York to lead the way in animal welfare policy

 

Senior councillors are being asked to formally adopt an animal welfare licensing policy.

This has been drawn up using guidance from the Institute of Environmental Health Officers, ahead of the new Regulations being issued by DEFRA relating to animal welfare licensing.

The policy relates to licenses being issued for activities relating to animal welfare. These are issued for establishments which board animals, breed dogs and offer horse riding. They are also issued for keeping dangerous wild animals, for pet shops and zoos. Animals to be trained and used for exhibition must also be registered with the council.

Besides licensing 34 animal boarding premises, York licenses eight pet shops, four riding schools and one dog breeder. The sole licensed zoo is for Askham Bryan College’s educational purposes and the council has registration for eight animals which can be exhibited.
The council inspects premises along with vets, to ensure standards are met.

Cattle return to strays – Council offers dog walkers advice

Take the lead and follow the countryside code on Strays

City of York Council is urging dog owners to take the lead and follow the countryside code when cattle are reintroduced onto Strays across York later this month.

The countryside code encourages everyone to respect other people and animals, protect the environment and enjoy the outdoors. This is particularly important when cattle are reintroduced onto the city’s strays for grazing to help manage the land.

Dog owners are being encouraged to be responsible around cattle. This includes keeping dogs on a lead when near cattle as they can spook them, picking up dog waste as this can spread disease and closing gates to ensure cattle don’t escape.

Grazing is a recognised form of managing grassland, including on nature reserves, throughout Britain.  Since 2010 Hob Moor, Bootham Stray, including the Clifton Backies nature reserve, and Walmgate Stray are in  Higher Level Stewardship agreements with Natural England.  The management prescriptions to which we have to comply for the sites include grazing and hay cutting to support the wildlife interest of open grassland, rather than be intensively managed or being left to scrub over.

For information on walking near livestock visit www.ramblers.org.uk/advice/safety/walking-near-livestock.aspx

(more…)

Carlton Tavern site still being promoted for elderly persons home use.

Interesting that the Council strategy for providing elderly persons care beds is still dependent on a 74 bed facility on the Carlton Tavern site.

The site was recently refused planning permission for an elderly persons care home by the Council’s own planning committee.

The revelation comes in a paper which considers how the  Morrell House home will be closed.

City of York care strategy report April 2018

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)

Castle/Piccadilly round 3

Economic impact assessment on City Centre economy missing

After a delay of 18 years, the Council are to make another attempt to get planning permission for a redevelopment of the Castle/Piccadilly area (Castle Gateway).

It is long overdue.

The City centre has changed a lot since the last planning application failed at a public Inquiry.

Two decades ago it seemed that the City centre economy would continue to depend on the retail sector to provide its main attraction. There were hopes that “anchor” large stores provided in the Piccadilly area would sustain the retail economy in the face of competition from out of town stores and the, then just emerging, trend to shop “on line”.

But that option has all but disappeared. Larger shops in the City centre are finding conditions difficult with the once premier destination – Coney Street – now containing several long term empty units.

The Council has therefore rightly published plans for the Castle area which do not relay principally on retail development.

Instead, yesterday, a much-leaked report majors on City centre living space, a possible Castle Museum extension and some independent shopping units.  There is no place for the hoped-for airspeed museum which could have occupied the ground floor of the 17/21 Piccadilly possibly as part of a restaurant use – a possible missed opportunity given the need to stimulate visits to the Elvington airfield museum.

The Castle car park will close with the design team saying that the resultant green space will provide an entertainment space for 365 days a year (revealing a touchingly optimistic view of climate change).

There may be a similar level of wishful thinking in proposing to build apartments and a £10 million multi story car park with 400 spaces on the flood plain on St Georges field, although the plans to allow public swimming in the Foss Basin may provide a prescient transport option for occupants when water levels are high.

The officers report says, “any funding gap in delivering the full ambition of the masterplan can be responded to through scaling back the proposals, identifying external funding sources, or the council providing capital funding through the budget setting process

The estimated total costs of the project – which are the costs of delivering the entire public realm, infrastructure, and the new MSCP – is £30m. The potential gross surplus income from the council owned residential and commercial development opportunities is £22.5m”.

So where next?

There are several good ideas in the Council’s published plan which deserve to be developed further. The first step should be to publish a candid impact statement indicating how other City centre businesses will be affected.

The number of public parking spaces available is crucial. The Castle car park is York’s best used despite the surface being badly rutted. It produces over £1.2 million in revenue for the Council. To this should be added an income stream from the Castle Mills car park (recently closed). The Piccadilly car park has been less well used since the advance space availability signs stopped working 4 years ago.

Adequate car parking capacity is vital for the retail economy and visitor attractions (which are open outside park and ride hours). People don’t expect to have to carry heavy luggage or shopping for long distances.  Walking distances are important. The proposed 4 story car park at St Georges field would be a 716 metre walk to the end of Parliament Street. By comparison the distance from Piccadilly is 95 metres, from the Castle car park is 275 metres and from Castle Mills 461 metres.

The is always a danger in publishing idealised artist impressions of new developments. They invariably portray a mature green environment on a sunny summers day. The reality on a wet, November evening may be markedly less attractive.

The Council must now do two things before it proceeds any further

  1. It must produce a realistic (best case/worst case) economic impact assessment &
  2. It must abandon any thought of being the developer for the commercial elements of the scheme. It has already been shown to be inept both at the Guildhall (project abandoned, £12 million of taxpayers money at risk) and the Monks Cross stadium development (public subsidy increased from zero in 2010 to at least £13 million today) Let the professionals get on with it.

Otherwise it is a worthy attempt to reconcile wildly differing opinions on a site which is crying out for redevelopment.

Layout plans

Sue Hunter calls for continued action on Front Street regeneration

Cllr Sue Hunter, Liberal Democrat councillor for Westfield, is calling on the Council to ensure progress is maintained on the regeneration of the Front Street area.

Cllr Hunter recently joined with Cllr Johnny Hayes, Chair of Indie York, for small independent businesses in the city, to discuss how Acomb can be regenerated.

According to data recently released by the Local Data Company, more empty shops in Acomb have now comeback into commercial use, underlining the economic importance and opportunity to reinvigorate the Front Street.

In response to these calls, the Council has acknowledged the need to continue with a clear programme of proposals and the work to identify such proposals is now underway. Some suggested proposals put forward Cllr Hunter include:

  • A campaign to promote Acomb as a place to do business in York
  • To continue with the successful Acomb Market and Christmas Festival
  • Physical improvements to the roads and footpaths in the area
  • Application for rate relief to businesses operating in Front Street

Cllr Sue Hunter, Liberal Democrat ward councillor for Westfield, said:

“As a local councillor and business owner in the area, I fully recognise the potential of the Front Street as a place to do business in York.”

“It is pleasing to know that the Council has recognised the need for a clear programme of proposals for Front Street but more can be done. I look forward to work commencing on this I strongly urge the Council to begin work on local economic improvements as soon as possible.”

“With the recent news that more empty shops are now being used in Acomb, the Council should move forward to capitalise on the opportunities the Front Street area holds.”

94.2 per cent of York children get a place at their first choice of primary school

Primary school admission figures for entry in September 2018 reveal that 94.2 per cent of York children having been given their first preference.

City of York Council’s figures show that 99.4 per cent of pupils got one of their first three preferences. The percentage of children achieving their first preference has increased by 1.3 per cent between 2017 and 2018.

The percentage of online applications for primary school places has continued to increase. Parents who applied online will be notified of their child’s place by email at 10am today (16 April), letters are being posted today to parents and those with online accounts can log in to the council’s parent portal at www.york.gov.uk/parentportal.

In 2018 all children within the local authority area have secured a primary school place. The majority of children got one of their first three preferences; with the number of children whose preferences were not able to be met being reduced from 25 in 2017 to11 in 2018.

A detailed school by school analysis can be found by clicking here

Fracking – move to increase protection for York agreed

Planning Inspectorate accepts principle of planning zone

 

The North Yorkshire authorities have welcomed the Planning Inspector’s indicative response to key policies relating to fracking in the region.

The Inspector, Elizabeth Ord, was considering evidence for proposals from the ‘Joint Authorities’ (City of York Council, North Yorkshire County Council and North Yorks Moors National Park Authority) during the public examination of the joint minerals and waste plan for the region.

The Joint Authorities had been asked to provide additional evidence to support policies which cover:

· A separation distance of 500m between above-surface fracking proposals and anyone’s home. Any proposals for such development within 500m would only be permitted where it is robustly evidenced that there would be no unacceptable impacts.

· Legal protection for parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty, scheduled monuments, registered battlefield, listed historic parks and gardens, and the historic setting of York. This would exclude a number of areas around the city from fracking. These include the strays, river corridors, green areas and village and rural settings.

Following today’s evidence, the Inspector is satisfied with the policy relating to areas of beauty, parks and the setting of York. The Inspector has also indicated that she is satisfied with the Joint Authorities’ position regarding protecting certain areas from fracking to protect the special characteristics and heritage of York and with regard to the 500m zone, she has indicated she is provisionally satisfied that this is sound, but has indicated she will give further consideration to representations on this point from the UK gas and oil industry who have objected to this restriction in strong terms.

The Inspector’s indicative view is encouraging and a step towards achieving a heightened level of policy protection from fracking, for the special characteristics of this part of the Yorkshire landscape, the heritage of York and the residents within the plan area. (more…)

Police seek help following Cornlands Road assault

North Yorkshire Police is appealing for witnesses and information about an assault that occurred on Cornlands Road in York.

It happened at 10.30am on Thursday 12 April 2018  when the victim, a 32-year-old local woman, was stood at the bus stop.

She was approached by a man on a bicycle who told her to give him a cigarette. He grabbed her by the right forearm and told her to give him her mobile phone.

The First York number 4 bus then arrived and the victim got on. She was uninjured and did not lose any of her property during the incident.

At this time no arrests have been made.

We are requesting the public’s assistance to help establish the full circumstances surrounding the incident.

In particular, we are appealing for information about the identity of the male suspect.

He is described as white, approximately 5ft 6in tall, dark-brown shaggy hair with a bit of a fringe which didn’t reach his eyebrows, skinny build, a gaunt face which shows his cheekbones, dark eyebrows and brown staining on his teeth as if he was a heavy smoker.

He was wearing a white Superdry jacket with blue jeans which had a rip in them, which the victim thinks was on the left knee, and  brown leather-style shoes. He spoke with a local York accent and he was riding a black battered mountain bike.

Anyone with information that could assist the investigation should contact North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 2, and ask for Andrew Copeland. You can also email Andrew.Copeland@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk

If you wish to remain anonymous, you can pass information to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Please quote the North Yorkshire Police reference number 12180061935.

Contact details:
Leon Dryden – #0090
Andrew.Copeland@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk | 30090
Incident reference:
12180061935