York Local Plan Inquiry goes ahead

Following notification of the General Election to be held on 12 December 2019 the Planning Inspectorate has issued guidance stating that Local Plan examinations should proceed as planned. 

There had been speculation that the examination would be suspended until after 12th December.

The hearings into the City of York Local Plan will therefore commence at 10.00 am on Tuesday 10 December 2019, as previously notified

Phase 1 of hearings of the City of York Local Plan will commence at 10.00am on Tuesday 10 December 2019 in the Gimcrack Room at York Racecourse at Knavesmire Road, York YO23 1EX.

Further details can be found via this link.

Balfour Street tree felled

The tree that was damaging railings and the footpath on Balfour Street has finally been felled. The Council have also removed accumulated leaf fall. The path is now much safer.

The opened up area to the rear has revealed locations where at least two additional trees could be planted.

The work followed complaints to executive Councillors. The self seeded tree had been reported 2 years ago. It caused considerable damage to the railings and footpath in the interim. It is likely to be some time before the tree stump rots away and allows permanent remedial work to be undertaken on the railings and footpath.

Rebid bid by BID

The York Council will today decide whether to support the continuation of he York Business Improvement District (BID)

The BID has operated in the York City Centre for the last 4 years. It is due to come to an end in 20121 unless businesses operating in the City centre choose to renew its mandate.

A Council report says that £4 million will have been invested by the BID over the 5 year life of its contract.

Decisions on the allocation of this investment are taken by the established business-led BID Board and focus on areas such as improving the cleanliness of the City Centre, tackling anti-social behaviour and providing business and procurement support for City Centre businesses.

Many independent observers rate the BID as a success but recognise that it has to be paid for through a supplementary business rates levy whihc may not be popular with everyone.

Achievements listed by the BID include: 

  • The BID funded Street Rangers have engaged with businesses over 15,300 times, recovered £24,000 of stolen stock, provided first aid on 206 occasions and deterred 1,544 cases of anti-social behaviour
  • Christmas lights switch on and Winter lights – the BID have dressed the City and Bar Wall entrances in over 16 kilometres of lights, and such is the success of the switch on that plans are underway to move the event to a larger area to accommodate the growing crowds expected to attend in 2019
  • In 2018/19, the BID deep cleaned over 41,500 m2 of the City Centre and responded to 173 call outs from businesses. The team is also pivotal in removing used syringes and large quantities of biowaste from the streets and surrounding areas.

A decision to hold a renewal ballot is expected to be taken later today

York Industrial Strategy

A report being considered today says that “York’s compact size, competing demand for site/land uses and the historic nature of the city’s traditional core means that green- and brownfield opportunities for commercial development are limited.

Nevertheless, major regeneration opportunities such as York Central and The Guildhall, as well as the Hudson Quarter development, offer sizeable growth opportunities for York’s economy”.

The comment is in response to what the government describes as “local industrial strategy”.

The report goes on to identify the strengths of he York economy

York’s economy is diverse and rapidly growing with the city witnessing the fastest productivity growth of any area in the region since 2012. The York Council has identified five key growth sectors based on existing strengths and assets. These are:

  • Rail engineering and technology;
  • Digital and ICT;
  • Financial and professional services;
  • University-led innovation and training; and,
  • Bio-tech (particularly at start-up phase).

“it is important that these sector strengths are supported to prosper, as well as the city’s lower-paid, high volume industries (retail, hospitality, tourism and health and social care)”

The York and North Yorkshire strategy is summarised as inclusive growth, the use of digital technology to transform York and North Yorkshire into a ‘Smart region’.

The Leeds City Region – which includes York – priorities are:

Supporting businesses to meet the challenges of the future economy and create good quality jobs, to support progression and promote inclusivity;

  • Accelerating economic growth across the City Region through technology and innovation;
  • Building on the successes of our globally important healthcare sector as a source of good jobs and growth;
  • Making sure our environment promotes healthy, active lifestyles and is fit for future generations to enjoy; and,
  • Skilled people, in good jobs, with access to training to help build and sustain their careers

The “strategy” is due to be discussed at a meeting being held in York later today

Latest planning application for the Westfield Ward

 Below are the latest planning application received by the York Council for the Westfield ward. 

Full details can be found by clicking the application reference 

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88 Wetherby Road Acomb York YO26 5BY

Proposal              Erection of detached outbuilding to rear to form part store/home gym

Reference           19/02311/FUL

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Representations can be made in favour of, or in objection to, any application via the Planning on line web site.  http://planningaccess.york.gov.uk/online-applications/

NB. The Council now no longer routinely consults neighbours by letter when an application is received

Gale Lane – partial closure this week. Number 4 bus service affected

Monday 18th – Friday 22nd November

Gale Lane (St Stephens Road to Cornlands Road) closed between the hours of 09:15 – 17:00 for carriageway maintenance works.

Service 4 – The service will operate to southern end of Green Lane, turn around roundabout and return through Acomb via Green Lane, Front Street, Gale Lane, resuming normal route at Cornlands Road.

Stops not served: both stops on Tudor Road.

The number 24 bus service will also be re-routed.

Community “Hubs” set to expand in York

The Foxwood Community Hub is popular

Councillors will consider next week a report outlining the achievements of several “community hubs” that were established in the City in 2017.

The hubs are located at Sanderson Court Community House, Foxwood Community Centre, Red Tower and Tang Hall Community Centre. There were similar initiatives in Clifton and Bell Farm.

More recently the Westfield school has announced it is opening a Hub and similar ventures have been promoted by JRHT and local churches.

The aim of the Hubs was primarily to promote financial inclusion. The project also delivered job fairs, volunteer development programmes and training and support for residents.

The project claims that the numbers attending a Hub are in the order of 200 a week. It is known that some residents attend more than one Hub. The Hubs are mainly serviced by, hardworking, volunteers.

The project claims to have served 9,000 meals, shared 5,460kg of food from supermarkets and redistributed up to 6 crates of apples and pears a week made available through “Abundance York”.

The CAB says it has directed 200 clients to an additional £210,000 worth of benefits.

The report sets out a bewildering proposal for “accreditation” for new centres. It seems to be a bureaucratic approach to an issue which requires flexibility. We doubt that this part of the plan will be welcomed by many of the volunteers.

The Council could also usefully provide a list of Hubs – with opening hours and facilities available – on their web site. Better use of social media to promote the initiative would be welcomed by many.

The report doesn’t give many clues as to what proportion of the target group has participated. It also singularly fails to mention that the City’s poorest area (Windsor Garth) has no Hub although there is a school building nearby.

Nevertheless, in a modest way – and particularly by providing a safety net for those suffering food poverty – the Hubs have proved to be a success and deserve continuing Council support.

Ironically the amount being spent on the Hubs is still less in total than was routinely provided to support Community Centres prior to the Labour Councils grant cuts introduced 8 years ago.