Labour’s plan for the Guildhall – Taxpayers face immediate £400,000 bill

York Guildhall

York Guildhall

Labour are oppressing ahead with their plan to turn the Guildhall into a “Digital Arts and Media Centre”.

Essentially this will mean constructing small business units.

Initially around £400,000 is being spent appointing additional staff to manage the project and to undertake demolition works on parts of the site. In total £1.4 million has been allocated to the project plus an – as yet unspecified – amount of capital investment (likely to be several millions of pounds)

The Council has still not published even an outline business case indicating how such a development could be paid for and sustained.

There is still a large amount of empty commercial property in the City. There are at the moment, for example, 11 starter units unoccupied at the York Eco Business centre at Clifton

The original intention had been to maintain the Guildhall and adjacent heritage buildings as the political and cultural centre of the City. This would have left space at the new West Offices for commercial use.

This has already been eroded.

A commercial use is taking place in part of the building (John Lewis recruitment) while – ironically – another part of the site is being used by the theatre group which is behind the “Arts Barge” project.

The Council has not revealed how much rent it is receiving for these uses or what the ongoing maintenance and other liabilities are for the largely empty site. Earlier in the year the empty building was reported as costing around £13000 a month to sustain

Most seriously it looks like it will be at least a year before a permanent use is found for the buildings.

In the meantime, part of the site has been mothballed prior to demolition while it seems likely that the rest of this key building will be allowed to quietly rot away.

Empty homes guessing game in York

As we reported 3 months ago it looks like the Council are finally going to do something about the empty property on Bradley Drive.

The property was on the brink of being repossessed 2 years ago but the new Labour Council withdrew from the legal process which had been started.

Now it seems that they may issue a compulsory purchase order on the property.

Behind closed doors logo

A report is going to the Councils “Cabinet” next week. Click here for details.

As usual most of the information is being kept “confidential”.

The property is a single bedroom unit of a type which are not in particularly short supply in York. It is anyone’s guess what the property – which has been empty for over 10 years – might be worth.

Extensive vandalism means that an almost total refitting will be required.

Some of the proceeds of any sale are likely to go towards paying off accumulated debts (such as Council Tax).

Altogether a bit of a shambles all round. Let’s hope that it is brought to a happy conclusion before the end of the year.

Police speed cameras – First 3 months claim over 1500 speeders

Click image to see full data

Click image to see full data

1544 speeding motorists have been caught by Police mobile speed cameras since April in the York area.

By far the largest number were detected on at A1237 (northern by pass) near Monks Cross

Other vulnerable roads included Strensall Road in Huntington, Beckfield Lane in Acomb, York Road in Haxby and Towthorpe Road in Haxby

A list of the locations likely to be covered by the mobile cameras over the forthcoming week can be viewed by clicking here.

Show them you care about our Green Belt – attend tomorrows meeting

What is called a “drop in” meeting has been called by the Council tomorrow to discuss their plans for major development in the Green Belt in and near the Westfield Ward.

Meeting details – Thursday 11 July 2013 between 4.00pm-7.00pm in The Oak room, The Gateway Centre, Front Street, Acomb.

Many “Save the Green belt” supporters are likely to attend the event at about 5:30pm.

Cllr Lynn Jeffries has agreed to present the “Save Acomb Moor” petition to the Council at its meeting on 18th July.

Save Acomb Moor 2