Dozens of streets in York have collapsed drains

Extent of repair backlog in York revealedKWW junction Windsor Garth 1

At least 55 streets in York have gulleys which are permanently blocked. The blockages mean that heavy rain is likely to result in extensive ponding and in some cases flooding.

The Council has responded to a Freedom of information request and revealed the list of streets which will be “dug out” this year. (see below)

The Council claims only to have 6 outstanding complaints about long term blocked drains.

However it has received 459 complaints about blocked drains during the last 18 months taking an average of 5.5 days to have the gulleys emptied.

The Council has been criticised for stopping the routine cleaning of most gulleys in the City. Instead they now respond only to complaints.

Heavy rain last month resulted in considerable flooding on highways and footpaths cross the City. It seems that many of the problem areas may not have yet  been added to the Councils list of outstanding work.

The list of locations receiving significant engineering attention this year include:

  1. Ten Thorn Lane
  2. Back Lane
  3. Shipton Road (inside outer Ring Road)
  4. A1237
  5. School Lane
  6. Wetherby Road
  7. Field Lane
  8. Windsor Drive
  9. Hull Road
  10. York Road
  11. Bishopthorpe Road
  12. Wigginton Road
  13. Top Lane
  14. A1237 (Millfield roundabout)
  15. Wetherby Road
  16. Main Street
  17. Weldrake Lane
  18. Karelia and Ashdale Crossing
  19. Long Lane, Heslington
  20. Vicarage Lane
  21. Cow Moor Bridge
  22. The Village, Stockton on Forest
  23. The Village, Strensall
  24. Cleveland Way
  25. Bad Bargain Lane
  26. Moor Lane
  27. Lords Moor Lane
  28. Naburn Lane
  29. Elvington Lane
  30. Grantham Drive
  31. Welland Rise
  32. Beckfield Lane
  33. A1237, Rawcliffe
  34. Hurricane Way
  35. Sitwell Grove
  36. Huntington Road
  37. Front Street
  38. Bishopthorpe Road
  39. Haxby Road
  40. Gray Street
  41. Dauby Lane
  42. School Lane
  43. Malton Road
  44. Shipton Road
  45. Sheriff Hutton Road
  46. Strensall Road
  47. Mill Lane
  48. Corner Close

Newbury Avenue development – new layout proposed. Contamination and drainage concerns

New Newbury development site layout, Click for large maps

New Newbury development site layout, Click for large maps

A new layout plan for the controversial 9 flat development on the garage area off Newbury Avenue has been published.

It is unlikely that many residents will have seen the plan as objectors have not been alerted to the changes.

The new layout increases the number of parking spaces to be provided to 16 with an additional 5 to be located on vacant land at the Newbury Drive/Windsor Garth junction.

This is the junction which is subject to ponding after heavy rain.

Unfortunately at the same time the Council has said that it won’t be acting quickly to deal with the lack of proper parking opposite Carlton House. Vehicles parking on the bend have caused the bus to mount the footpath on several occasions.  It had been hoped that individual driveways for the house would have been provided across the green area with more parking for residents being constructed to the rear of the flats.

Flooding problems on Windsor Garth

Flooding problems on Windsor Garth

There is no news on where the occupants of the garages will park in future. It had been suggested that the Council should provide dropped kerbs/verge crossovers where the 24 garage occupants wanted to construct an alternative parking space in their  gardens. This idea has not yet been taken forward.

The background papers for the development can be accessed by clicking here

The 3 storey buildings will prove eight 2 bedroomed flats and one single bedroomed unit. Access to each will be by an external walkway.

There are some big questions on drainage arrangements which are yet to be satisfactorily answered.

A report from the Councils protection unit concluded “Therefore, there is a plausible possibility that residual contaminants may be present onsite”. This arises from its former use as a waste disposal site in the 1950’s.

In a later objection the Unit expresses concern about methane gas levels in the area and says,

The soil sampling results identified elevated levels of lead, PAHs, arsenic and vanadium. Remedial work is therefore required, in order to ensure that the site is safe and suitable for its proposed use, and a remediation scheme must be submitted for our approval in due course”.

The ground conditions mean that piling will be required in the construction process.

It is expected that the application will be determined at a meeting which is scheduled to take place on 8th October.

Call for York Council to publish information on blocked drains

Windsor Garth

Windsor Garth

Walton Place

Walton Place

Windsor Garth 33 to 53 Windsor Garth Carlton House 2 Windsor Garth close to Ashford Place

Kingsway West

Kingsway West

Gale Lane

Gale Lane

Danesfort Avenue

Danesfort Avenue

Following a couple of weeks of heavy rain problems with the City’s drainage systems have become more obvious. While most publicity has centred on roadside gullies, the lack of regular cleaning of channels in pedestrian areas, on footpaths and in car parks is also a concern.

As we reported earlier this month, the Council has discontinued the routine “emptying” of gullies. They rely on residents to report blockages. In turn, this depends on the Councils – sometimes creaking – customer contact systems.

As the photos show, even after the rains stops, it takes too long for some areas to drain.

The Council has in the past taken some action to alleviate longer term problems. The then LibDem led Council introduced almost a decade ago a programme aimed at dealing with blocked drainage pipes.

In some cases this meant digging out compacted earth while in others concrete run off had blocked some drains. Some roads had to be re-profiled to provide a better run off.  Yorkshire Water – who are responsible for sewers – occasionally have to power wash out their systems, with carelessly discarded cooking fat often blamed for blockages

There has been a move away from non permeable surfaces with new parking areas on many estates now using a matrix style surface to allow natural soak away.

There have been no reports on the quality of drainage systems made to Council committees recently.  Quality of service data is hard to come by.

A Freedom of information request has now been submitted to the Council asking about the number of outstanding drainage complaints and the number of known long term blocked gulleys where significant engineering work is required to remedy the problem.

The Council is being asked how much it will cost to clear blocked gulleys and the timetable for so doing.

The Council has 28 days in which to respond to the information request.


Neglect in City continues

Ouse Bridge 7th August 2014

Ouse Bridge 7th August 2014

A couple of months ago we reported that public service standards in the City had declined.

Ouse Bridge York June 2014

Ouse Bridge York June 2014

One particular problem was weed growth – with Ouse Bridge badly affected.

The weeds were not only a potential threat to the integrity of the bridge but were an eyesore in a particularly sensitive area.

So it is disappointing to find that two months later no action has been taken to address the issue.




Arriva Yorkshire first to secure five star Eco rating

Arriva Yorkshire has become the first bus operator in England to secure a five star Eco Stars rating after signing up to City of York Council’s York Eco Stars fleet recognition scheme.


Arriva bus

Arriva has signed up 15 of their vehicles that operate in the York area to the scheme. This means that 45 operators are now part of the scheme with nearly 3000 vehicles signed up and individually assessed.

The ECO Stars (Efficient and Cleaner Operations) Fleet Recognition Scheme helps York’s fleet operators gain recognition for their commitment to improving efficiency, reducing fuel consumption and reducing emissions – all helping to improve local air quality.

The scheme awards each member a star rating based on an assessment of how ‘clean’ their vehicle fleet is and how they demonstrate good practice in key areas of:

  • · Fuel management
  • · Developing driver skills
  • · Vehicle specification and maintenance
  • · Use of IT support systems
  • · Fleet performance monitoring


Key to the ECO Stars scheme is the bespoke ‘road map’, an action plan developed for each new member to help them take steps to improve their star rating. The ‘road map’ will highlight any issues and advise members on how to combat them, such as alternative fuel or technology that is available.

York first in Yorkshire to get rapid car charging points

York is the first city in Yorkshire to  run rapid car charging points. The rapid charging points can fill a car from flat to 80 per cent charged in just 20 minutes using high power 50kW chargers.

Charging points

Charging points

The rapid chargers will work by using either a swipe card or by downloading a free app, both of which are available from  ‘Charge Your Car’. The charging points are located at the Sports Village and Poppleton Bar (outside electric bus operating hours). They will also support the use of electric buses and taxis in the city.

87% say reopen Woodlands play area

Rowntrees promise early action

Rowntrees play area

87% of residents, responding to the survey that we took in the area a few weeks ago, said that they would like to see the Woodlands play area off Bellhouse Way reopened at least during day light hours at weekends.

10% were undecided on the issue with only 3% opposing the proposal

The equipment has been unavailable for several months now because of health and safety fears.

However many residents have pointed out that young children trying to climb the 2 metre high railings, which surround the play area, are probably at greater risk

The Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust has now responded to the local Residents Association promising that – following some minor works – the area will be reopened within a couple of weeks.

Elsewhere in the Woodlands estate, survey respondents were critical of the mowing arrangements for verges. They had been left uncut for so long that, after cutting, the area resembled a hayfield.

A site meeting to discuss the problem has taken place.

The Trust also plan to do some maintenance work on their shrub beds.

Weeds florish as hedges block footpaths

The weather is only partly responsible for problems with weed growth, hedges blocking footpaths and excessive verge cuttings

Grass cut by Council contractors but hedge left

Grass cut by Council contractors but hedge left

The Council was very late in awarding its maintenance contractor for elderly and disabled tenants this year and the contractors have found it impossible to catch up.

Drains blocked by weds and detritus

Drains blocked by weeds and detritus

The Councils Highways Inspectors seem to have been less effective this year in chasing up residents who allow their hedges or trees to block public footpaths.

Weeds growing everywhere in Acomb

Weeds growing everywhere in Acomb

But perhaps the biggest eyesore is weed growth. In parts of Acomb nettles and thistles are now over a foot high and are clearly damaging footpaths and roads.

Overgorn hedges blocking street signs

Overgrown hedges blocking street signs

We understand that a contract has just been awarded by the Council for the application of weed killer but it is likely to be at least a couple of weeks before all areas are treated (and longer again before the weeds die away)

Overgrown hedges blocking footpaths

Overgrown hedges blocking footpaths

Gulley cleaning – extent of cuts revealed.

Gulley cleaning

Labour run York Council has confirmed that it has reduced by nearly half the number of times that drainage gulleys are cleaned in the City.

In 2010/11, the last year of Liberal Democrat control of the council, there were 38,000 gulley cleans.

In 2013/14, after cuts by Labour in 2012, this was reduced to 20,664.

The reduction has been blamed for increasing problems with so-called ponding and minor flooding on some local streets.

Labour has cut the budget for gulley cleaning by £100,000 or 40% since coming to power, and reduced frontline staff.

Gulley cleaning halved by York Council

Grange Lane - layby close to School Entrance gulley almost blocked with leavesThe Council has confirmed that it has reduced by nearly half the number of times that drainage gulleys are cleaned in the City.

There were approximately 20664 cleans last year compared to 38000 when the LibDems were in control of the Council.

The cuts are blamed by residents for increasing problems with ponding and flooding in some local streets.