Residents newsletter reveals history of brick making on Foxwood Lane

The Foxwood Residents Associartion is delivering a “Fox” newsletter to every househod in the area.

It includes an interesting article on he history of brick making on land now called Chesney’s Field. The article reveals that several buildings in Acomb used bricks from the works. Many are still standing.

Brick making started in 1880 and continued well into the 20th century.

The area was leveled 30 years ago and is currently well used by sports teams and for children’s play.

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We understand that chidren from Hob Moor school are planning to “adopt” part of Chesney’s Field and help to keep it clean

We hope that the Council will improve its grass cutting performance.. It is not just parts of Chesney’s field which are becoming overgrown. The sports pitches, in particular, need regular mowing if they are to be used by young people during the summer holidays.

Council mowing grass as community clean up day arrives

Today is litter pick day in Foxwood.

We hope that residents will check and trim their boundary hedges at the same time. Several public footpaths are now obstructed by recent growth.

Some hedges are obstructing footpaths

Meanwhile the Council has, somewhat belatedly, got round to mowing local public open spaces. This has left a bit of a mess in some parks because of the large amount of grass clippings

UPDATE

Residents have collected 10 large bags of rubbish during todays Foxwood litter pick. Part of the Great British Spring Clean

New bus shelter arrives in Ascot Way

Good to see that the replacement bus shelter in Ascot Way has finally arrived. It was supposed to be available from the autumn when the adjacent building works were completed. Looks very tidy.

The actual bus stop has not yet been moved back to its original location and is still located round the corner.

Disappointing to see that the Ashford Place street sign has not been realigned. It continues to point to part of Windsor Garth. It was reported for attention over 2 months ago. Similarly potholes on Ashford Place itself – also reported some time ago – have still not been marked up for attention.

Foxwood Community Centre wildflower garden

Better news in Foxwood where volunteers have planted up wildflowers as part of a campaign to help pollinators (bees etc.). Good display now outside the community centre and in part of the Foxwood park.

Time to get to grips with local issues

The easing of lockdown restrictions offers the Council an opportunity to try to restore public service standards at least to the level seen in previous, pre-pandemic, years.

Some services are under particular pressure with potholes taking far too long to fill in.

Potholes in Ashford Place, reported several months ago, have still not been filled

Similarly estate management standards have fallen. At this time of year a regular checks needs to be made to ensure that roads and paths are not blocked and that access road surfaces are kept clear of moss and detritus.

Access roads need to be kept free of obstructions

One of the reasons for the decline may be the failure of the Council to fill three of its Housing Management posts. These are the posts that manage individual Council housing estates. They are very much the public face of the Council in their local neighbourhoods.

At least one of the posts has been vacant since last year.

Yet it does not appear among the 57 job vacancies currently being advertised by the Council, none of which are in the housing department. City of York Council Jobs (click)

Simon Daubeney clean up at Foxwood shops

Lack of budget cannot be an excuse for inaction . The housing account makes a surplus of several million pounds each year.

Elsewhere, local Councillor Simon Daubeney undertook a welcome clean up at the Foxwood shops on Saturday.

He will have found and reported the overturned salt bin.

The area has been subject recently to increased levels of vandalism.

The residents association have suspended maintenance of the planters following damage to the plants.

A Great British Spring Clean litter pick is scheduled to take place on Saturday 12th June.

Meet at 10:30am at the Foxwood Community Centre.

The walk round will last for about an hour.

Seasonal issues on the rise

The end of lockdown and the start of the growing season means that some problems become more apparent.

Generally, our estates have been cleaner over the last few months.

But over the last few days litter volumes have increased. In a few days, the annual residents “spring clean” campaign will start, but we hope that residents will make it easier to keep areas tidy by securing any rubbish that they put out for collection.

The warm and wet weather will see rapid growth on grassed areas while hedges and trees will see a similar change.

It is much easier to keep these trimmed back from public footpaths – where they can pose a particular hazard for the partially sighted – if that are maintained on a regular basis.

Footpaths can become obstructed quite quickly during the growing season

Woodland wanderings

The York Council concludes its consultation, on the layout of the new forest planned for agricultural land near Knapton, on 19th May.

The plans continue to be semi detached from economic realities with the options being presented to residents lacking proper costings or identified sources of funding.

A report published in December 2020 (click) promised that funding streams would be identified before commitments were made. Such information as is available is apparently being presented only to “behind closed doors” project board meetings.

Added to the initial failure to produce a food production vs afforestation environmental appraisal, this is an unsatisfactory situation

Residents are still waiting to hear an updates on a promised second – urban – wood that the Council announced 18 months ago.

It was said to be located near to the inner ring road. Such a site would be hugely expensive although the Council has, very recently, agreed to purchase land between the railway line and the river in the Leeman Road area.

Hopes that community woodland would be provided on land located between the built up area and the ring road/A1237, seem to be fading.

This would have provided genuinely accessible local green space – the lack of which in some areas became very apparent during the recent lockdown.

Some tree planting, as part of the dualling of part of the A1237, has been promised.

Council is being hypocritical over tree planting plans

The York Council is urging residents to plant at least one additional tree in their garden, allotment “or park”.

Well, last autumn – following consultation with the Council – volunteers did just that in Dickson park in the Foxwood area.

Dickson Park

Four months later, a Council early morning “hit squad” arrived and chopped down eight of the trees.

The local residents association is up in arms over the action.

They point out, in a formal complaint to the Council (to which there has, so far, been no response), that two of the trees that were removed had been memorialised as a mark of respect to relatives who had passed.

Residents are asking for the two trees to be reinstated immediately with the other six to be replaced following further consultation on siting, species etc.

Rather too much posturing going on in parts of the York Council these days we think!

The Council’s media release reads.

“York’s Tree Canopy to expand for next 30 years.

City of York Council’s Climate Change Policy and Scrutiny Committee have proposed to expand York’s tree canopy to achieve 13% coverage by 2050, approximately increasing tree population by 10,000/year.

A report will be taken to a Decision Session for the Executive Member for Environment and Climate Change on 5 May 2021. It proposes to Increase York’s tree cover from the current 10.76% of total area to13% (national average) by 2050, as the council creates a greener, cleaner city for its residents and visitors.

This expansion will be around 22-27 hectares each year which equates to an area of over 30 football pitches. Alternatively, the city would be well on its way to reaching this expansion target if every household in York which had space, either in a garden, allotment or park, planted just one tree.

The target would result in more carbon dioxide (CO2) being removed from the atmosphere and stored in the trees. This absorbing of the harmful pollutant across the city is equivalent to around 1% of the regions total CO2 emissions between 2020-2050.

Achieving 21 hectares of tree planting every year in York would result in the annual removal of 1-2% of the estimated regional emissions in 2038, after most of our carbon-neutral initiatives have been implemented. This would increase to remove 8-15% of remaining emissions in 2050.

This initiative forms one of the many priorities which will contribute to the city’s Climate Change Strategy which will be published this Autumn, and is one of the many tactics being implemented to achieve city-wide carbon neutrality by 2030.

Cllr Paula Widdowson, Executive Member for Climate Change said;

“To become a carbon neutral city we need to make the most of every tool at our disposal and I’m pleased to see that the expansion of our city’s Tree Canopy will help us catch up to the national average and contribute to our goal to make our city’s carbon emissions net-zero by 2030.

“The ever changing landscape of York offers us the opportunity to reduce the CO2 in our atmosphere as well as to create a healthier and happier environment that we can all enjoy. Increasing the biodiversity of our city is a key priority in our response to the Climate Emergency and this also contributes to our management of flood risks, use of public space and creation of green jobs across the city.”

As a member of the White Rose Forest Partnership, a local authority joint venture hosted by Kirklees Council, City of York Council is working to:

  • increase tree coverage across York
  • improve access to green space for citizens
  • enhance wildlife habitats and biodiversity
  • address climate change through carbon sequestration (or absorption) “

Litter and graffiti shame on Tadcaster Road

Sorry to see so much litter and graffiti on Tadcaster Road today. The full bin is near Tesco and opposite the College.

Tadcaster Road

We’ll report the issues but it would be good to see the supermarket and the College taking action to prevent a repeat.

Such an eyesore on one of the busiest routes into York.

Help shape York’s new community woodland

City of York Council says it is “seeking the views of residents and local organisations on its plans to create an extensive community woodland area near Knapton”.

The project got off to a poor start with behind closed doors decisions eventually committing the Council to purchase farming land valued at around £2 million for the forest.

No business case was ever presented which compared the financial and environmental benefits of a forest with the existing food production use or indeed more obvious uses in support of environmental challenges.

The survey includes questions on the 194-acres of land to the West of York, including “suggesting a name for the new area“, which sounds slightly patronising to us. The important decisions have already been taken but if you think that Knapton Wood should be called Sherwood Forest North then please let us know!

The council says, “As part of its commitment to creating a cleaner, greener city and its ambitious target of reaching net zero carbon by 2030, the council plans to plant 50,000 trees on the site by the spring of 2023. As well as acting as a ‘carbon sink’, the green space will boost the health and mental wellbeing of local people by giving them somewhere to exercise, spend time outdoors in nature and a place for quiet contemplation. It will be an important wildlife habitat, enhancing biodiversity in York, as well as creating new green jobs and volunteering opportunities, helping to boost the development of green skills”.

In recent months the council has completed a detailed land character assessment to explore the site’s existing flora and fauna, landscape, soil types, drainage features and access points.  This process has given the council a good understanding of the opportunities and constraints presented by the site, and helped to shape a series of different design concepts showing how the woodland could look.

Residents are now being asked to share their views on the design concepts so that their feedback can help shape the council’s plans for the site, as well as offer an insight into the role that residents and local groups can play in its creation and ongoing management. As a part of the consultation, residents are also invited to suggest possible names for the new woodland that reflect the heritage of the local area and tie in with the project’s ambitions.

That was the week that was in pictures