What’s on in York: Vote 100 – Celebrating the Centenary

Sat _17 Vote 100

York Explore Library :

Sat 17 Feb :

2.00pm – 3.30pm :

£6, or £5 with a YorkCard

Join suffrage historian Jill Liddington, who has researched the Votes for Women era, in this Vote 100 event!

Jill will look at the wide sweep of suffragists and suffragettes across Yorkshire, with a special focus on the city of York itself. She asks: what was special about York’s Votes for Women campaign? And what did win the vote for women over 30 in 1918? An opportunity not to be missed!

To book tickets please click here.

York Council – “We can’t tell you the facts because they might influence an election result”

Readers may recall an incident last year when the York Council refused Freedom of Information (FOI) requests in the run up to the General Election in June.They said the information might “influence how electors cast their ballots”.

They claimed, for example, that residents should not be told how many issues individual Councillors had raised with the Council on behalf of their constituents.

We pointed out that, as none of the Councillors were election candidates, this information couldn’t have influenced their chances.

It could be argued, in any event, that – as FOI requests can only be made for factual information – the more facts that are known, the more likely electors are to make an informed choice!

That issue is currently with the Parliamentary Ombudsman to investigate. That referral is on the basis that the Information Commissioner should have issued guidance to Local Authorities on what may, and what may not, be published.

Most Councils continue to respond to FOI requests during election (“purdah”) periods.

York is in a small minority that don’t.

Now a similar situation has arisen just 4 days before a Council by election takes place in the Holgate ward,.

The Council has refused to publish a list of businesses who have not paid their Rates bills during the last 3 years. This is information that used to be routinely reported to a public Council committee meeting. That committee might, on occasions, authorise some debts to be written off.

Quite why a list of businesses, with outstanding debts, could influence the way that the electors of Holgate will cast their ballot is open to conjecture.

It may make some people wonder if there something to hide? 

Time will tell.

Lincoln Court modernisation – decision on 15th March

Lincoln Court

We have reported previously that the decision to demolish Windsor House in Ascot Way would have a knock on effect on the adjacent Lincoln Court sheltered accommodation.  The heating boiler for both buildings is located within Windsor House.

It became clear last week that the council had allocated £60,000 in its budget to replace all the windows at Lincoln Court. A much needed improvement.

Now we understand that another report is to be presented to the Councils Executive committee on 15th March. The report will talk about remodelling the communal areas in the building and modernising/remodeling the apartments.

If approved, the new building would be dubbed “Sheltered Housing Plus”.

The Council says that  the users of the current community facilities will also be engaged in shaping the re-design and the development of the new facilities and services. The work would be undertaken as part of the Council’s “Older peoples programme”. This project has a poor reputation in the Westfield area officials having run roughshod over the views of those local residents who wanted to conserve the Lowfields playing fields.

The programme officials also threatening to fence off the open space on Chesney’s Field, causing more anger from locals.

The older persons programme is massively in delay with new elderly care facilities, promised for 2014, still not off the ground.

Hopefully any consultation will be more meaningful on this occasion.

Transport for the North invites York’s views on Strategic Transport Plan

Transport for the North has commenced a thirteen-week consultation on its Strategic Transport Plan for the North, inviting people’s views at an event being held in York next week.

Senior Transport for the North representatives will be visiting York as part of a dedicated session to outline the plan’s recommendations, advise on what this could mean for York and the surrounding area and invite questions and feedback that people may have.

The drop-in consultation is open to everyone and is an opportunity for members of the public to formally submit their feedback on the plan which will be analysed and fed into the final Strategic Transport Plan before its release later in the year.

Event schedule:

4pm – 5pm: Presentation from Transport for the North representative and Q+A

5pm – 6pm: Drop-in Q+A

6pm – 7pm: Presentation from Transport for the North representative and Q+A

The event will be held at National Railway Museum from 4pm – 7pm on Monday 12 February.

The thirty-year plan, which was released in draft on Tuesday 16 January, is the first of its kind and outlines how transport connections across the North of England need to be transformed by 2050 to drive growth and close the economic gap between the North and the rest of England.

Transport for the North’s public consultation runs until 17 April 2018 with similar engagement events taking place across the North. A final version of the plan will be published later in the year and submitted to the Government for ministerial consideration.

Find out more by visiting www.transportforthenorth.com.

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Dreamwell couple ordered to pay £917,287

A husband and wife from Leeds convicted of consumer protection offences against vulnerable people have been ordered to pay back £917,287 under the Proceeds of Crime Act following a hearing at Leeds Crown Court.

Claire Wray (aged 38) and Paul Wray (aged 51, both of Clayton Wood Close, Leeds) both received prison sentences in March 2017 following their convictions. They mis-sold mattresses, beds and mobility equipment to elderly consumers through their company Dreamwell Limited.

Claire Wray, the sole director of the company, received 12 months in prison after being found guilty of misleading, banned and aggressive commercial practices, and money laundering. She was also disqualified from being a company director for seven years. Her husband, Paul Wray, company secretary for Dreamwell Ltd, was sentenced to 28 months imprisonment for illegal commercial practices in July 2016 and was disqualified from being a company director for nine years.

Recorder Iqbal QC ordered that the proceeds of crime confiscation order is to be paid within 3 months or the Wrays would face a further 6 years imprisonment.  He also ordered that compensation totalling £20,757 was to be paid to the Wray’s victims from the confiscated monies.

The couple was arrested on 9 December 2014 following over 50 complaints which triggered an extensive operation over an 18-month period by the National Trading Standards Yorkshire & the Humber Regional Investigations Team, based at City of York Council and the North East Regional Asset Recovery Team based with West Yorkshire.
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What’s on in York: Lecture about Arnold Rowntree

York Civic Trust have some interesting events scheduled for March and on into the summer.

Not least, is a lecture on the life and work of Arnold Rowntree who was the Liberal MP for York during the time of the First World War.

The event is taking place at the Merchant Adventures Hall on Wednesday 14th March

For details on how to join the York Civic Trust please click this link

What’s on in York: Shadow Puppet theatre and craft with Hoglets Drama

Hoglets Drama

Acomb Explore Library :

Mon 12 Feb :

2.00pm – 2.30pm :

£2

Hoglets is theatre fun for small folk and we have Mama Hoglet coming to our libraries to perform a fun shadow puppet show.

You can also have a go at a craft yourself after the show.

This event is for ages 3-7 years.

Book early to avoid disappointment.

For each libraries telephone number or email to reserve a place please click here.

Little Green Lane garage area resurfaced

After many representations by residents, supported by local Councillors, the little Green Lane garage area forecourt and access road has been resurfaced.

The area now looks quite tidy, although it will be important to ensure that there is no more fly tipping and that undergrowth is cut back from the boundaries.

Good job done though.

Before access road

Before

after forecourt

After parking area

After access road