now be hoping that the stadium will be available for the lucrative Christmas /New Year fixture programme.

NB. York City’s National League North fixture list is due to be announced on 3rd July.  The season will kick off on Saturday, August 3rd. The Football Club has already announced its season ticket prices.

Weather warning – Wetherby Road resurfacing re-scheduled!

It looks like the resurfacing (dressing) of Wetherby Road between Ridgeway and Bland Lane has been re-scheduled for 20th June. It was due to be done this week but was postponed following a period of heavy drizzle!
Access to properties only sign at A1237 junction
Access only sign on Knapton Lane

It appears that the signs intended to discourage short cutting through Knapton have remained in place. This is somewhat confusing for motorists.

Meanwhile we’ve reported that the anti slip surface on the approach to the pedestrian crossing on Cornlands Road has disintegrated. The surface is now hazardous for cyclists.

Another police appeal this time concerning an incident on Tudor Road

The police have emailed out the following information,

“On Friday 7th JUNE 2019 at around 20:15 hours a 17 year old female had been walking towards the CLOCK HOUSE PUB on TUDOR ROAD when a black van had been driving slowly behind her. The Driver shouted out the window to the female “YOU GOING TO GET IN THE CAR”, she thought this was strange as he was driving a van. As the female looked around the male said “NO YOU”. The female then said “NO”.

The female then crossed the road to go down the alley that leads onto MIDDLETON ROAD and the male pulls the can into her path, gets out of the van. The male then pushes the females left shoulder so the female hits the male round the head with a umbrella and runs towards the pub. The male then did a U turn in his van and drove back up TUDOR ROAD towards GALE LANE

Driver was described as white, around 55 years old, around 5ft 10 and scrawny build. He had spoken with a Yorkshire accent, had a pale complexion and was wearing a clear/ silver round glasses. He had a long white beard, white receding hair line and was wearing a grey coloured t shirt, black comber rain coat, black jeans and black boots.

No VRM was able to be obtained from the vehicle, however van is described as a small tatty black van, looked a little like a camper van with a side door, blacked out windows and the wheels had no alloys on”. 

If you have any information to assist officers please call 101 and quote incident number 12190103997 for the attention of PC 461.