How to contact your Liberal Democrat European Parliament members

It is likely to be several weeks before new MEP Rebecca Taylor has set up a new local office.

In the meantime residents are reminded that they can contact our other MEP Edward McMillan-Scott.

He can be Emailed on edward.mcmillan-scott@europarl.europa.eu.

Web Site http://www.emcmillanscott.com/index.html

Office admin telephone number 07730 682677

Nick Clegg and Edward McMillan-Scott

Bad news for children and elderly as Labour cut ward budgets

As the Council budget crisis deepens, Councillors are set to scrap a series of Ward Committee funded repair and renewal schemes across the City. As much as 32% of this years (11/12) ward committee budget could be slashed with further cuts expected during the next 12 months.

We understand that in Westfield the provision made for the repair and improvement of children’s play facilities has been scrapped, together with funding for older persons activities and the renewal of street signs. This comes on top of the previous decision to stop community ranger security patrols.

In total £11,500 is being cut from the £40,000 budget.

Across the City nearly £168,000 is being axed, with one ward apparently facing an 80% reduction.

The panic move comes after newly elected Labour Councillors failed in the summer to get to grips with escalating wage costs particularly in the care services. Over £20,000 is now being spent each year on a newly created “community safety” cabinet post allocated to a Labour Councillor. £38,000 extra is being spent funding Trades Union shop steward posts.

Hopes for playground improvements dashed

New fitness class launching for people who have a mental illness

City of York Council is launching a new fitness class for people who have a mental illness.

Classes start this Thursday and will take place every week from 12noon to 1pm at York St John University Sports Hall.

The Wellbeing Circuits Classes are aimed at encouraging people to take regular exercise to help them cope better with their illness.

They are the latest addition to the council’s expanding HEAL (Health, Exercise, Activity and Lifestyle) programme which helps people who have medical conditions to exercise.

Exercise may help combat depression and make you feel happier, boost self-esteem, help you concentrate, sleep as well as enable you to look and feel better.

The Wellbeing Classes are designed to be fun and friendly in a supportive environment, giving people the chance to feel better and meet with those who have had similar experiences.

Katie Ellis, Exercise Pathways Officer at city of York Council, said: “Exercise can be a small change that could help make a big difference to your health. It’s important to try and keep active, no matter how hard that can feel in difficult times”.

Classes cost just £3 per session and those interested can simply turn up and take part.

For more information, members of the public can contact Katie Ellis on 01904 553377 or e-mail Katie.ellis@york.gov.uk or visit www.york.gov.uk/heal

£50,000 boost for Acomb Green

We understand that the Friends of Acomb Green have secured a lottery grant of £50,000 which will be used to improve play facilities.

Members of the public are being asked for their views on the designs for the playground which is due to be completed by summer.

The funds will also go towards installing benches on the rest of the Green later this month.

The Friends and Council are conducting a tendering process and expect to choose a playground design with help from the local community by February 20. Members of the public are invited to view the designs and provide feedback at the Acomb Explore Library from February 7 to 19.

They can also email friendsofacombgreen@yahoo.co.uk

2 fined for dog fouling offences

A report to the Council next week reveals that several prosecutions took place between 1st July and 30th September. The results included:
• 2 x £50.00 fixed penalty notices were issued under the Dogs (Fouling of Land) Act 1996 for allowing a dog to foul and failing to remove the faeces.
• A further prosecution took place against an owner who failed to keep his dog under proper control (costs £704.07)
• One popular City centre bar and restaurant was prosecuted for falsely describing the strength of spirit drinks (Costs £2575.58) A further 5 cautions were issued to 3 other businesses for similar offences.
• 4 people were given £50 fixed penalty notices for smoking in a prohibited area
• A taxi driver was fined £225 and given 8 penalty points for driving without the required insurance
• One woman was fined £300 and had to forfeit amplification equipment for breeching a noise abatement order

Safety (speed) camera locations for the forthcoming week

North Yorkshire Police will be carrying out mobile safety camera enforcement on the following roads between Wednesday 1 February 2012 and Tuesday 7 February 2012.

•A64 Seamer by-pass Scarborough
•B1249 Staxton Wold, Staxton, Scarborough
•B1249 Foxholes to county boundary
•A1039 Filey Road at Flixton
•A165 Reighton by-pass
•A64 Seamer Road, Scarborough
•A64 east-bound carriageway, Bowbridge Farm Tadcaster
•A64 west-bound carriageway, Bowbridge Farm, Tadcaster
•A1237 Monks Cross, York
•The Village, Stockton-on-the-Forest, York
•A1036 Malton Road, York
•A1237 Monks Cross, York
•York Road, Haxby, York
•Broadway, Fulford, York
•Murton Way, Muton, York
•Fordlands Road, Fulford, York
•A1237 Monks Cross, York
•B1222 Naburn lane, York
•B1228 Main Street, Elvington, York
•B1228 Dunnington Lodge, Elvington, York

The mobile safety cameras will be in operation at the above sites at various times during the dates stated. Cameras will not be in use on the above routes all day, every day.

Outstanding planning applications in the Westfield Ward

click to enlarge

There are currently 11 local planning applications awaiting a decision by the Council.

Some are routine household applications.

Those that have been outstanding for the longest (since October) are the proposals to develop a site in The Green and the (much delayed) additional parking area to serve St Stephens Road.

Recent applications include proposals to convert a shop on Beaconsfield Street into a flat, an extension to the “Energise” sports centre on Cornlands Road, a change of use – from retail to hot food take away – at 53A Front Street and the provision of a child care nursery in part of a house in Mapelwood Paddock.

Copies of the planning applications can be viewed on the Councils web site at http://planningaccess.york.gov.uk/online-applications/

Dog fouling problems on the increase

Complaints about dog fouling in the area are on the increase again. Residents in Milner Street and Askham Lane are amongst those who have reported problems over the last week.

More surveillance by dog wardens has been requested.

Dog owners who allow their pets to foul a public place, and who do not clean up after them, face an “on the spot” fine of £50.

If you witness any problems, or if you spot damaged or full “poop scoop” bins, please let us know using the “report a problem” link (right)

ftr and the number 4 bus service

ftr bus in York

ftr bus in York

Claims are being made in The Press about the future of the ftr number 4 bus service. It appears that First have given 3 months notice to those employed as conductors (hosts) on the vehicle prompting speculation that double deckers will be run on the route in future.

First are quoted as saying that any replacements will be “modern” buses but they don’t appear to be the new low emission models that the Liberal Democrat led Council was trialling with First a year or so ago.

First have not carried out any consultation with their customers about their preferences for the future of the number 4 service, which is the best used public transport link in the City.

Although financial savings might be made by switching to one person operation, it will be at a cost in terms of journey times – which will be longer – and inconvenience for both the disabled and those with pushchairs.

We’d like to think that this is not just another half baked idea being promoted by inexperienced Labour Councillors. They impulsively chopped down 500 lampposts recently without making any provision for their replacement and now plan to close both the Council Acomb Office and the Guildhall again without making adequate alternative arrangements.

Any competent reporter would have asked First how many “modern” double deckers they plan to use on the number 4 route (there are currently 12 ftrs in use) and what effect the change would have on frequencies and reliability?

The issue isn’t about the ftr, which was due for a refit anyway and might have been replaced in York by a newer vehicle with better economy and lower emissions.

The issue is about the respect that the Council and the bus company should show for their passengers and staff. A little consultation before headlines appeared in the Press might have reassured passengers that their views and needs were important.

Sadly the Council have made no statement and the suspicion is that they have no idea what sort of service – if any – will be provided on the number 4 route in future. It’s very bad time for public transport users in York