Coronavirus York updates; 28th July 2021

Hospital patients and deaths

Hospital patient numbers are continuing to rise with four people now in intensive care. During past waves of the virus, hospital patient numbers have tended to peak about 3 weeks after case numbers reached their maximum.

Taking the start date of the present infection wave as 1st June 2021, there has been one COVID related death of a York resident recorded since then (the hospital death figures above cover a wider geographical area).

The cumulative death toll among York residents remains at 379 following the publication by the government of an update covering the period ending 16th July 2021

Test results

87 positive test results today. Brings the cumulative total to 17,049

Case numbers have reduced by 114; from 749 to 635

The rate /100k population has fallen to 301.51.

The reduction in case numbers is largely following the pattern seen in January. This levelled off after two or three weeks. The decline then became slower for a couple of months. There are early signs that the present sharp reduction in the number of cases in the City may also become less pronounced as we move into August.


Only 4 neighbourhoods with very high infection rates now. Case numbers are reducing in each of them


474 vaccinations were completed yesterday (Tuesday)


  • 7513 PCR tests were completed during the week ending 23rd July.
  • Of these, 9.1% were positive. That is less than the 10.2% positivity found during the previous week.
  • In addition, 1873 “lateral flow” tests were completed on 27th July 2021

Made me laugh!

Decision on future of Castle car park

Ayres rock plan

The government have announced today plans to fund improvements to the area next the Clifford’s Tower. They are responding to a York Council campaign to create a “world class open space” on the area currently occupied by a car park.

Taking inspiration from another world class open space – the Australian outback – a multi storey car park would be established on the land. It would be cleverly designed to look like a natural rock outcrop and would provide a nostalgic destination for tourists from “down under”.

Ayres Rock York” would incorporate other features aimed at addressing the responses to recent consultations. Many were concerned about the Arts. The proposals include;

· Performing arts -Kylie Minogue recordings would be played 24/7

· Live performances –   “Nigel Ayres greatest speech” at least once a month (may not be amplified).

· Re-enactments – Australian tourists would be issued with boomerangs which could be hurled at their Pommie equivalents manning the top of Cliffords Tower. (The issuing of spears to English tourists is under consideration)

· Visual arts – Aboriginal art found on a railway bridge in Holgate will be relocated

Cyclists are not forgotten. An ingenious lift – using waterpower from the adjacent river Foss – would haul cyclists to the summit of the rock. From there they would hurtle down a specially designed ramp which incorporates an upward curve at the end. Scientists estimate that nearly 99% would land on the other side of the river, thereby removing the need to build an expensive bridge.

Consultations are ongoing with the representatives of disabled groups about allowing mobility scooter drivers to use the launch ramp.

Further consultation on the plan will take place over the next year at which time an entirely different set of proposals will be tabled.

NB. The “My Castle Gateway” project has been renamed to “My Castle Outback”.  Castle Outback have commented that concluding consultation on the  Ayres Rock plans within 12 months will be “extremely challenging”.


Deans Park reopens


From 10am today Dean’s Park will reopen in the heart of York. Please respect the guidelines currently in place across the country, protect yourselves & others where possible, and enjoy your visit

The Park will remain open 10am-6pm 7 days a week.

For the health and safety of others, the Minster reminds all visitors that ball games, smoking and dogs are not permitted in the park

York Minster remains closed but it is broadcasting services via You Tube and Zoom.

There is pressure now for the remaining closed central area park – Museum Gardens – also to reopen.

Council launches day classes for urban foxes

Photography has proved popular with urban foxes in west York

The York Council will provide a series of courses today aimed at integrating urban foxes more fully into the community. A range of classes have been arranged with photography already proving to be a particularly popular option

A Council spokesman said, ” we need to recognise that urban foxes help to keep down vermin. But they also have educational and social needs.”

The programme is being backed by the Foxwood Residents Association

The course will run today at West Offices until 12:00 noon.

New York boundary signs to be installed

West York pressing for hard border down centre of river Ouse in attempt to get fair share of Council budget.

New York boundary signs are to be erected. They replace the existing 9 signs which are now 22 years old. An additional sign is to be provided near Sutton.

Each boundary sign will depict a different aspect of York on the reverse, with images chosen in collaboration with Make It York. The preferred design is  is shown below.

Final installation is subject to planning permission.

 The current advertiser, York St John University, has confirmed they will continue to support advertising on the new signage.


Secret land deal at “Lowfields Green”

The Council has revealed that it has done a deal to sell 0.74 acres of land to Yorspace at the Lowfield school site.

The land is located next to Tudor Road and is expected to accommodate a high-density development of 19 houses and flats. The communal living style model involves people purchasing shares in a “Mutual Home Ownership Society”.

A report, made public only after a decision had been taken says, “It is a high-density development, to reflect its sustainable objectives, and will also include a community building which can be used for events, as well as some shared outdoor communal areas and growing spaces. As part of the groups green objectives, they are aiming for around 1-1.5 parking spaces per house. The site will be constructed using a variety of environmentally friendly materials and processes, possibly including straw bale and solar”.

The report also says, “As part of the agreement they may also take on the management of the growing spaces and some green areas of the Lowfield site and will run them for the wider community’s benefit”.

The council is refusing to say how much the land will be sold for nor will it say what the market value of the land is.

It is clear that a substantial discount has been negotiated.

It appears that the Council is not stipulating that the plots should be reserved for use by  local people with a proven need for cheap accommodation (e.g. on the housing waiting list &/or key workers).

Yorspace plans

The Council has already changed its plans for the relocation of the football team which currently uses the Lowfields playing field.

In December, they were supposed to be relocated to Tadcaster Road. Last month the Council said they were considering fencing off Chesneys Field to accommodate them.

That announcement produced a barrage of opposition from the current users of Chesneys Field.

Residents opposed fencing the public open space by a ratio of 3:1 in a recent door to door survey.

The decision to sell off the land to Yorspace  was taken last week by the Councils Director of Health, Housing and Adult Social Care (Jon Stonehouse), at a private, behind closed doors, meeting.

There was no consultation with affected residents before the meeting was held.

York council meetings seek Salvation Army help

 Meetings of the city’s councillors will be held in the Citadel while the Guildhall receives a £12 million refit.

For the next two years the Council will meet at the former premises of the Salvation Army on Gillygate.

The Council says,”The Guildhall officially closes on 30 September to prepare for the construction works.

The Citadel, the former home of York’s Salvation Army now owned by York City Church, is a fully accessible city-centre venue and will continue to be open to the public for full council meetings.

The next full council meeting takes place on 26 October”.

Hopes are high in the City that the Salvation Army influence will improve quality of decision making by the Council. 


30 young people in York to be stripped of housing benefit


Over 30  young people in York central constituency will be affected by the Conservative government’s decision to strip 18-21 year olds of housing benefit, research by the House of Commons library commissioned by the Liberal Democrats has shown.

In total 18,000 young people across the country expected to be affected. The Liberal Democrats have committed to reverse the cuts, which came into force at the beginning of this month.

York is already suffering from  homelessness, with official figures showing there  were 18 rough sleepers in 2016. Charities have warned that stripping 18-21 year-olds of housing benefits could push more young people onto the streets while research has shown it is likely to cost taxpayers more than it saves.


Figures from the House of Commons library showing the number of 18-21 year olds in receipt of Housing Benefit who will be impacted can be found here (link)

The latest figures on rough sleeper by local authority can be found here (link)

Charities have warned the policy will risk pushing thousands more young people onto the streets. Research by Heriot Watt University has claimed the policy will save just £3 million. This means if just 140 more young people were made homeless, the policy would actually cost taxpayers more money overall than it saves. (link)