Another blow to York Pride

Any hopes that the Labour Council would finally get on top of public service standards in the City have been dealt a fatal blow over the last few weeks.

The number of complaints about street level service problems are escalating.

The Council’s on line “report it” system is proving to be more and more unreliable.

The Council has admitted that between 3rd September 2012 and 1st July 2013, they received 727 complaints.

Of these 402 were found to be justified.

Meanwhile, in little over an hour, the following problems were reported in parts of the Westfield ward.

Dumping and litter on Tithe Close snicket reported on 23rd August. Partly blamed on cancelation of skip programme in the Cornlands area

Dumping and litter on Tithe Close snicket reported on 23rd August. Partly blamed on cancelation of skip programme in the Cornlands area


Weeds growing through footpath in St Stephens Square

Weeds growing through footpath in St Stephens Square

Weed growth on Otterwood Lane. Reported 23rd August 2013

Weed growth on Otterwood Lane. Reported 23rd August 2013

Winter maintenance (snow and ice clearance) consultation – more cuts expected

Damaged salt bin Cornlands Road

Damaged salt bin Cornlands Road

The Council is asking residents whether it should cut even further the number of salt bins available in the City. They also plan to reduce the number of roads that are gritted (salted).

From Monday 12 August until Sunday 1 September, residents and businesses are invited to complete a three-week consultation on the criteria which is used to help determine how and where the council provides winter maintenance across the city.

To take part in the survey or view the criteria and gritting maps please visit: http://www.york.gov.uk/info/200262/gritting/402/winter_maintenance_services (from Monday 12 August).
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Lib Dems back new campaign to ‘Save our Countryside’

Green Belt map of England

Green Belt map of England

York’s Liberal Democrat Council Group Leader says a new national campaign to protect the countryside supports the approach his party has taken to controversial housing plans.

Last week the Lib Dems submitted their objection to Labour run City of York Council’s Draft Local Plan, which proposes building 16,000 houses on Green Belt land over the next 15 years. In recent months the Lib Dems have been leading the fight to protect York’s Green Belt, including organising a petition signed by nearly 2,500 local residents. The party has said that new housing should be focused on brownfield sites before the countryside surrounding York is developed.

Now a national ‘Save our Countryside’ charter launched by the CPRE (Campaign to Protect Rural England) has highlighted the threat of developing Green Belt land and called on councils to develop brownfield sites first. The CPRE has said that current policies mean the countryside is “being destroyed unnecessarily” and a ‘brownfield first’ approach should be adopted.

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“Save Acomb Moor” representations lodged with York Council

Campaigners, who are aiming to stop part of Acomb Moor being developed, have submitted their formal objection to the Councils draft Local Plan.

A full copy of the objection can be read here http://tinyurl.com/Save-Acomb-Moor-Issue-1

Residents have until tomorrow evening (Wednesday 31st July) to email their comments on the plan to localplan@york.gov.uk

The “Save Acomb Moor” objectors make several key points:

The transition from rural into an urban landscape
Vehicles leaving Askham Lane and turning into Foxwood Lane continue to have a rural perspective on one side of the road. The other side is softened by the “ravine”, which runs down the length of Forrester’s Walk, which is heavily planted.

The topography of the land
Even 2 storey houses would be immediately visible on the north side of Foxwood Lane to traffic because of the height of the development at its most western point.

View of Minster from Acomb Moor click to enlarge

View of Minster from Acomb Moor click to enlarge

The need to preserve the skyline of the City
Views of the City would be obstructed by houses built on Foxwood Lane opposite Foresters Walk
This is the ridge high point when viewed from Foxwood Lane (near Otterwood Lane north junction), Askham Lane and the A1237.
The issue would be acute in the winter when there is little tree and hedge cover.

The need to avoid dominance of nearby properties
There is a 5 metre rise on the site. Any buildings on the Foxwood Lane high point (opposite Foresters Walk) would dominate existing buildings and those built on the low part of the site. The shape of the site means that opportunities to preserve privacy through layout would be limited

The requirement for informal open space
While the field in question remains in private ownership, there is an established PROW across it. It is likely that continued use over the last 30 years has established a further PROW around the boundary. This would further limit development opportunities.
The area enjoys only limited access to semi rural grassland and the loss of even part of this field would further reduce recreational choice in the area.

Conservation of flora and fauna including the contribution made to the green wedges in the area
Council officials seem to have dismissed the ecological significance of the field in question without producing any evidence that the area has been studied. Similar grassland in the area has been found in the past to have sustained significant, sometimes unique, forms of flora.
The well established hedges provide cover for wildlife providing a link to Acomb Wood and beyond; following the green corridors which open up onto Hob Moor.
The area should be subject to a full ecological study

Drainage issues
While it is acknowledged that proper drainage would be a relevant issue to be considered when a detailed planning application was submitted, there are concerns about the low part of the field being waterlogged during the winter.
Local sewer capacity is inadequate to take additional surface water drainage and it is unclear how the run off for the hard surfacing associated with 40 homes, could be accommodated.
Householders to the east are concerned that such a development would lead to gardens being flooded on a regular basis. There appears to have been no economic assessment conducted on the costs of ameliorating such concerns.
Within the last 5 years the have been serious flooding issues affecting homes on the central section of Foxwood Lane caused by inadequate drainage.

The Council are likely to start debating the representations that have been made in the autumn.

Labour reduce waste services while increasing charges

Changes to the service will take effect later this month and include amending Towthorpe Household Waste Recycling Centre’s opening hours.

Starting on Wednesday 31 July, Towthorpe Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) will remain open six days a week and will close on Wednesdays throughout the year.

Hazel Court recycling centre
Alongside this, new charges will be introduced at Hazel Court HWRC on Monday 29 July for York residents disposing of brick, rubble, gas bottles, plasterboard and bonded asbestos.

Non-York residents can also take waste to the site but this will be subject to a charge of £10 per visit in a normal family car. Payment must be made at Hazel Court HWRC at the time of tipping using either a debit or credit card only.

Residents wanting to dispose of large amounts of DIY related waste materials should consider hiring a skip, using a private waste collection company or buying a skip bag from DIY stores, builders’ merchants or garden centres

For more information about the changes to waste and recycling visit www.york.gov.uk/waste or call 01904 551551.

Time for a tidy up?

With the temperatures now on the decline for a little while at least, we’ve been reporting the problems that some public services have been having.

You can report issues such as graffiti, litter and fly tipping from your mobile phone using the Councils system

Litter at Gale Lane junction

Litter at Gale Lane junction

Weed growth in Milner Street

Weed growth in Milner Street


Litter in Acomb Car Park

Litter in Acomb Car Park

There are alternative systems.

Perhaps the best is a “My Council” app.

This allows a large range of issues to be raised with the York (and other) Councils. Click here for details. Issues can be reported either “on line” of via a mobile phone app in “real time”

The well established “fix my street” web site also promises that they will have an app available shortly. In the meantime you can report issues by clicking here

Both systems seem to be more user friendly than the York Councils labyrinthine internal “report it” system

Playground petition gains over 200 signatures

DSCF2433

Worried Westfield parents have organised a petition to ask for a dog deterring fence, together with litter & “poop scoop” bins, to keep the Grange Lane play area free from dog fouling.

The new play area at Acomb Green has a low fence and hinged gate to keep dogs out, and has a number of litter bins to keep the area tidy – so why not on Grange Lane?

The petition will be handed in to the council meeting on Thursday by Cllr Lynn Jeffries.

Parents came to the hand-over of the petition at the play ground to show their support for the changes (see photo).

Scrubber comes to York

City of York Council is harnessing the latest cleaning technology to help keep the city looking its best.

A new suction sweeper has just hit the streets. Maneuvered by an operator walking behind it, the machine pulverises and compacts waste by two thirds, and is nimble enough to use on busy streets. While it might tackle extra waste following busy days in the city centre, equally it can suck up and squash autumn leaves, giving it year-round functionality.

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