Weeds gaining ground in York

Each year we seem to have problems with weed growth in one part of the City or another.

Ouse Bridge 7th August 2014 Weeds take over parapit

Ouse Bridge 7th August 2014 Weeds take over parapet

As well as being unsightly, if untreated the weeds can cause damage to footpaths, roads and bridges.

Last year weeds seemed to win the war so, when the York Council said that they had completed the first of three planned applications of weed killer in May, we hoped for the best.

But today, 4 weeks later, when the weed killer should have taken effect, there are still areas which seem to have been missed.

We are not sure whether this is down to the contractors who were  employed to do the work, the type of weed killer which was used or just unfavourable weather conditions.

Whatever the reason, some action needs to be taken quickly to free our streets from this problem.

Weeds Milner Street back lane

Weeds Milner Street back lane

Weeds and dumped trolly on Dijon Avenue

Weeds and dumped trolly on Dijon Avenue

Weeds growing in Queenswood Grove gutters

Weeds growing in Queenswood Grove gutters

Rear entrance to Lowfields school site

Rear entrance to Lowfields school site

rubbish and weeds Front Street back lane

rubbish and weeds Front Street back lane




Call for utilities to repair damaged verges in Westfield

unseeded verge Askham Lane

Unseeded verge Askham Lane

Utilities have been blamed for the deteriorating condition of some grassed areas in the Westfield ward. Problem area include the verge at the junction of The Green and Askham Lane.

Andrew Waller is chasing up action on the problem

Phone box weeds Foxwood

Phone box weeds Foxwood

Yorkshire Water contractors also recently dug up an area to the rear of properties on Foxwood Lane. Unfortunately, although the site was leveled when the drainage project was finished, it was not reseeded and looks set to become a weed ridden mess.

unseeded verge Foxwood lane

Unseeded amenity area near Foxwood Lane

Pillar box weeds at Foxwood

Pillar box weeds at Foxwood

Meanwhile weeds are taking over utility equipment at the Foxwood shops.

Both the telephone kiosk and the pillar box and gradually being engulfed.

Sheena Jackson has reported these issues for attention by the Council.

Indecision grips York Council’s Environmental Services Director recruitment?

Jobs for the boys and girls

It looks like there could be a gap of over 18 months before a new senior manager is appointed to administer the Environmental Services Directorate at the York Council. The Directorate has many important responsibilities covering transport, planning, the Community Stadium and the York central development together with other economic development projects.

Darren Richardson left the post in June 2014 in the wake of the Lendal Bridge fiasco. He was replaced by a (somewhat controversial) consultant whose contract is due to expire on 9th July.

It looks like the Council are set to temporarily promote one of its existing staff to take up the responsibility pending a report on other aspects of the senor management structure at the Council.

It looks like this re-organisation report will not be ready until December 2015!

A report to a meeting taking place on 22nd June recommends that non Council staff would also be able to apply for the temporary post during a narrow widow of opportunity between 26th June and 10th July 

The post will be advertised on the Council’s jobs web site and could attract a, pro rata, salary of around £90,000 pa.

The York Council jobs web site can be accessed by clicking here https://jobs.york.gov.uk/index.aspx

As we remarked on Friday; it is one of what seems to be a proliferation of web sites now operated by the York Council (to the general confusion of many citizens)

Chapman’s pond closure – latest information

Chapmans Pond 2

The Enviroment Agency has issued the following statement

Fish deaths force pond closure in York

Chapmans Pond in York has been closed to anglers following reports of several fish deaths.

The mortalities, which have occurred over the last two or three weeks are thought to be predominantly carp.

The alarm was raised by The Friends of Chapmans Pond, who were concerned that the number of deaths had exceeded what might be normally expected for natural causes.

Environment Agency officers advised the precautionary closure of the pond while samples of the water are tested and live fish are taken to the Environment Agency’s fish health laboratory at Brampton and analysed. These tests will aim to establish whether there are water quality issues affecting the fish, or the likelihood of disease or parasites being the cause of mortalities.

Laura Hogg, fisheries and biodiversity officer at the Environment Agency said: “While we carry out our investigations it is important not to stress the remaining fish further, and that is why we have recommended the pond is closed to anglers at this time.

“Until the cause of the deaths is known we are advising anglers to remain vigilant, honour the closure notice and follow the three simple biosecurity steps of check, clean and dry as always to reduce the risk of spreading any potential diseases.”

Check check equipment and clothing including soles of footwear

Clean on leaving the watercourse all mud and dirt must be washed off boots and equipment. If possible with clean hot water and sterilise with disinfectant

Dry dry all kit for 48 hours prior to reuse, preferably in sunlight

If you see fish in distress, please call the Environment Agency’s incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60.

A tale of two communities

If anyone needed more proof that an effective partnership between the Council and residents can make a difference to a community, then they need look no further than the Kingsway and Cornlands neighbourhoods in the Westfield ward.

Kingsway abandoned noticeboard

Kingsway abandoned noticeboard

For many years the Kingsway residents, acting through the KARA organisation, liaised with local Councillors and officials.

Some three years ago the Council chose to totally ignore the representation that KARA made about a couple of planning applications which not only threatened public service standards in the area but also put the adjacent Hob Moor at risk.

The Council chose to ignore its own draft Local Plan and almost doubled the number of houses being built on the former Our Lady’s school site (now called “Hob Stones – which itself in recent weeks has slowed as one of the contractors went into administration).

Nearby the Council, despite a tangible lack of parking space in the estate, chose to build on a garage site in Newbury Avenue.

Again local representations were largely ignored.

Dumped mattress in Kingsway area

Dumped mattress in Kingsway area

The Residents Association were disgusted and threw in the towel.

Without an active Residents Association the Council then chose to end the regular skip visits to the area.

Fly tipping and dumping increased and a downward spiral began.

The most poignant symptom of the decline is probably the KARA noticeboard which has not been updated for nearly two years.

Fortunately the area now has new Councillors who will no doubt begin to re-establish a working relationship with the local community.

They could make a start by getting the noticeboards updated and the skip service restored.

Cornlads Road notiocebaord up to date

Cornlands Road noticeboard up to date

Ironically a small – but active – residents association, in the adjacent Cornlands area, manages to keep its two noticeboards bang up to date.

Chapmans Pond in Dringhouses closed to anglers following unexplained fish deaths

On the advice of the Environment Agency Chapman’s Pond has been CLOSED to all angling until further notice

Chapmans Pond closed

 Over the last 3 weeks there have been an increasing number of fish deaths particularly of large Mirror Carp, the cause of which is unknown.  The Environment Agency is now engaged in identifying the cause of these deaths and has advised that the angling should stop until further notice.  We are not aware of any implications for other wildlife or visitors.

Please ensure all angling equipment is air dried and preferably sterilised before transferring between waters, particularly if you have been fishing at Chapman’s Pond.

We will update through the ChapmansPond facebook site as soon as we have further information and open the site to an angling soon as it is advisable to do so.


Friends of Chapman’s Pond           07599 927632 or email friendsofchapmanspond@yahoo.co.uk

City of York Council                     01904 551551 or email smarter.york@york.gov.uk

Chapmans Pond

Foxwood Park looking good in summer sun

Fox wood park May 2015

The improvements undertaken by volunteers last year to the Foxwood Park area are now more apparent as the area is bathed in the summer sun.

Members of the residents association have worked hard to clear undergrowth and install new seats. Local children made plaques for the railings

Its disappointing that the new (somewhat confused) York Council web site doesn’t even list the park as an open space

Residents from across the City will be able to see the progress made when the Foxwood Park Country Fair takes place next Saturday

Summer Fair on Saturday

Summer Fair on Saturday


“Well, what did you expect, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon?”

2 foot high weeds are now growing out of a bus shelter at the top of Foxwood Lane.


Nearby an overgrowing tree is blocking the public footpath while nettles from a neighbouring field are steadily reducing the width of the path over a distance of about 100 metres.

The issues have already been reported but it is disappointing that the York council has so far not indicated when weed treatment will start in the area.

The timeliness of any response will be one of the first tests for the new  “basic service standards first” approach of the new Council leadership

Time to get on top of weed growth on our roads and footpaths

With a new Council elected and most candidates committed to ensuring that street level public services are improved it is a good time to report any issues in your street.

We came across this weed infested traffic island build out on Gale Lane today.

Gale Lane 1400 hours 14th May 2015

Gale Lane 1400 hours 14th May 2015

We recommend residents to use the “My Council” app which can be found  by clicking here http://www.mycouncilservices.com/