Council taxpayers to foot £605,000 bill for sports pavilion

The Council have now appointed a contractor to build a “Pavilion, Clubhouse and Changing Rooms” on Tadcaster Road near Sim Balk Lane.

It will become the home of a football team currently based in Bishopthorpe.

The contract was won by Fullwood of Pontefract

The cost is an eye watering £605,000.

In total the project is expected to cost £1.5 million. £491,000 has already been spent on new pitches.

Taxpayers money

This compared to the costs of new modular changing rooms which are available from less than £40,000 from a number of companies.

These include Sports Changing Rooms and York’s own Portakabin

The cost of the pavilion is controversial because it is being partly funded from monies generated by building on playing fields at Lowfield.

More modest changing facilities would have allowed the surplus to be used to provide an all-weather games area to replace both the facilities lost at Lowfields and also the Kingsway West children’s games area which the Council demolished earlier in the summer.

The Council has still not made any public announcement about the replacement games area which could be located on Thanet Road.

Ascot Way building works update

The cost of the Centre of Excellence for Disabled Children, currently being constructed on Ascot Way, has increased by £1.2 million.

Part of the additional funding is coming from the NHS

The “current timeline for the centre is for the main build to be completed by January 2020 with opening scheduled for May 2020”.

A council report says that, during quarter 1 within the Lincoln Court Scheme, the work to relocate all Lincoln Court tenants into alternative accommodation was completed successfully, this has then allowed Sewell’s to take possession of the site, undertake site set up and begin enabling works.

This has included a full invasive asbestos survey and works to build an access road and car parking for sub-contractors accessed via the Hob Moor primary academy site.

All the remaining window replacement works have been completed in this quarter as has the demolition of the single storey extension in preparation for works to begin for the new build extension.

The Council says that “the Centre of Excellence and Lincoln Court project teams have worked together to communicate with residents neighbouring the site and also to keep Ward Councillors updated on project progress. £750k budget has been transferred from 2019/20 into 2020/21”

There is still no update provided on  the promised replacement children’s games area will be provided

Exam results. Advice and support in York

Another successful year for A level students in York

Provisional results for York schools’ sixth forms and York College show that the very high standards of previous years have been maintained, and indicate that A Level results in the city remain consistently amongst the best in the country.

York school sixth forms – All Saints RC, Archbishop Holgate’s CE, Fulford, Huntington and Joseph Rowntree – and York College – are reporting strong results including ‘best ever’ performances.

Overall results are showing increases in the number of students achieving the highest grades, the overall A*-E pass rate is above the national average and both the proportion of students achieving A* and A grades and the overall A*-E pass rate are above the national averages reported today.

Early results for the schools show that across the board young people will be able to get to the universities of their choice, including those applying to Oxford and Cambridge universities and medical courses.

With A-Level and GCSE results days approaching, City of York Council is reminding young people across the city that there are several sources of support throughout this exciting yet challenging time.

There is support for people who may be seeking an apprenticeship or other employment opportunity, or who want to move into full time education. Young people who are concerned that their personal circumstances may make accessing education, employment or training more difficult could also benefit from advice.

People can find support across the city from:

  • Careers Advisers employed by our local sixth forms and colleges – help will be available when results are collected
  • City of York Council Learning and Work Advisers in our Young People’s Service at 30 Clarence Street; extra appointment slots and drop-ins are available and Advisers can support with searching for vacancies, developing your CV, completing applications and preparing for interviews. Tel: 01904 555400; www.yor-zone.org.uk/someone-to-help.htm
  • Council-led ‘York Apprenticeship Hub’ – find us on Facebook (York Apprenticeships) and Twitter (@York Apprentices); email us at York.apprenticeships@york.gov.uk; T: 01904 553732 for local apprenticeship vacancies; there are still around 100 opportunities in the city, and many more in  the region, across a range of sectors and job roles.
  • National Careers Service – for local employment and training opportunities; drop in to the York office at 18-19 Colliergate or call the national help-line 0800 100 900

57 complaints last year received by Ombudsman about the City of York Council

The Local Government Ombudsman was asked to investigate 57 complaints about the York Council last year.

Transport and planning issues attracted the most complaints.

Ombudsman complaints 2018/19

The equivalent figure for the North Yorkshire County Council was 82 complaints in total, with Adult Social Care and Children’s Services being the most criticised.

The figures are included in the annual report of the Ombudsman

Of the York complaints, 21 were further investigated by the Ombudsman.

Of these, 11 were upheld. A full  list can be found here (click)

The Ombudsman says that the Council complied with their recommendations in all 11 cases although there were delays in 3 instances.

The annual letter from the Ombudsman to the York Council can also now be read on their web site (click)

It includes a “public interest” report about the Council’s failure to provide adequate support for a couple with a terminally ill baby.

The report says that social workers did not visit the baby in hospital

The Ombudsman’s findings are normally reported to a Council committee for consideration and possible changes to procedures.

Extract from the Ombudsman’s annual letter 2019 to York Council

York Council to develop York’s residential care options for children and young people

City of York Council’s Executive will be asked to consider plans to transform York’s existing residential care provision for children and young people in care at a meeting next week.

“The proposals would enable the council to better meet the needs of children and young people aged 9-18 years of age in York who need a period of residential support, allowing them to remain near their families and local communities while receiving specialist care”.

The Executive will be asked to approve plans to buy three new two/three bedroom buildings to provide specialist nurturing environments for children and young people in small groups of similar age.

The council’s current home would be remodelled under the proposals to provide supported accommodation for young people aged 16-18 years of age, providing a transition to independent living.

Under the plans, specialist foster carers would help support children and young people when they leave the residential accommodation, helping them to make the move back to a family environment with foster carers or to independent living, depending on their age.

The new buildings would be operated in partnership with external providers specialising in providing evidence-based therapeutic support to children and young with complex needs.

The Executive will be asked to approve plans for the council to borrow £1.36m to purchase the new buildings, with the payments being met through the existing revenue budgets of the Children, Education and Communities Directorate

The plan will be discussed at a meeting taking place on 18th July

Games area being ripped up by contractors

The demolition contractors for the Windsor House/Lincoln Court/Hob Moor school developments have taken over the Multi User Games Area (MUGA) on Kingsway West.

It in no longer accessible for local children.

Councillors have reportedly agreed to it being used as a building compound.

Sections of the fencing around the area have been removed to allow access to a new service road. The entrance used by children has been secured.

While the loss of the play area is not unexpected following a controversial planning decision a few months ago, the failure of the Council to provide updates on when a replacement facility will be provided (and where) is very disappointing. The location favoured by Sports Clubs and local residents, is on the Thanet Road All Weather Sports area near the junction of Gale Lane and Thanet Road.

At one point the Council promised funding for a new facility but all has gone quiet since the LibDems took control of the Council at the beginning of May.

The loss of the sports facility comes in the wake of similar erosion of facilities in the Westfield area with the Lowfields playing field now being developed as is the Acomb Bowling Club.

The Our Lady’s school field was developed about 3 years ago.

Support for the provision of more public open space – possibly in the form of new strays – on the outskirts of the City is growing.

New access road constructed across Hob Moor school playing field
MUGA entrance sealed
Access road into site compound

Don’t let the vandals win!

Several months ago the playground – owned by the Rowntree Housing Trust – located on Teal Drive was closed.

Locked gates at the playground on Teal Drive

Problems has arisen when vandals damaged part of the children’s slide.

Understandably repairs had to be completed before access was reinstated.

..But the gates have remained locked.

It would be a great shame if the authorities cannot ensure this facility is available at least during the day at weekends and during the summer holidays.

One possible solution would be to put together a volunteer team of key holders who could secure the park at night and reopen it in the morning.