Shocks on tour de cycle track

Graffiti 6 mile bridge York Selby cycle track 21st July 2014
With the Tour de France now relegated to one of the more obscure ITV channels, the Councils leadership were asked last week precisely what targets they had for the “heritage” programme?
They had no numbers to share.

Still the chances are that some additional tourists will find their way to York over the next 12 months.


 What impression will they get?
Graffiti Tadcaster Road cycle track bridge 1600 hours 21st July 2014
There has always been some criticism of he view from the railway carriage window on the East Coast main line approach to the City. Weeds, weed and more weeds is the usual vista.

But what of the dedicated cyclist making their way up the Selby to York cycle track?

The closer to York you get, the worse is the neglect, the  litter and the graffiti.

Obscene graffiti dominates the A64 underpass while the Tadcaster Road junction is rarely graffiti free.


Warning obscene graffiti

Warning obscene graffiti

At the Tesco roundabout the cycle path is now blocked by overhanging bushes.





The – St Johns University sponsored –  roundabout itself is weed infested and a poor advert for a City dependent on visitors to sustain its economy

Cycle lane blocked

Cycle lane blocked

Weeds take over Tadcaster Road roundabout.

Weeds take over Tadcaster Road roundabout.




Anti social behaviour probe called for

St Stephens Square affected

There has been an increase in the number of complaints about noise and anti social behaviour  over recent days.anti social behaviour

Problems with noise can, in part, be traced to windows being left open in the warmer weather that the City is enjoying.

However in some streets neighbours have been seriously disturbed. One such area is St Stephens Square  and now the activities of those living in two particular blocks of flats there have been passed to the Police for their attention.

About 6 months ago the authorities centralised their anti social behaviour resources in West Offices and it is beginning to look like this was a backward step.

Residents affected by noise problems should report issues to the Councils Environmental Protection Unit

If the problem is on the street – or involves more than just noise – then it should be reported to the Police. There have been changes in the local policing teams recently and more are in prospect but the easiest way to contact them is by telephoning 101.

Details of the Safer Neighbourhoods West team can be found by clicking here




Begging in York

Not before time, authorities in York are moving to deal with the issue of begging on York’s streets.

Disabled busker on Coney Street

Disabled busker on Coney Street

A combination of help for those in genuine need (who themselves may be the subject of exploitation by unscrupulous gangs) coupled with enforcement action against those trying to  intimidate passers by is (rightly) proposed.

The Council says, a joint operation to work with people begging on York’s streets is being launched by City of York Council, North Yorkshire Police and the Salvation Army.

Officers from the police and Salvation Army will be carrying out walks in the city centre at the end of this week and over the weekend to talk to people appearing to beg on the streets.

Officers will also hand out leaflets asking people not to give money to beggars who, if in genuine need, should be eligible for benefits or accommodation.

The Salvation Army is accredited to give housing advice which they can offer individuals found begging, or they can signpost them to appropriate benefits advice.

Officers from the police or council will remind any beggars that it is an offence to beg, that they must stop and if found begging again they will be prosecuted.

Officers will also liaise with the Department for Work and Pensions if any person begging is found to be getting social security benefits too.

Similar operations have been successfully carried out by Humberside police who found numbers of people begging on the streets halved.

York Police warn court fine dodgers to pay up

PoliceYork police are warning people with outstanding court fines that they face being sent to prison if they don’t pay up.

York Magistrates’ Court has issued over 220 non-payment of fines warrants which have still to be enforced, some of which contain orders for immediate prison sentences.

It is normally the job of Civilian Enforcement Officers to conduct the warrants, with the help of North Yorkshire Police if required.

However, York police will be carrying out a number of operations in the coming weeks to round up offenders who haven’t paid their court fines.

Dim Council

in the dark

York Council are planning to dim streetlights between midnight and 6:00am.

Residents, in part of Council Leaders James Alexander’s Holgate ward, were used as guinea pigs in a trial earlier in the year.

 In January 2014 the council installed LED lighting in Hamilton Way, Collingwood Avenue, Stewart Road, and Amberley Street in Holgate with several being operated at 50-60 per cent.

The Council Leadership claims that residents did not notice that lights had been dimmed.

Problem is that there was no consultation and residents were kept in the dark (sic) about the trial.

No data on crime levels was reported by the Council who claim that the programme was agreed by the Councils Cabinet on 1st July as part of its (no irony) “rewiring” project.

In reality only passing reference was made to street lighting in a report which ran to over 100 pages.

The Council says, “No comments or complaints were received on the varied levels of lighting throughout the trial”.

Given the flaws in the Councils customer contact system this is hardly surprising. You can’t even report, through the Councils web site, a faulty street lamp let alone a “dim” one.

The Council says,

Behind closed doors logo

“Over 1,500 lanterns in York will be replaced this year with a new ‘white light’ – providing a clearer light, which will help make people feel safer at night.

The LED lantern conversions will be installed over a seven month period until January 2015, predominately in the following areas: Rawcliffe, Clifton, Huntington, New Earswick, Copmanthorpe, Bishopthorpe and Micklegate.

The Wards that have been chosen are areas that house the highest number of 35watt low pressure sodium lanterns (orange light).

The new lighting will also help make significant carbon, energy and cost savings.

 In addition to the new LEDS, lights will also be reduced by up to 50-60 per cent on streets between midnight and 6am when the traffic flow levels can be described as quiet. Although the level of lighting reduces this is still within current lighting level standards”.

It is certainly possible to make some savings – and reduce carbon emissions – using more energy efficient systems and lighting cycles.

Such a programme was started by the Council as long ago as 2008.

However, the cost/benefit figures – produced by the Council – now do need further analysis

And, of course, street lighting has a major role to play in tacking crime with back lanes and snickets likely to be particular problem areas when we get to dark winter evenings.

The Council has been secretive in its approach and has played fast and loose with resident’s safety.

They should be more open with their plans in the future.

Make a difference in your community – fantastic prizes on offer in this year’s Lifestyle competition

A competition for young people to win exciting prizes by making a difference in their community has been launched for the second year running.

Launch of Lifestyle

The Lifestyle competition is open to school children aged between 10 and 16 across York and North Yorkshire who want to do something positive for their community during the summer holidays.

In return for helping their community, contestants will get the chance to win a host of prizes including PLG adventure holidays and mountain bikes.

Last year’s winners include Team Community Spirit who raised funds for their local boxing club in Acomb, The Green Team who launched a campaign to re-use and recycle in York, Team Ice who organised the clean up of their local park in Sherburn in Elmet and Eastfield Youth Council from the Scarborough area who cleaned up The Dell and devised a campaign to encourage people not to drop litter.

This year’s project was launched at Westfield Primary School in York with the help of Minster FM’s presenter “Griffo”.

Alcohol diversion programme starts in York

James A Drunk (2)

The first programme to be run by City of York Council for people arrested while drunk and disorderly in the city, will start up this week to help bring about lasting change in people’s attitude to alcohol and its impact.

Recommended by the council’s cross-party Scrutiny Committee, the pilot programme is funded by the council’s public health budget and will be monitored by the Safer York Partnership, the city-wide AVANTE partnership and by the University of York, for its 18-month duration.

York West neighbourhood Policing team to be scrapped?

North Yorkshire Police have announced a shake up of their structures in York and the rest of the county.

They claim that their main aim is to use technology to increase the time that Police officers and PCSOs spend on the streets.

If it does that then it will get a lot of support from residents.

Police helmete

In surveys that we have conducted in the Chapelfields, Cornlands Road and Front Street areas recently, some residents have pointed to a reduced patrolling profile for the Police compared to 3 years ago. 

The Police will also need to review their communications strategy.

Most residents – while welcoming the use of Twitter, Facebook and the like to provide information quickly – prefer to get a briefing leaflet through their letterbox.  This used to be done using joint newsletters with the local Council but this seems to have petered out. Neighbourhood Watch schemes have been unable to fill the information gap in most of west York.

The detailed proposals for policing in York are still unclear.

The Police statement talks of reducing the number of neighbourhood policing teams in the City from 3 to 2. Provided the Sergeants and Inspectors are easy to contact and take time to get out in the community that may not matter.

The last thing that we need is more managers sat in Fulford Road.

The Police should operate out of local community centres and schools whenever possible.

All in all, with a consultation on the future of crime and policing in the City not due to finish until 15th June, the announcement seems a little premature and leaves a lot of unanswered questions

Community Medical Unit for city centre

Photo Credit: The Press, York

Photo Credit: The Press, York



A new arrangement between City of York Council’s Safer York Partnership (SYP), Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust (YAS) and Street Angels is set to give weekend support and assistance for people needing help in the evening in the city centre.

The ambulance service’s Community Medical Unit (CMU) and volunteers from Street Angels will be offering help to people in St Helen’s Square on Friday and Saturday nights as well as on race days.