Some strange Council responses to problems

Some reports of highway defects are being knocked back with “no further action required” responses this year.

One of the deficiencies of the Councils “report it on line” system is that no reason for inaction is given. There was a time when a pothole might go unfilled because it didn’t meet what were styled “the Councils intervention level”. Basically they weren’t judged to be deep enough.

Eventually frost damage would, of course, ensure that it did become bad enough to justify filling.

But there are some very uneven roads which are, perversely, being judged as safe these days

Morrell Court access road potholes which are not judged to require attention

Council officials are also reluctant to send warning letters to drivers who have damaged verges, even when it is obvious who is responsible,

Verges need hard-surfacing to prevent damage

One piece of better news, with local Councillors reporting that work on finishing drainage work on the Osprey Close footpath will recommence shortly. The footpath may be diverted around the worst of the mud with further repairs to the land drains taking place when the area dries out.

Public Right of Way blocked at top of Osprey Close

Graffiti , bins and footpaths reported

The Council is dealing promptly now with graffiti reports. The new system seems to be working well.

Graffiti on litter bin on little Hob Moor
Graffiti on a utility box also on little Hob Moor. Reports like these are passed on to the utility company but there is rarely a quick response. We think that the utility companies should ask the Council to clean the boxes on a rechargeable basis.
Footpaths in Newbury Avenue need reconstructing now that the new bungalows are almost ready for occupation. The damaged verge on the Newbury Avenue/Kingsway West junction needs to be repaired at the same time.
We’ve reported the full poop scoop bin at the entrance to Acomb Wood
Still waiting to hear when the public footpath at the top of Osprey Close will be reinstated. A local Councillor is now on the case.

Tudor Road choked with building site trucks.

Residents posting on the Save Lowfields Playing Field Facebook group ( https://www.facebook.com/LowfieldsActionGroup/ ) are reporting chaotic scenes this morning as large trucks queue on Tudor Road to gain access to the site.

There have been problems with congestion as the trucks arrived as pupils were making there way to school. Tudor Road is relatively narrow and is on a bus route.

Neither the contractors nor the Council have said how many large vehicle journeys can be expected at this entrance each day and to what timescales.

One of the objections, to the planning application for the development of the site, related to safety concerns about the Gale Lane/Tudor Road junction.

The York Council claimed that the junction had the capacity to deal with extra movements but many residents remain sceptical.

Council progress on Public Rights of Way

A council report says that all but one outstanding applications, for a Public Rights of Way in the City, have now been processed for a decision.

Council barriers used to obstruct public right of way

Unfortunately the outstanding application is the one for Acomb Moor (the link from Foxwood Lane to Osprey Close).

The Council promised to determine this by the end of February.

Following our story yesterday, were advised that the Osprey Close footpath obstruction has resulted from drainage works undertaken in the area.

The residents association is pressing local Councillors to provide a hardcore surface to ensure that walkers can at least get past the mud.

In that respect the path provided by the Council for the Hawkshead Close access into the wood.

Leaf detritus needs to be swept from Osprey Close footpaths

NB. We’ve asked for the Osprey Close area to be swept to remove tree detritus and the remains of last years weed growth which can still be found in some gutters.

Some weeds still obstructing drainage gullies.

Council blocks popular footpath link

Over the last few days contractors have been working on the Council owned section of Acomb Wood near the top of Osprey Close.

They put some hard core down near the entrance gate (good) but they have left a large spoil heap blocking the popular footpath access to the wood.

They have also erected Council owned barriers on the PROW footpath link to Acomb Moor and Foxwood Lane beyond.

As well as the spoil heap, the actions of a tractor have reduced the path to an impassable quagmire. A spectacularly bad time of year to undertaken work like this.

It is unclear who is responsible for the work (the farmer has a right of access but he usually accesses his field direct from Askham Lane).

Paths in the Council owned section of Acomb Wood get very muddy. Their condition contrast with the well maintained – by volunteers – section of the wood on the other side of the road.

Only the Council would have any reason to work on this land – which is a publicly owned amenity area – but to do so without any warning or consultation is remarkably insensitive.

The residents association are planning to discuss the issue at their meeting next week.

There is scope for putting down hardcore on other sections of the popular footpath which goes through the Council owned part of Acomb Wood and which gets very muddy in places.

More recycling put out today than Council could collect

Street cleansing issues also increase following holiday break

The Council says that the volume of recycling put out today on the west of the City exceeded the capacity of its collection vehicles. Their waste update website can be viewed by clicking here They hope to catch up tomorrow(Wednesday)

We’ve submitted numerous reports of litter across the area. This may partly be due to insecure recycling arrangements. 

Hopefully residents will help to get the area looking smart again by undertaken  some volunteer litter picks.

Hedges – A good time to check if they need trimming

There were a lot of problems during the summer with hedges obstructing public paths. In some cases, the obstructions were caused by Council owned trees and bushes. The jury is still out on whether new processes and budget allocations announced earlier this week will result in an improvement during 2020.

Hedges on the boundary of private gardens and the public highway (including foot and cycle paths) are the responsibility of the hedge owner. Home occupiers must ensure that the highway is kept clear of obstructions at all times

Obstructions can be a significant problem for some users. The partially sighted are at a particular risk and cyclists being “swiped” by stray branches can lead to more serious accidents.

In some cases thorn buses like brambles and roses overhang paths representing an added hazard.

Thorn bush branches at eye height are a particular risk

Sadly, like the problems with damage to verges, in recent years the Council has been tardy in ensuring that hedges are cut back from paths. They do have enforcement powers which have been used in the past to force action. In extreme cases hedges have been cut back to the path line after notice periods have expired. The owners were charged for the work.

No such notices have been issued recently.

Of course, some occupiers may not be physically able to cut badly overgrown hedges. It has been suggested that this is a service area that a “not for profit” start-up could usefully exploit. There are already several local gardening companies which offer trimming services.

Even the Councils own cycle tracks were obstructed last summer

With leaves now off trees and hedges, winter is the optimum time to deal with long standing problems. This needs to be done before the start of the bird nesting season.

The Council also has powers to require its tenants to cut garden hedges as do social landlords.

We have advocated for some time the appointment of a paths supervisor who could trim back Council owned hedges and initiate action against irresponsible neighbours who cause obstructions. We hope that the Council will fund such a post in its new budget.

We hope to see some well publicised action from West Offices over the next few weeks.

Issues reported in west York today

Hedges need cutting back during winter
More potholes
Snickets need sweeping
Verges need tidying up and damaged equipment replaced.
Fly tipping needs removing
Another one for the new graffiti removal team
Acomb Moor damaged stile still not repaired. We understand that local Councillors are dealing
Council bus shelters are filthy

Dumping and litter blights nature area

“Investment in waste and environment services to include additional staffing on waste rounds, improved city centre cleaning and effective weed control”. That’s what the York Council is promising in their newly published budget for next year.

In total – over two years – an additional £1 million will be found for a new system of “neighbourhood working”.

This, says the Council, will “improve the waste collection service to residents by increasing the number of green waste collections, adding two extra green waste collections each March from 2021 onwards.

The pilot of 3 free replacement boxes per property will continue and be made permanent.

The Council will develop neighbourhood working models across public realm and waste to better respond to the communities needs building on the success of local management, ownership and responsibility elsewhere in the council.

The Council will work with York Business Improvement District to review how city centre cleansing can be improved. The resilience of the services will be improved by removing the reliance on fixed term staff.

In addition they will invest in the weed control service to increase the areas treated and, in response to the world wide ongoing challenge about the use of glyphosate,  will trial alternative methods for dealing with weeds such as foams etc”.

The proposal is short on detail but improvements in cleaning services can’t come soon enough for some sub-urban areas.

Several amenity areas are now overwhelmed by fly tipping and litter.

The Westfield/Grange Lane park and adjacent nature area is a case in point and is particularly bad at present.

Westfield Park which is located between Grange Lane and Westfield Place

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