Lowfields problems continue

No response yet from the site liaison officer following residents’ concerns about delivery arrangements at the Lowfields development site.  Concerns about the impact that the large spoil mountains are having on the local environment have also still to be addressed.
Spoil mountains growing at Lowfields

At a planning committee meeting earlier in the week some progress was made on the plans to create 5 new parking spaces on Tudor Road.

The Lowfields Action Group Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/LowfieldsActionGroup/ reports that officials have confirmed that the contractor responsible for building the new access road will also construct the parking spaces as part of the same contract. Although they said that the work would be done “at the same time” no planning condition was included requiring the 3 new “on street” parking spaces to be constructed before the existing ones are lost.

The Council as both the owner and developer of the site could have offered a unilateral agreement on this but failed to do so.

Cllr Andrew Waller was the only Westfield ward representative to speak up on behalf of residents. He said that the parking spaces to the rear of 108 Tudor Road were too close to the property. He also asked that improvements be made at the Tudor Road /Gale Lane junction.

The discussion about the Yorspace development was a disappointing.  Councillors completely failed to challenge the claim that the proposed homes will be “affordable”. The developer claims they will be “affordable” The Councils own housing officer has confirmed that they will not.

This contradiction remains unexplained.

A Freedom of Information request on a related issue is still outstanding. A response is due on Monday,

No convincing answers given on car parking arrangements. The 12 spaces will not be adequate to cater for the needs of all occupiers and visitors. Overflow parking will therefore further compromise space on Tudor Road, Green Lane and Kingsthorpe. The developers say that occupiers of the building “will not be allowed to own a car” and that all vehicles using the provided spaces will be “communally owned”.

We doubt very much whether they will be able to enforce such a rule.

The only good thing to come out of the debate was an offer from the developer to look again at boundary treatments. They seem to be backing away for the idea of removing the railings. The railings offer good security while permitting the movement of small mammals like hedgehogs.

New fines for householders ignoring their duty of care

Householders who are indirectly guilty of fly-tipping because they failed to check that the waste carrier they hired was properly licensed, may be issued with £250 fixed penalty notice.

Fly tipping at Acomb Car park

Previously anyone committing this offence would be liable for prosecution alongside the fly-tipper themselves.

The new fine, agreed yesterday, allows a more proportionate penalty and can be reduced to £150 if paid within 10 days of issue. It also gives the offender an alternative to prosecution and so avoid a criminal record should they be found guilty. Offenders who do not pay the fine will be prosecuted and so risk a significantly higher fine or sentencing by the courts.

Two-thirds of fly-tips throughout the country contain household waste. This new fixed penalty is the latest development to deter fly-tipping in York. It supports both Keep Britain Tidy’s #CrimeNotToCare which City of York Council launched in January 2018, and the regional, rurally-focused Operation Eyeball campaign which started last summer. These are both backed by regular enforcement action run by the council along with North Yorkshire Police and DVLA to deter illegal waste movement and disposal.

Check if a carrier is licenced at https://environment.data.gov.uk/public-register/view/search-waste-carriers-brokers or call the Environment Agency on 03708 506 506.

Residents can take waste to our household waste recycling centres – see www.york.gov.uk/wasteandrecycling – or can arrange for the council to collect it via www.york.gov.uk/BulkyWaste. Up to ten items can be taken so why not join together with neighbours?

First day of spring and some good news

The first day of spring sees some daffodils blooming on Askham Lane. The Council has cut back the hedge to allow improved visibility from the bus shelter. That’s good progress after the problems that there have been in recent years.

A little further long Askham Lane, near the flats, we understand that the Council may start to install, the much delayed, parking lay-by in the next few days. If true, it is another piece of good news following years of frustration with parking problems.

Waste material mountains growing on Lowfield site

The local residents action group has protested about the policy for storing excavated materials on the Lowfield development site. Mountains of waste are gradually growing on the Green Lane boundary.

Residents say they were promised consultation on the strategy for dealing with excavated materials. If they were to be stored on site – in preparation for reuse later in the building phase of the work, then assurances were needed about their short and long term effects on drainage in the area.

Waste materials piled 8 metres high on Lowfields site

Now several neighbouring residents are looking out onto 8 metre high piles of concrete rubble.

Concerns were also recorded about the effect that the work would have on the local ecology.

Verges being damaged

A lorry visiting the site today damaged verges near the site entrance.

This has led to renewed appeals for better advanced notice of deliveries and their likely impact on “on street” parking.

More progress with Foxwood Project clean up campaign

Corlett Court paths have now been edged
as have those in Morrell Court. Some of the landscaping stones are due to be removed this month
& Spurr Court
We’ve reported the leaning tree on Herman Walk. We are concerned that the high winds could bring it down.
The winds have also caused litter to accumulated under some hedges. Reported by us today
as have potholes on the carriageway at the Foxwood shops on Beagle Ridge Drive

Council set to trim some grassed amenity areas

In response to a Freedom of Information request, the York Council has issued a list of grassed areas that it hopes to “edge” this year.

The areas are all in the ownership of the housing and leisure departments. The list can be downloaded from here,

The request came after the Foxwood Residents Association appointed contractors to tidy up amenity area paths in their area. “The Foxwood Project” involves work on grassed areas like the Thanet Road Sports area. It is now well advanced, although recent rain has hindered progress.

Grassed verges reman a concern both in Foxwood and in other parts of west York. These haven’t been included in a formal programme of work for several years following maintenance funding cuts. The result is that several verges have now extended over adjacent public footpaths causing obstructions. Residents in the Ridgeway area recently petitioned for their paths to be “edged”.

Disappearing footpaths

The Council says that it is drawing up a programme of verge work and that it hopes to include Foxwood Lane and Bellhouse Way in the programme.

It is understood that the Council has used “community payback” schemes to make limited progress on the backlog of work.

In our view contractors need to be brought in to tackle the worst of the problem verges.

They’re a particular hazard for older pedestrians where adjacent hedges are also overgrown.

Council “U Turn” on ResPark discounts?

Small car discount

The York Council announced a few weeks ago that it was restricting the discounts available for small vehicle users who needed ResPark permits. It said that in future the permits would only be available for drivers of Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEV).

These are electric vehicles. There are no “on street” charging facilities for such vehicles in York.

Also being lost were the 50% discounts that currently apply for the drivers of short cars. These were introduced over a decade ago when small cars like the “Smart” came onto the market. The idea was to reduce the demand for kerbside space. Discounts were available for vehicles under 2.7 metres long.

These disappeared when the new charges were agreed earlier in the year.

They have now mysteriously reappeared in the minutes of a subsequent meeting. It is a shame that the Council were not more open in their debate about discounts. They have still to explain how any ULEV owner could reasonably be expected to recharge their vehicles.

Separately a “scrutiny” report on the vexed subject of ResPark is being presented to an executive meeting next week. The report recommends several changes including larger ResPark areas and electronic enforcement options.

Hyper Hub recharging point plan for York

City of York Council’s Executive will be asked to agree to progress plans to develop rapid charging points – known as Hyper Hubs – for electric vehicles at two locations in the city.

A report that will be considered at a meeting on Monday 18 March explains that the council’s bid for a European Regional Development Fund grant towards the cost of the project has been successful, and also seeks agreement for the initial consultation phase of the project to begin in May.

If the go-ahead is given, Hyper Hubs will be developed adjacent to the Monks Cross and Poppleton Bar Park & Ride sites. The Hyper Hubs will combine solar energy harvesting and storage with electric vehicle charging points, reducing the reliance of electric vehicles on the UK electricity grid and, at the same time, reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

A solar canopy would be erected over approximately 100 car parking spaces, with an energy storage facility located nearby. There would be a number of rapid charging points for use by private car owners, taxi drivers and business users. Depending on the vehicle, a charge could take as little as 15 to 20 minutes.

If approved, the £1.5 million cost of the project will be met using £800,000 of Go Ultra Low funding from the Office of Low Emission Vehicles and £700,000 of European Regional Development Funding. The council is also working to deliver a Hyper Hub with York Hospital.

To find out more about the report, or to attend the Executive meeting, visit: https://democracy.york.gov.uk/ieListMeetings.aspx?CommitteeId=733

Foxwood project gets off to good start

Work has started on tidying up the edges of green areas in Foxwood. Contractors employed by the Residents Association have started work edging paths on the Thanet Road sports area (public section).

The Dickson Park paths were edged earlier in the year.

The contractors will work their way on through the area over the next few days.

Backing for the project has come from the Jewson “Building Better Communities” Fund with a top up from the Westfield Ward committee.

We have asked the Councils highway department to see if they can edge the verges in Foxwood Lane and Bellhouse Way.

We hope that all residents will make a point of trimming back hedges from public footpaths before the bird nesting season starts.

Next up will be our “Spring Clean” programme. Tomorrow (Saturday 9th March) a skip and recycling truck will be located near the Rogers Court parking area. Please note that the facilities are for the use of residents only and that the vehicles will leave as soon as they’re full.

Later in the month we will be joining in the “Great British Spring Clean” programme.

  • Saturday 30 March  – 10.30am – noon meet at Foxwood Lane/Beagle Ridge Drive shops to tidy this area
  • Sunday 7 April – 2pm – 4pm – meet at pumping station on Foxwood Lane to clear Chesney Fields
  • Sunday 14 April – 2pm – 4pm – meet at junction of Herman Walk with Sherringham Drive
  • Monday 15 April – 10.30am – noon – meet at Acomb Wood shops

Edging Herman Walk

Edging pumping station

Edging Thanet Road sports area