Campaign launched to reduce anti social behaviour

Cllr Sheena Jackson points out a damaged cycle barrier

Problems with anti social behaviour usually increase at this time of year but recently problems have reached new levels.

A cycle barrier at the entrance to the Thanet Road sports are was knocked over last week. Although there were signs of corrosion on part of the barrier, the responsibility has been placed at the feet of vandals. A temporary barrier is being installed this week,.

Elsewhere in the Foxwood area, noisy mopeds and cars trying to do hand break turns on amenity areas have been reported. We would expect that the police – who didn’t attend a residents association meeting yesterday – will be able to deal quickly with vehicle related issues like these.

Anyone spotting anti social behaviour or potential vehicle offences should report them to 101.

NB. The number of Police officers in the area has reduced over recent years. Crime levels are creeping up.

Call for increase in neighbourhood police profile in York

The next York Council meeting will discuss four motions put forward by the political groups represented on the authority.

  • Liberal Democrat Ashley Mason is asking for more funding for neighbourhood policing. He will get a lot of support for his proposal with PCSO patrols now distinctly thin on the ground in much of the City. 41% of respondents to a recent survey thought that policing in the City was “poor”.

Many highlighted issues with drugs and moped gangs as increasing areas of concern.

The York Council has no direct powers over policing policy (that rests with the Harrogate based Police and Crime Commissioner) but it can be more active in using its powers of scrutiny.

The motion also opposes any reduction in Fire cover. The service has recently been taken over by the PCC.

  • A Labour Councillor wants to close the outbound traffic lane which currently runs under Micklegate Bar. The actual amount of traffic using this route is already regulated with “green” periods at the adjacent traffic lights already relatively short. However, the main criticism of this proposal is that it is being made without any consultation with local businesses or residents. Local road junctions are already congested at peak times so the consequences could be significant. The plan comes from the Lendal bridge closure school of transport planning. Proposals like these need to be considered as part of the next update to the Local Transport Plan. (NB. The Council video, outlining plans to improve the railway station frontage, portray an, almost miraculously, traffic free inner ring road in this part of the City!)
  • The Conservative Councillors have gone to the trouble of restating that they are in favour of free green bin emptying. Many residents would settle, currently, for just having their present green bin emptied.
  • ……& finally, the Green party has come out against, what they term as, “food poverty”. It will probably be difficult to find anyone who thinks hunger is a good thing. The Greens disingenuously suggest that Council officials should write a report saying how the issue can be resolved. Sadly, this is another problem where most of the levers are well outside the control of a local Council.

Council meetings these days are sterile and predictable affairs with all sides posturing and the real issues, that affect street level public service standards, rarely being highlighted.

This can party be traced back to a decision by the last Council which withdrew the option for Councillors to submit written questions (and get a written response).

A limited amount of time is reserved for verbal questions, but these rarely uncover any new facts.

Answers to verbal questions are not recorded in the meeting minutes. The minutes are, in any event, published several weeks – or months – later.

By then the issue has usually moved on.

Opposition mounting to Front Street building plans

Pensioners petition against proposal to develop Bowling Green

Acomb Bowling Club

The Council has told the proposed developers of the Acomb Bowling Club green on Front Street that they need more time to come to a view on their proposals. They say that there are access and other problems associated with the proposal to build 11 houses on the site.

comment on planning application

The news came after it emerged that a petition, signed by pensioners in an adjacent block of flats, and objecting to the loss of green space had been lodged with the Council. The pensioners were also concerned about potential noise nuisance from the site.

Sport England have also sounded a warning about the plan highlighting the continued erosion of sports pitches in the Acomb area.

Concerns have also been raised about the impact on the local bat population and other wildlife in the area.

The Council’s own heritage officer has pointed to the historical significance of the site. It is thought that there may be important archaeological deposits in the area.

Comment on Planning application

Although the balance of comments is against the development in its present form, perhaps surprisingly local amenity societies, Ward Councillors and adjacent property owners have so far failed to make their views known.

The proposals – which could jeopardise plans to bring derelict land to the rear of the Library back into use, while providing much needed accommodation for older people – are a particularly poor piece of incremental planning.

Hopefully a more coherent plan for this part of Front Street will emerge now.

Time to tackle weeds and poor grass cutting in York

Although the long dry spell has restricted the growth of weeds on paths and gutters in York, much of the City is now looking untidy.

The Council should be well on with its first application of weed killer.

Residents have also complained about the quality of cutting on some verges and amenity areas.

Verges damaged by utility works, although reseeded in come cases, are still bare earth because of dry conditions.

Grass still growing despite dry conditions

Some amenity areas like Otterwood Lane haven’t been cut yet.

Weeds growing in gutters in Queenswood Grove. Verges are untidy

Weeds need cutting back and verges edging on Kingsthrorpe

 

 

Only 8 fines levied for dog fouling in York during last 3 years

The latest figures published on the Councils open data web site say that only 8 fixed penalty tickets have been issued for dog fouling since April 2015.

No penalty notices have been issued at all since June last year.

Similarly, no Community Protection Notices (see right) for dog fouling have been issued since 2015

The York Council receives around 2000 requests for action each year on cleansing issues which includes dog fouling. It no longer publishes the number of complaints it receives about full poop scoop bins but it used to be around 20 a month..

A contract was let in April for the replacement of ageing “poop scoop” bins in the City.

Several campaigns have been run to highlight the risks associated with dog fouling. These included, in some areas like Foxwood, displaying eye catching posters while in others local residents highlighted “poop” on footpaths with spray markers.

Whether the problem has got better, or worse over recent months is difficult to assess.

Issues can be traced back to 2012 when the, then Labour controlled, Council scrapped the “dog warden” service. At the same time, they reduced the number of litter and dog bins in the City.