Playground petition gains over 200 signatures

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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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Mayfield Grove open space “tug of war” climaxes on Friday

Mayfield Grove nature reserve

Mayfield Grove nature reserve

The public open space in Mayfield Grove has been the victim of a “tug of war” between two potential management organisations for several years.

In one corner is the Chase Residents Association. As local people with a stake in the neighbourhood they would be a natural partner for the Council in maintaining and improving the area.

In the other corner is the pan City “York Natural Environment Trust” (YNET)

Despite mediation, the two groups have not been able to reach a joint agreement and now on Friday Cllr Dave Merrett will be asked to choose which will be trusted with the management of this attractive informal area.

Ironically part of the Labour Councils policy is to divest themselves of maintenance responsibilities for amenity areas.

The report to Fridays meeting says, “To achieve this, the council was ideally looking for community groups to take on the responsibility where the council faces significant financial pressure and resources are stretched at this time. This approach was also seen as the route to achieving wider benefits; an emphasis on nature conservation and providing a green space amenity for the benefit of local residents and the wider York community, as agreed at the 8 March 2012 decision session”.

In many areas residents are understandably reluctant to take on responsibilities which they feel should be covered by their Council Tax payments.

It is ironic therefore that in this case, where there is a willing residents group wishing to adopt the land, they are in danger of being pushed out by a pressure group.

The report talks of deriving some income from the pond use (taken to be fishing rights) to offset costs.

One option being considered is for the Council to retain responsibility for the area and then work with the community groups on an informal basis.

Road works in York – “where they are” web site launched

York road works map

York road works map

A new web site has been launched which claims to list all current road works taking place in York (and,indeed,the UK).

It includes all statutory undertakings (telephones, water, power etc), not just the Council.

How accurate it will prove to be remains to be seen, but you can check it out at the following web site http://roadworks.org/

Jungle drums in Otterwood Lane as grass remains uncut

Otterwood Lane "jungle"

Otterwood Lane “jungle”

The recent improved weather has accelerated the rate of growth of grass and weeds. Some hedges are also now blocking public footpaths

Verge cutting

In Otterwood Lane the amenity area has still to receive its first cut of the year. While this area has traditionally not been cut until late May to give the daffodils time to die back, the grass has now reached 2 feet high in some places.

As we warned (see right) the Councils policy of reduced grass cutting will affect the appearance of local neighbourhoods.

Leaking salt bin

Leaking salt bin

Also neglected are the salt bins – left out for the second successive year – which are now eyesores, damaged by vandals or full of litter.

Almost everywhere weed growth is now a major problem in street gutters. Left untreated the weeds will eventually damage the surface of roads, footpaths and drains.

By June each year, the Council has usually announced when the first application of weed killer will be applied. There has been no such information issued to residents this year.

Weed growth in gutters

Weed growth in gutters


We urge all residents to report problems to the Council

• email, ycc@york.gov.uk,

• telephone (01904) 551550, Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5.30pm or

• by using the online servicing facility

Overgrown hedges

Overgrown hedges

There are also options which can be used via a smart phone.

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

York residents on consultation overload

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After 2 years with virtually no consultation with residents, York is heading towards an overdose this month.

The latest is asking about how the City centre should look and be preserved.

Other consultations taking place at present include:

20 mph city wide speed limit. Deadline for receipt of objections 21st June 2013 www.york20mph.org Alternative view

Local Plan & the Green Belt — Deadline 31st July. www.york.gov.uk/local plan Alternative view

New ward boundaries (Boundary Commission). Deadline 5th August http://tinyurl.com/Wards-June-2013 Alternative view:

The new consultation talks about the importance of having a “fully accessible” City. The consultation runs for eight-weeks until Wednesday 31 July.

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York residents unhappy with Council’s ice and snow clearance policies

30 days hath September, April, June and November all the rest have 31 save February which has 28 and January which has 80 (and rising)

Damaged salt bin Cornlands Road

Damaged salt bin Cornlands Road

Residents responding to a survey carried out in the Westfield ward, have criticised the York Councils winter maintenance performance.

57% were disappointed with icy weather arrangements.

An overwhelming 97% felt that the Council should top up all salt bins at the beginning of winter.

This winter – for the first time- the Council only filled some of the local salt bins and had to be forced by public opinion to fill the rest around the middle of January.

Unfortunately the bins had been left out over the summer period and many had been damaged. Lids were missing from some of them while many of the rest had become informal litter bins.

We believe that the Council should recover all the bins this summer and repair them.

Then they should make sure that they are out on the streets again, and full, before the icy winter weather starts.

Horses United 1 Dog & Cat Rovers 0

horse dog

Coming soon after the Council announced that it would be scrapping the specialist animal welfare (formerly dog warden) officer patrols, it has decided to appoint a “horse bailiff”.

The move comes after numerous complaints about horses straying onto private land and being the cause of several road traffic accidents.

The Cabinet is set to approve a “protocol” next week

The plan will cost Council tax payers £40,000 a year to implement

LibDems “Green Deal” project will aid over 1000 low income York residents

Vulnerable residents in York could be offered additional grant funding towards their energy bills over the next three years and beyond, if Labour Councillors endorse a Liberal Democrat policy which is being considered by the local “Cabinet” on 2nd April.

We hope that they will.

Hopefully local anti poverty campaigners will also welcome the news (and say so publicly!)

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The “Green Deal” fulfils another pledge contained in the Liberal Democrat 2010 election manifesto which said, we will “offer a home energy improvement package … paid for by the savings from lower energy bills”. For background click here.

The Green Deal is one of the Government’s flagship initiatives which will operate by providing energy efficiency and other works at no up-front cost to the householder across all tenures and businesses.

Details can be found by clicking here

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Labour back down on Green Bin Tax – but a second bin will cost £35 to empty!

The Liberal Democrat campaign to stop Labour introducing a charge for emptying green bins has been successful.

A report to the Councils Cabinet says that there will be no charge for emptying one bin at each property.

Green bin petition

However the service will not be available between November and March (when less than 17% of green waste is collected). The Council hopes to save around £67,000 by discontinuing this part of the service.

A survey undertaken by the Council revealed that only 14.5% support a charge. That compares to 96% who responded to our survey in the Westfield area who were opposed to a charge.

There are over 5000 additional green bins in use at properties with large gardens. The Council hopes that around 3500 residents will pay £35 a year to have these second bins emptied.

The majority of respondents to the Councils survey supported having a combined food and green waste collection. In other parts of the country this has reduced landfill volumes by 15% and officers are to look further at how this could be introduced in York.

The Council is also to close the Towthorpe recycling centre on one day a week. It appears that they have still not learnt the lesson that closing the Beckfield Lane centre should have taught them (inconvenience means increased landfill volumes).

The Council claim that their online/telephone survey attracted about 1000 responses.

It was attacked as misleading as it failed to explain that changes to the current arrangements would have been unnecessary if the Council had decided to scrap some of its more extravagant plans like establishing an “arts barge” on the Ouse.