York Council develops colour blindness

Promise to tell the truth?

The Council has published a report which contains a blatantly misleading statement. In an attempt to justify the development of former school playing fields at various sites in the City, it claims that these are “brownfield” land.

Playing fields are classified as greenfield sites, although they do not necessarily form part of the Green Belt. (The former built footprint of the school sites could be regarded as “brownfield”. In the case of Lowfields this is around 50% of the total site area).

Sites like Lowfields – where the proposed development of the playing field has attracted a lot of opposition – have not yet even been subject to the public examination which will only start when a draft Local Plan is finally agreed for the City.

The Council is therefore being asked to spend thousands of pounds of taxpayers money on architects and professional fees on projects which may never get off the drawing board.

Council owned sites proposed for early development

Nor has there been any discussion with residents about the future of sites like the Askham Bar car park (former park and ride site) on Moor Lane.

Ironically the Council has, once again, chosen to ignore the vacant – and derelict – brownfield land behind Acomb Library. Sites like these could be developed quickly with one Front Street option being to provide more accommodation for the library and public services on the ground floor with flats being built above.

The site is ideally located to accommodate older people who the Council identifies will generate by far the largest growth in housing demand over the next 20 years.

Nor does it appear keen to exploit the opportunities available to purchase additional Council houses on the open market – the quickest way of supplementing social housing stocks in the City.

The report proposes a complex partnership arrangement with the central government Homes and Communities Agency. It seems that the Council leadership see themselves as developers with the aspiration to provide a mixture of house prices and tenures on individual sites.

Doing so, without an agreed strategic plan in place, represents a high risk option.

Now The Retreat gets disappointing inspection report

Inspectors have criticised standards at York’s Retreat home which specialises in the care of people with mental health issues. The report may place further pressure on York’s mental health services following the sudden closure of the Bootham Park hospital 2 years ago,

The Retreat report – prepared by the Care Quality Commission – cites concerns about;

  • Medicine management
  • Poor staff development
  • Unnecessarily long stays for older people
  • Inadequate staffing levels
  • Incomplete risk assessments s
  • Poor dining arrangements.

The report does say that all areas were clean and tidy, that staff had good support from managers, patients and carers were involved, staff had a good knowledge of legislation and that proper safeguarding processes were mostly in place.

The Retreat York was established in 1796 and is an independent specialist mental health care provider for treatment of up to 98 people with complex mental health needs. The service is located on a forty-acre site on the outskirts of York City centre. The main building is Grade II listed with a range of their buildings situated in the grounds.

NB The Retreat at Strensall was rated as “good” by the CQC in a similar inspection