Time to minimise calls on Council staff time

Although we will continue to report routine issues with local public services over the next few weeks, we don’t expect some to have any priority for the use of resources if the CV virus debilitates the Councils workforce.

Clearly the most important services are those that maintain the safety of the local community.

We’d like to see the Council appoint local coordinators so that the vulnerable have someone to turn to. We recognise that valuable resources like the local “hubs” will have to close but they need to be replaced with technology based alternatives. We look forward to hearing more about the Council’s plans

The Friday Hub at the Foxwood Community Centre has already been suspended.

Local residents groups and Councillors are actively supporting residents.

Hopefully those who are responsible for the graffiti that blights the neighbourhood, those who drop litter and those who allow their dogs to foul footpaths will now change their ways.

NB. The Great British Spring Clean – which relied on volunteer litter pickers – has been postponed until the Autumn.

Credit Union confirms that its Acomb branch has closed permanently

UPDATE: The Social First Credit Union is still accepting applications for new memberships. Call 03030 300010

The Acomb branch of the Community First Credit Union was closed late last year. The property on York Road is now on the market.

Property available to lease on York Road

The Union says that it still provide a basic service in the City each week. The published opening hours (which may change during the current health crisis) are:

  • Bell Farm Social Hall every Tuesday from 9am until 1pm and then 1:45pm until 4pm.
  • York West Council Offices every Thursday from 9am until 1pm and then 1:45pm until 4pm.
  • Westfield Children’s Centre every Friday 9am until 12 noon.

Members can call the Union on 03030300010 when they believe they would like to visit and will confirm if the member of staff will be at these properties.

Formerly known as the South Yorkshire Credit Union, the organisation expanded into York when the York and North Yorkshire Credit Union folded in 2012. At that time there were considerable losses for the local authorities involved.

A few years later, the arrival of the SY Credit Union, at premises in what is the poorest part of the City, was generally welcomed.

The York Council has made no statement about the reduced access arrangements although support services like these are likely to be particularly valued during the present health crisis.

York Council management restructuring plans revealed

Hard on the heels of the retirement of the Chief Executive, the York Council has revealed how it hopes to recoup the costs of the early retirement exercise.

The post of Director of Finance and Investment will be deleted. This was the post traditionally styled as the City Treasurer. More junior staff will absorb this work.

The present Director has been acting as Chief Executive for over 9 months now and he will continue in that role.

More consultation with stakeholders is promised before any new structure is implemented.

The restructuring will save about £86,000 a year in salary costs

Details of the plans can be found by clicking here

Pothole issue to be raised with responsible Councillor

So many pothole reports from both Councillors and residents are being fobbed off by Council officials, that the issue is going to be raised at transport chief Cllr Andy D’Agorne’s meeting on Thursday.

All complainants receive these days is a message saying

“The current status of your report is: closed –  the problem has been inspected and no follow up work is required”

In the past – even if a pothole report didn’t meet what were termed “intervention levels” – an explanation of why work would not be carried out was given. That practice seems to have ceased.

As most on line reports include a photograph, there is clearly a risk and one that is likely to continue to deteriorate.

NB. We have reported again leaf detritus which has been in some of the gutter in little Green Lane since the autumn

Haxby Library move to Oaken Grove community centre

City of York Council and Explore York Libraries and Archives have today announced a new temporary solution for Haxby and Wigginton library.

Exciting new plans have been agreed with Oaken Grove Trustees for the library service to be located there by summer. The current Haxby & Wigginton mobile service will stop once the new offer starts at Oaken Grove Community Centre.

The council is still committed to providing a new permanent library for residents which is bigger and better than the previous Haxby Library, is located with a partner organisation, and meets both residents’ expectations and Explore’s vision for a modern library service.

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York Council Chief Executive’s retirement confirmed

Cost of pension contributions will be just over £400,000

Following the early retirement of Ms Mary Weastell, Cllr Keith Aspden, Leader of the Council commented:

Council statement

“Ms Weastell’s early retirement has given the City of York Council the opportunity to consider a restructure of the Council’s corporate management team. As part of this, we have been able to identify ways to save money through efficiencies and these proposals will ensure that costs can be met through existing budgets with no additional impact for the taxpayer.

“This will also ensure our senior team focus on the areas that are important to the city and that a consultation is able to be brought forward swiftly. Our ambitious council plan requires significant investment, and to achieve this it is right that we review the best way of delivering for the city to make the most of our available resources.”

Debbie Mitchell, Head of Finance, confirmed:

“As an open and transparent council, we want to share how much Ms Weastell has received as part of her early retirement.  There are strict rules in place that govern payments due to individuals and, in line with these statutory requirements; the council has incurred costs of c £404k.  The majority of this sum around £330k is statutory payments and pension strain costs to the authority that have to be paid. 

“The Council will commence consultation to make at least £81k of savings per annum with a paper published today to the Staffing Matters and Urgency Committee to begin that process.  Full details will be presented in the annual accounts as usual.”

Corona (COVID-19) update – effect on west York

The government has relaxed delivery restrictions on supermarkets. Click link. It means that deliveries can be made at any time of the day or night. Most local stores have their own delivery yards but neighbours of, for example, Morrisons on Green Lane may see lorries serving the store later at night.

Local residents associations have suggested that lists of local shops and takeaways who can deliver to these self isolating should be drawn up. They want to see a local neighbourhood coordinator appointed by the Council.

In the meantime they’re offering to publicise any local business that will accept remote orders (phone/email/online), pay electronically, and deliver to a doorstep. (Email Foxwoodra@btinternet.com)

Elsewhere community networks are getting established to deal with any escalation in the numbers confined to their own homes. The Leeds Council are, for example, taking steps to provide community support to safe and professional standards.  click

Volunteer groups like #ViralKindness are also springing up.

Sensible advice on “social distancing”

No photo description available.

We hope that the government thinks long and hard before asking older people to self isolate (unless the have CV symptoms of course)

Previous health advice has been to undertake at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day.

Not everyone has a treadmill in the garage. Long walks and cycle rides in the countryside, avoiding social contact, should be OK.

The York Council needs to be ready to get a neighbourhood support system ready for implementation when/if needed.