Thursday 17th June 2021
Acomb Explore Library, Front Street
Stories and songs at Acomb Explore
Thursday 17th June 2021
Acomb Explore Library, Front Street
Stories and songs at Acomb Explore
York Library is beginning to gets its events programmes sorted out for the post pandemic world.
Their poetry access sessions have been a popular choice in the past
We reported a few weeks ago that Council owned land to the rear of Acomb Library – and which had been hijacked for use as a building compound – was now available once again for its original purpose.
The and had been purchased by the Council over 10 years ago to establish a “one stop shop” for public services as part of a plan to expand the library site. The need for a local Council base became more urgent when the Acomb Housing Office was subsequently closed in 2013.
Nothing much happened on the site until the new Liberal Democrat led Council announced a plan to invest £4 million in the library sites at Acomb and Clifton. That was two years ago. Things once again have fallen silent in the interim.
It appears though, from a progress report being considered by the Council next week, that plans for the site have already been drawn up.
No public consultation has taken place and the Front Street survey – which ended a few days ago – failed to offer any options for the library site.
The original aspiration was for housing estate managers, the police, the NHS and neighbourhood workers to have a base at the new building. It remains to be seen whether this concept will be pursued.
In the interim the Council has constructed a new small housing office as part of the Lincoln Court redevelopment.
The land to the rear of Chancery Court (not Council owned) would have been landscaped as part of the project.
It was hoped that many more residents would make use of the Front Street facility as a result of the new investment. It would become a natural “hub” for the local community.
Apparently, the early plans for the site have been costed at £3 million. They are currently being scaled back to something “more affordable”.
The recently opened new library at Burnholme cost £4.6 million.
The Council needs to engage with potential users of facilities like these before plans are firmed up.
Businesses, residents and visitors are being asked what they love and what they’d like to change about Acomb’s Front Street.
The consultation is the much delayed opportunity to help with the regeneration of the Front Street area.
The council committed to a £50,000 investment in Front Street, one of the city’s most important shopping areas, before the pandemic brought about even larger challenges to high streets across the UK.
Acomb’s Front Street plays a vital role in the community and the wider city, and is home to many established and well-loved local independent retailers and community spaces. It has a lower than national average proportion of empty units, with occupancy rates bucking the UK trend by increasing significantly in the last three years.
The council is now asking for views which will help to keep Front Street at the heart Acomb’s economy and community.
The Council says that last year “we postponed the survey because of Covid-19. Your views in the survey will be used to create a ‘brief’ of community ideas which we can check with local people before the council executive decides what improvements to make”.
500 residents have already had a new COVID-secure knock on their door from IdB, a market research company working with the council. The council is working alongside IdB to ask for feedback and ideas from a diverse and representative cross section of Acomb residents. The surveys will be dropped with residents in a sterile bag, along with gloves, an antiviral wipe and a return bag. The market researcher will then return later that day to collect the questionnaire.
Residents can also get involved by:
The development to the rear of the Acomb Library (Bowling Lane) is almost complete with most of the homes now occupied.
The Council owned site, currently being used as a builders yard, will shortly close opening the way for a start to be made on the long awaited upgrade to the Acomb Library.
The Council has a budget of £2 million allocated in each of the next two years (starting on 1/4/21) to provide “Centres of Learning and Opportunity for all” at Acomb & Clifton libraries.
Plans to provide a “one stop shop” for public services at Acomb Explore date back over a decade and the land to the rear of South View Terrace was purchased by the Council (from a local builder) with the intention of improving the whole area.
Sadly, that intention stalled, and the land became overgrown. It was a major missed regeneration opportunity.
The “Lockdown” period has provided Council officials with adequate time to refined their proposals for the site and we expect to see public consultation starting shortly.
We do not want building activity in the area to continue for longer than is essential, so some drive and enthusiasm is now required.
The publication of a draft development timetable would be a good start.
With half-term coming up York Library have some special treats for children of all ages.
Storyteller John Kirk is going to be appearing on YouTube live with an exclusive telling of Roald Dahl’s The Twits on 24 October and again with Spooky Stories for Halloweenies on 31 October.
The sessions are free, but people need to register to receive the YouTube link see below.
Our partners at Hoglets have created 6 exclusive online storytimes for the under-fives featuring stories from around the world for children, every Tuesday morning from 27 October on our YouTube channel.
We have a page on our website dedicated to bringing you information about reading, fun and learning for children and families, including our Bloodaxe Challenge in partnership with the Jorvik Viking Centre, Mumbler’s Halloween Train and online stories and activities.
It isn’t just the Community Stadium (see story below) that is lying unused at Monks Cross.
The £12 million gym, swimming pool and outdoor all-weather sports pitches are also still under wraps.
Around £14 million of taxpayers money has been used to subsidise the complex on top of which were “developer” contributions of over £15 million (click).
The expectation was that the site would provide several hundred additional jobs for York – opportunities which look to be even more important as the post COVID-19 recession hits employment levels in the City.
Other sports and swimming facilities in the City reopened on 10th August (click).
The IMAX cinema recently reopened and two adjacent units have been taken up by a bowling alley/café (Hollywood Bowl) and an indoor putting green (Putstars). Opening dates haven’t been confirmed.
Both had been scheduled to open in April. Together they will create about 60 jobs.
Elsewhere the Council hasn’t issued any update on the progress made in letting the floor-space in the building that they have underwritten.
Three of the 4 nearby café units are now vacant following the demise of Frankie and Benny’s.
Costa Coffee remains open.
The has similarly been no word on the plans for a library and the NHS outpatient unit.
The Council will be asked on 24th July to list the New Earswick and District Indoor Bowls Club, Huntington Road, Huntington, York as an asset of community value.
The same meeting is already scheduled to consider a similar request relating to the Murton Arms Public House.
The Executive Member will be asked to make a decision on whether the above listed property should be added to the list of assets of community value.
If they are added to the list then the community will have 6 months in which to put together a bid to buy the properties should they come onto the market.
The library managers say that things will look a little different for a while. From some of our libraries you will be able to:
Libraries These libraries are open from 7 July Tuesday to Saturday for pre-booked visits.
All venues will have safety measures in place to protect customers and staff.
Libraries mask production initiative
Explore is supporting a fantastic initiative using 3D printers to print safety visors to a design used across Europe and distributing them to frontline workers in York. The project is being led in York by two of Explore Labs digital makers.
Working as a collective they are mobilising local makers to use their skills and equipment to support frontline workers in the fight against Covid-19. Explore York has loaned the project three 3D printers and there is a network of at least 50 more printers today from a standing start of just two printers a week ago.
If you or your organisation know of anyone who can help with equipment, advice or skills please get in touch via the Facebook group 3D Printed Visors for Frontline workers York AREA
If you have a 3D-Printer and want to get involved, email email@example.com with ‘I have a 3D printer’ in the subject line.
If you live in York or the surrounding area and need a visor, email firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘visor please’ in the subject line. If you don’t live in York they will try and help you find a 3D-Printing group in your area.
Green waste, composting and hedges
The Council is urging residents not to fly tip or burn green waste during the current crisis.
Unfortunately there is still no mechanism, where those with mainly hard-surfaced gardens, can get composting containers. This was raised with the Council several weeks ago when the possibility of the green waste collections being suspended was first highlighted.
With the growing season now upon us, we expect to see the Council issuing advice to the owners of hedges bordering public footpaths to keep them trimmed back. This is essential to assist in implementing the social distancing guidelines
NB Waste crews are working as normal this Easter bank holiday to collect household waste and recycling.
Coronavirus response live stream
Four of the leaders of North Yorkshire’s police, fire and crime response to the Coronavirus pandemic will give an and take questions from residents and businesses, in a live broadcast tomorrow (Tuesday 7 April):
North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan will lead the live update with:
People are invited to watch the meeting from 1.30pm on Tuesday on YouTube and submit questions in advance by emailing email@example.com, posting on Twitter using the hashtag #NYScrutiny or commenting on Facebook. Not all questions will be able to be used, but they will inform the Commissioner’s questioning and the general discussion.