Front Street greengrocer fined and banned

Ordered to pay £9,600 for hygiene and waste offences

On 3 November 2017, York Magistrates Court found Gary Anderson (aged 54) of Northfield Lane, Riccall, guilty in his absence of a number of offences relating to food hygiene, environmental health and waste disposal at his shop on Front Street, Acomb.

These included not acting to prevent a rat infestation, presenting food not fit for human consumption, displaying an incorrect food hygiene rating and failing to dispose of waste correctly.

At the hearing on 3 November, a warrant was issued for his arrest and he was taken into custody yesterday (23 November 2017).

At Friday’s hearing, York Magistrates imposed £300 fines for each of four offences to which Anderson had pleaded guilty. The Magistrates also imposed £400 fines for each of eight offences which Anderson was found guilty of at trial. While recognising that Anderson had spent a day in custody, he was also ordered to pay a court surcharge of £170.

The Magistrates deemed the one day’s detention Anderson had spent in the court cells served for having missed the trial on 3 November. The fines totalled £4,4000.

A Hygiene Prohibition Order was also made preventing Anderson from participating in the management of any food business for an unlimited period.

The Magistrates told Anderson: “It is reasonable the public should not have to foot the costs of the investigation and order you pay the full prosecution costs.” These totalled £5,054.32.

The Magistrates added: “This is a very serious breach of the regulations, putting the public at risk. You were clearly given advice and chose to disregard it and continued doing so for many months”

The shop has since closed.

Advice on food hygiene is available at or by calling (01904) 551525. Please report incorrect waste disposal by calling (01904) 551551.

Gremlins breeding in Council IT department?

It is not only the Council planning portal that is suffering problems.

The much vaunted – but never quite delivering – “do it online” reporting system has broken down again.

As we reported earlier in the year, anyone trying to report issues such as full litter bins will find it difficult to upload a photo of the problem. The Council actually encourages residents to provide an image of the issue being reported (to provide clarity on location and timing).

The Council site currently rejects most images offered. In turn this prevents the issue being uploaded to the Council’s Customer Relationship Management system. It is a repetition of a problem which existed when the system was first launched (and which seemed to have been fixed about a year ago)

Officials at the Council promised a fix several weeks ago but the system is still not working. Litter bin locations are, however, now shown on the site but the image upload problem persists.

Quite why the  Council simply didn’t purchase “off the shelf” the well tried Fix my Street system when they had the chance five years ago remains a mystery.

“On line” reporting is by far the cheapest channel of communication with the Council. It is quicker and avoids unnecessary manual intervention. It should be the preferred method of contact for routine problems. 

The Council pointedly refuses to publish performance statistics on the time taken to deal with issues reported via Email to the Customer Centre (the obvious 24/7 alternative to “on line” reporting) . These are thought to be in excess of 3 days. That is simply not good enough if the alternative “on line” systems are faulty.

Rumours persist that the Councils reporting system, which was developed “in house”, has been subject to an ongoing intellectual property rights wrangle.This continues to hinder its development and roll out.


Planning applications – Gremlins on Council planning portal

It looks like last weekends update of the Council “planning portal” has gone badly wrong. The site should list all planning applications received (validated) by the Council during the preceding week.

Since the weekend (when the site was down for “maintenance”) the applications for the weeks commencing 13th and 20th November have disappeared. Some have reappeared on the current weeks list (27th Nov).

Taking the Westfield Ward as an example the site suggests that no applications have been “validated” since 7th November.

The issue is important because residents wishing to object (or support) particular planning applications have only a limited time to record their views. That time is being eroded.

The matter has been raised with senior Councillors and officials at the Council but the Authority has yet to make a statement about what has gone wrong and what is being done to remedy the failure.