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Disabled centre building work progresess

Building work on the new Centre for the Disabled on Ascot Way seems to be progressing more quickly now. Cladding has been added to the building frontage. The adjacent Lincoln Court sheltered accommodation also now sports a new entrance lobby.

Work can’t be completed sooner enough for the neighbours. As well as disruptions cause by deliveries the bus shelter has been out of action while the nearby public noticeboard was damaged during building works. Both need to be renewed when the project is completed.

Cladding fixed to new Disable centre

Elsewhere inevitable problems with bushes obstructing paths have been exacerbated by recent weather conditions

Access to Dickson Park impeded
Bush obstructing Bellhouse Way path. Has been reported by Cllr Andrew Waller
Residents are campaigning to have a life belt and “deep end” signs provided at the (privately maintained) car park to the rear of the Woodthorpe shops

Ascot Way disabled centre to open “in October”

Disabled centre on Ascot Way

The Council has changed its forecast completion date for the Centre of Excellence for Disabled Children which is currently being built on Ascot Way. They originally forecast an (unlikely) opening date of June. They have now revised this to October.

The Council says that the facility “will provide short breaks for young people with disabilities in a purpose built facility and also expand the service support offer in the community and assist in reducing the need for out of authority placements by providing much more flexible provision in the city

Lincoln Court

Work on upgrading the adjacent Lincoln Court sheltered accommodation units had stalled during the Coronavirus lock-down. No opening date has been given for reoccupation of the building although this may be influenced by the continuing work on the adjacent site. The refurbishment involves the creation of 15 new fully wheelchair accessible properties and 20 fully refurbished apartments.

We are still waiting to hear when work on the replacement for the all weather play area (MUGA) will start!

Cost of Ascot Way disabled centre soars by 37%

Council blames the “complexity” of the selected design for the increase.

A Council report published today reveals that the cost of the Centre of Excellence for Disabled Children will increase from the originally budgeted figure of £4.3 million (January 2018) to an estimated £5.9 million.

Demolition works have started at Windsor House

This comes after the Council, In April 2018, had agreed to increase the proportion of the costs which would be funded by borrowing

£1.1 million of the increased costs will come from a Health service grant with the rest being transferred from the education budget.

It appears that some features  of the building are being “value engineered” out of the design.

The centre is being built on the site of the Windsor House elderly persons home. The neighbouring Lincoln Court independent living building is also being modernised and extended at the same time.

While both projects have been welcomed, concerns have been expressed about traffic congestion and parking issues in the area.

The impact of the developments on open space and sports facilities in the neighbourhood have also been criticised.

Details of the new budget allocations are being kept secret by the Council. It is unclear what promised features in the building may now be omitted.

The meeting to consider the budget increase is taking place on 18th June.

Plan for disabled centre in Ascot Way faces £350,000 financial hurdle

A report being presented to a Council meeting next week says that the cost to taxpayers of developing a Centre of Excellence for Disabled Children and their families in Ascot Way will be more than expected.

An additional £350,000 will have to be borrowed to finance the £4.3 million project.

This is mainly the result of a lower than expected valuation of The Glen Short Breaks centre which is to be sold to help pay for the new development.

When originally suggested, the expectation was that the Glen site would be sold for £1,250,000. It is this figure that has reduced and produced the funding shortfall.

Annual repayments (principal plus interest) on the borrowing are expected to be around £195,000 a year.

The news comes a day before an open meeting to discuss the project is being held at Windsor House (see below)

Plans for Centre of Excellence for Disabled Children revealed.

Ascot Way proposals generally welcomed

The plans to establish a new centre for disabled children on the former Windsor House site on Ascot Way were generally welcomed at a public meeting held on Monday. The plans will now be discussed at a Council Executive meeting next week

The Council says that the new building will be the setting for a range of support services which will enable disabled children to remain in their families and in their community, delivered from a safe, accessible space

  • Flexible short break provision to meet the needs of children and young people with Autism, Learning Disabilities and/or additional health needs.
  • Family Intervention Rapid Support Team (FIRST) and Therapeutic Short Breaks a specialist Clinical Psychology led intensive assessment and intervention service for families with children and young people who have Autism and Learning Disability and challenging behaviour which affects their ability to live in the local community

The facility will be linked to Hob Moor Oaks special school. Disabled children will be able to walk to the new provision after school, instead of being transported across the city on minibuses. Part of the playing field of the school will be used for the project.

The buildig will replace the facilities currently provided at The Glen.

The scheme is imaginative and worthy of support. However, the proposal to retain the front entrance (and therefore vehicular access) via Ascot Way is controversial. There are already congestion and parking problems in the area. An access, with car parking,  via Hob Moor school would address this issue, while offering the opportunity to provide better accessibility for Lincoln Court.

The detailed plans also suggest that an outdoor play area be provided adjacent to Lincoln Court. While many older people like to feel involved in the local community, inevitably playgrounds can be noisy places. We think that the location of this part of the facility should be reconsidered.

Residents will hope that any building work on the project will not take place at the same time as the threatened development of the Newbury Avenue garage site.

Illustrations of what is proposed are reproduced below

City centre footstreet hours to be extended. Disabled parking to be reduced.

The Council has announced that it plans to make changes to the central area access arrangements.

These include:

• Standardising and extending the footstreet hours of operation to 10.30am to 5pm, 7 days a week ,

• Controlling vehicle use of Davygate (prohibiting all vehicles from using Davygate during the footstreet hours of operation including those with blue and green parking badges).

• amending the existing one way operation around St Sampson’s Square

• Further limiting the access in to the central area via the Nessgate / Spurriergate junction (24 hour vehicle ban)

Details of the proposals can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/York-centre-access-plan-Nov-12

Details of residents responses to a survey on the future of the City Centre are shown in the report. They indicate a very low response rate.

Decisions on the proposals will be taken by a Labour Councillor at a meeting next Monday.

Council asks disabled residents for feedback on foot-streets extension

City of York Council is asking disabled people across York to let them know how city centre changes made in response to coronavirus have affected accessibility.

a map of York City Centre showing the locations of the city's pedestrianised areas and parking for blue badge holders

In June 2020 the council executive agreed to emergency measures to expand the number of pedestrianised ‘footstreets’, which now run for an extra three hours until 8pm, to allow more space for social distancing and for cafes and restaurants to take advantage of pavement trading.

“The actions are designed to support the council’s Economic Recovery – Transport and Place One Year Strategy, adopted by the Executive on 24 June 2020. This aims to build resident, visitor and stakeholder confidence that York is a safe, healthy and attractive place for everyone”.

Replacement blue badge parking has been added at different locations around the edges of the city centre, with more added this week*. A free taxi service – set to continue until at least 20 September – has been available between Monk Bar car park and St Andrewgate.

Most of the spaces reserved for the disabled at Monk Bar car park have not been used

The council want to hear from all disabled people in York, whether they use a blue badge or not, and any other residents who feel the footstreets extension has affected their ability to access the city centre.

The council wants to hear from disabled people, blue badge holders, carers and anyone else who feels the footstreets changes have affected the ease with which they can access the city centre.

The results of the engagement will:
1.    Provide ways to improve the existing alternative access arrangements
2.    Give the council’s Executive a full understanding of the impact of the footstreets extension and provide options to increase accessibility to the city centre if the extension continues.

With public gatherings difficult during the current restrictions, the council is using a survey approach – available online and hard copy – as well as talking to disabled groups across the city to reach their members.

The council is also scheduling an online workshop in Mid-September to explore the challenges.

You can join the conversation in a number of ways. You can fill in a survey by Monday 28 September at www.york.gov.uk/OBCAccess, A hard copy of the survey along with a freepost return address will also be included in the September edition of the council’s Our City publication, distributed to York households from 7 September.
If you are interested in taking part in an online workshop to explore the challenges around accessibility and footstreets and ideas please email OurBigConversation@york.gov.uk .

The changes

Major changes to pedestrian hours in York City centre

No consultation prior to “behind closed doors” decision

Pedestrian hours in York City centre will be extended from 10:30am to 8:00pm, 7 days a week. Currently they end at 4:00pm each day.

The scheme will extend to include Fossgate and Goodramgate.

Cyclists will be able to slalom through some of the affected streets.

The Council leadership claims the move is aimed at helping “traders” and says cafes and pubs will be able to “set up tables on the public highway more easily”. The change was agreed yesterday only hours after alcohol fuelled disorder returned to City centre streets.

Disabled people will be badly affected. They can no longer access the City centre streets and have so far snubbed the additional parking spaces – and free taxi service – set up at the Monk Bar car park

The Council have also failed to address the confusion over their “free parking” offer which applies to some car parks in July and August. It got off to a confused start at the weekend.

The Council says that the following public toilets are now offering a contactless payment option and will be open until 10pm

  • St George’s Field
  • Coppergate Shopping Centre –
  • Exhibition Square
  • Silver Street (contactless from next week)

There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that the Councils recent transport and other decisions reflect the wishes of either the majority of residents or of the business community. Not surprisingly out of town shopping centres seem to be recovering much more quickly from the lock-down recession, leaving the city centre vulnerable to fanciful and ill considered social engineering experiments.

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New pedestrian rules imposed by Junta

What is increasingly intolerable is the failure of the Councils democratic systems. There is no reason why notice of this proposal could not have been published in advance with a decision subsequently taken at a publicly accessible meeting.

Instead it exploited an emergency delegation scheme which was intended to take the City through the worst phase of the lock-down.

The Council own “scrutiny” system has also once again been found wanting with meetings, which took place yesterday, failing to effectively challenge the decisions of the secretive “junta” which now dictates to York residents.

Changes to pedestrian hours may well be something that York people would want to trial. This option could have been included on a list as part of the Councils so called “big conversation” survey.

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It wasn’t, so we don’t know peoples views.

However, given the failures of the last few weeks, they will not forgive quickly those who chose to impose their views in such a discourteous and arbitrary way.

Hob Moor youngsters leave lasting mark on Centre of Excellence on Ascot Way

Children from York have left a lasting mark on an innovative new building.

Work progressing on Ascot Way centre

The Centre for Excellence will provide disabled children, young people and their families with community and overnight short breaks along with support from a wide range of professionals including clinical psychologists.

Children from the adjacent Hob Moor Primary Academy and Hob Moor Oaks school were asked to help with the construction by laying the first bricks and signing their names on the steel which forms the structure of the building.

The scheme – one of the first of its kind in the country – is a partnership between City of York Council and NHS England. It will enable many children and young people with complex needs to access the help and support they and their families need in York.

The brick laying and steel-signing marks a key stage of the project, which should be completed by summer 2020.

The project is being delivered by Sewell Construction.

Philippa Hughes, Housing Lead for the NHS Learning Disability and Autism Programme in Yorkshire and Humber, said: “The NHS is delighted to support this much needed development in the city of York. It’s heartening to see so many school children contributing to a build which will allow so many of their peers to live full and meaningful lives in their communities.”

Martin Standley, Sewell Construction Project Manager, said: “We feel it’s really important for the children to have as much insight as possible into what’s happening close to their school. This helps feed their curiosity but also helps them understand why it’s so important to stay safe near a building site. 

“Building the Centre of Excellence and redeveloping Lincoln Court is a real honour for Sewell Construction so we knew that the children would be just as proud to get involved and make their mark on the site.”

Richard Ludlow, chief executive of Ebor Academy Trust, which operates the Hob Moor academies, said: “We are fully supportive of City of York Council’s forward thinking plans for this Centre of Excellence and I’m pleased they have allowed our children to be a part of it. True partnership working is always at the heart of successful collaborative ventures.”

Councillor Ian Cuthbertson, City of York Council’s Executive Member for Children, Young People and Education, said: “The Centre of Excellence is a landmark building for York, providing a base where children and young people with complex needs and disabilities can receive help and support from a wide range of professionals within the city.

“I’m delighted that local school children have had the chance to put their mark on the building and to be involved at this point in the construction.”

Proposals for disabled parking on Piccadilly published

City of York Council has published proposed changes which would introduce new disabled parking to Piccadilly.

​​​​​​The changes were approved by the council’s Executive earlier this year following extensive consultation over the impact of new counter-terrorism measures to protect people using the city centre.

Three traffic regulation orders have been published, proposing:

1) Converting the current pay and display section between Lloyds Bank and Brighthouse into:

Blue Badge parking between 11am and 6am (overnight)
Loading bay from 6am to 11am
2) Converting the existing taxi rank on the opposite side of the road to:

Blue badge parking 11am to 6pm
Taxi rank 6pm to 6am (overnight)
Loading bay 6am to 11am
A third order allows any vehicle displaying a valid disabled person’s badge to access Piccadilly beyond the Merchangate junction – a practicality so that blue badge holders are actually able to access the new parking spaces.

These should create room for up to seven vehicles displaying valid badges to park between 11am and 6am, and another two from 11am to 6pm on the taxi rank side of the road. 

The cycle parking on Piccadilly remains unchanged.

The proposals and the reasons behind them can be inspected at Reception, West Offices, Station Rise, York, during normal business hours. 

Objections or other representations specifying reasons for the objection or representation should be sent in writing to arrive no later than 27 December 2019.

Director of Economy and Place
Network Management, West Offices, Station Rise, York, YO1 6GA
Email: highway.regulation@york.gov.uk
If objections are received, the proposals will be considered at a decision session for the Executive Member for Transport in early 2020.

You can view Executive’s original decision here while the consultation results and proposed mitigation measures are contained within Annex B.

NB. The future of the Airspeed site when the Spark container village leaves next summer has yet to be decided. It has been suggested that it could also be used for disabled car parking.