Parliament Week to launch with Edna Crichton mini-exhibition

Edna Crichton

Edna Crichton

York’s Libraries and Archives service will be launching Parliament Week 2013, which runs from 15 to 21 November.

The week opens with a mini-exhibition at York Explore Library and Learning Centre looking at York’s first female Lord Mayor, Edna Crichton.

Amongst many other of her life’s stories, the mini-exhibition will place a spotlight on Edna’s first year as Mayor, which was one of the most traumatic in York’s recent history. On the night of 29 April 1942 the city was hit by one of the Baedeker Raids, when 69 bombs rained down on the city with little warning.

The raid resulted in St Martin’s Church on Coney Street being destroyed and the Guildhall suffered a direct hit – when Edna home at the Mansion House at the time.

The programme of events for Parliament Week, which looks to engage residents with Parliamentary Democracy can be picked up from any City of York Council Library or viewed online


Richard III lecture

  • 20th Nov 2013
  • This Parliament Week lecture examines the beginnings of the Council of the North under Richard, the power it wielded, how it was organised, and how it was funded.
  • Location: York Explore
  • Time: 18:30 – 19:30
  • Cost: Free

Before and after the lecture you will have a chance to see the earliest surviving York House Book – the original record of life in York from the period in which Richard was ruling the North of England on behalf of his brother Edward IV.  This is a free event but booking is essential. There will be beverages available on the evening. To book a place visit any City of York Library, telephone 01904 55 28 28, or email

View the full programme of Parliament Week events.

Knavesmire sports pavilion slips 12 months….Community Stadium update

New pavilion design

New pavilion design

The ambitious plans to provide a replacement pavilion on the little Knavesmire for the Hamilton Panthers football team looks like being delayed.

The York Council has set aside £350,000 to part fund the £600,000 project. But it seems that funding from Sport England has been delayed.

The project which will see a new clubhouse and changing rooms built on the site of an old ROC World War II building was given planning permission in 2012.

At that time it was hoped that the new facility would be available for use in early 2014, but this now seems unlikely


The Council is also saying that the new Community Stadium – which will be built on the site of the existing Huntington Stadium – will cost £1.85 million this year.

The total cost is now put at £18.6 million

It is unclear how the council intends to recover it’s investment (now thought to be around £4 million) or whether it includes the capitalised salaries of those who are working on the project.

It is understood that formal bids for the construction of the stadium will be considered in January, with the hope that construction will be completed in 2016.

The project is running 2 years behind schedule.

Labour plan to abandon community centres in York

The latest in a long list of poor decisions by the Labour Council could see four community centres in York close.

The provisional budget for next year sees all the community centres (Chapelfields , Foxwood , Tang Hall , and Bell Farm) lose their Council grants.

Typically a community centre costs around  £50,000 a  year to run with most income generated from hiring rooms.

The Council are to cut their financial support entirely leaving some of the centres with a 5 figure budget deficit.

Already the community centre caretakers have been issued with redundancy notices (although they are likely to be redeployed within the Council).

The Council says that it wishes to see the buildings transferred into the ownership of a voluntary committee with a community asset transfer by April 2015

This seems to be what has prompted the Tang Hall centre to announce that it is changing the legal status of its voluntary committee.

The voluntary committees undertake a thankless task and deserve Council support.

The Foxwood and Chapelfields centres depend  entirely on the resources of  local residents to continue, while Tang Hall was only kept going when Labour Councillors were parachuted into key roles.

Burton Stone community centre future unclear

Burton Stone community centre future unclear

Burton Stone is a larger building and its future is much more unclear.

Without caretakers, the buildings will be closed to general callers reducing their use as a focal point for neighbourhood communications. One Community Centre (Tang Hall) has already leased office space to an outside organisation.

All the Community Centres are located in what the Council regards as “deprived areas” .

The Council hopes to save £180,000 through the cuts. Most of this will come from the Burton Stone centre.

NB. The Council is planning to spend £1.6 million hosting just one day of the Tour De France cycle race.

Click here to download a full list of proposed cuts (see ref Can 12)

Illuminating York makes comeback


This year’s Illuminating York event is proving to be popular with residents and visitors alike.

After a slow start (probably the result of the bad publicity following last years poor show) ticket sales are increasing.

This despite the increase in prices with children being discouraged from attending the paid for events at Cliffords Tower and in the Museum Gardens.

The Councils budget for the event is understood to be £175,000 with the Arts Council contributing £73,000 of this.

Budget click to enlarge

Budget click to enlarge

Free events like the illuminated A4 locos at the railway Museum are very popular.

Until 2011, the costs of the event were all covered by sponsorship. The new Labour Council introduced admission charges although the total costs of staging the event remained broadly the same.

The event continues tonight (Friday) and tomorrow (Saturday)

Ticket details can be found here.

The Aesthetica Short Film Festival York 2013

In recent years audiences have come to expect more from cinema with innovative screenings popping up across the UK, from Secret Cinema to films watched from hot tubs. For those looking to adventure this autumn, the third Aesthetica Short Film Festival in York, sponsored by York St John, is one of the most exciting site-specific cinematic experiences in the UK.

With screenings taking place in a host of hidden locations across the city, you can expect to find something surprising around every corner. Slip down one of York’s many snickleways to discover a stunning medieval hall and in amongst the banqueting tables watch documentaries from all corners of the world. Or why not take a walk around the city walls to catch films screening in a tower above the city? 15 historic venues lead visitors on a journey around the city’s most iconic places whilst introducing them to memorable independent short film.

There is something for everyone at ASFF from comedy, drama, animation, music video, art, experimental and even a family-friendly programme for parents who can’t get away for the weekend. For those wishing to involve themselves further, masterclasses from BAFTA, Film4, Channel 4, and one of screenwriting’s most talked about talents Alice Lowe (Ben Wheatley’s recent hit Sightseers) dispense industry tips.

York Council’s £3.5 million payment to local Universities

The York Council has released details of the payments that it has made to local Universities over the last 4 years.

Click to download full list

Click to download full list

In total, payments of around £3.5 million have been made although the vast majority of this (£3 million) was a grant to York University for the provision of a County Standard swimming pool. The scheme – part of the new “sports village” on Hull Road – was agreed after the Barbican pool closed and was paid for from the proceeds of the sale of the land there.

In total £192,519 has been paid to St Johns University. The largest payments were made to an anti bullying campaign although the University receives significant payments from taxpayers for the “Higher York” organisation.

The University of York fee payments range from £170,000 paid for the York Cares organisation (which managess voluntary projects in the City) to £850 for a speaker at a “women’s development session”.

All Council expenditure is now being closely scrutinised following the decision of the Labour Leadership to remove winter salt bins from key foopath locations in the City.

The bins cost only £50 a time to fill.

NB. At the last Council meeting the Labour Leadership revealed that it will pay £31,000 to York Athletics Club as a sweetener to move out of the Huntington Stadium. It had been intended to provide a replacement athletics facility at the sports village but Labour now propose to fund the refurbishment of the existing University athletics field.

Park and Ride site to be used for fireworks display?

The Council has approved a licensing application which could see the Rawcliffe Bar car park used for open air entertainment events.

It transpires that this may include the “Kaboom” fireworks display scheduled to take place on 3rd November.

Why the Council should leave the licensing application, until only a couple of weeks before the event is scheduled to take place, will be a cause for speculation..

Touch Rugby League World Cup tournament at Energise on Sunday 24 November

City of York Council is encouraging residents to enter a brand new touch rugby competition ahead of the Rugby League World Cup which starts this week.

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

City of York Council, in partnership with Energise and York City Knights, will host a Touch Rugby League World Cup tournament at Energise on Sunday 24 November, just one week before the World Cup final, and is inviting teams of six to sign up and take part.

Entries to the six-a-side competition cost just £12 and allows for a maximum of two substitutes.

Registration closes on Monday 18 November. To register, teams should contact Dean Sharp from City of York Council’s Sport and Active Leisure Team on 01904 553377 or by emailing

Extra noise patrols in York in run up to Bonfire Night

Bonfire night can be fun for all, but if it creates nuisance to neighbours, the council can take enforcement action. That’s the message from City of York Council this autumn.

Midsummer bonfire against a night sky, moon

The council is reminding residents that garden waste can be disposed of by composting, recycling or through the green bin rather than heaping it on a bonfire – especially if it’s damp. Gardeners can use a topical check list of bonfire night do’s and don’ts relevant at any time of year:

• It’s best to burn materials when they are dry

• Household rubbish, rubber tyres or anything containing plastic foam or paint should never be burned and should be disposed of at York’s household waste recycling centres

• Never use engine oil, meths or petrol to light the fire

• Try and light fires when light wind will carry smoke away from your neighbours

Thanks to funding from the Safer York Partnership, the council will be running extra noise patrols to help tackle the problems of excessive bonfire smoke and noise in the days surrounding the event.

The council has put together a helpful list of do’s and don’ts for bonfire night events, but it will also be happy to offer practical advice to those holding their own fireworks events, if require d.

We will be running extra patrols on 5 November to help tackle any potential problems. Residents can call the council’s environmental protection unit (EPU) on 01904 551555.

Extra noise patrols will run on:

Thursday 31 October, 10pm-1am

Friday 1 November, 9pm-3am

Saturday 2 November, 9pm-3am

Sunday 3 November, 6-11pm

Thursday 5 November, 10pm-1am

Residents can contact the EPU on:

There is more information on bonfires at:

No surprises on Tour de France route – Labour Councillor on “freebie” to Paris?

There were no surprises when the route that the Tour de France will take though York was revealed today in Paris.

click for enteractive map

click for enteractive map

The route will start from the Racecourse on Sunday 6th July taking in the City centre before leaving the City via Bootham, Clifton Bridge and Boroughbridge Road and making its way to Harrogate and Sheffield.

York taxpayers are already set to get a bill for over £1.4 million for the stage two depart event.

There were no surprises either when it was revealed that another Labour Councillor jumped at the chance to visit Paris today for the, somewhat less than historic, announcement of “Le route”.

This time is it was Cllr Tracey Simpson Laing, who represents the Acomb Ward, who took the opportunity to top up her air miles.

The trip came only a couple of days after the Council decided to scrap 12 self help salt bins in the Acomb ward (see list below)

These bins would have cost £600 to fill with salt this winter.

NB. Co-incidentally, the cost of 2 airline tickets from Leeds/Bradford to Paris return is around £500. Eurostar is a bit cheaper.

The Acomb Ward salt bins being scrapped by the Council are located at: