Crime increasing in York

Crime levels in York gradually increased during the lock-down period.  The latest figures cover the period up to the end of May.

Police UK stats

Those for “York Outer”, which excludes the City centre, revealed that 1689 crimes were reported during May.

This was a 12 month high.

Crime levels in the City centre fell significantly during the same period.  Despite this, during May, the Guildhall ward had the 19th highest crime incidence of any unitary authority ward across England & Wales

 In total 1849 crimes were recorded within the York Council area during May.  

Over half the reports involved anti-social behaviour.  There were also significant numbers of complaints about violence/sexual offences suggesting that social isolation might have adversely impacted on the domestic violence numbers.

Lock-down eased during June so observers will be watching carefully to see whether the crime trend continues.

That was the week that was in west York in photos

Bachelor Hill looking very smart including the wildflwoer meadow.
We’ve reported the damaged fence at the Cornlands park play area. The play area is due to officially reopen later this week following the health lock-down.. The fencing was provided to prevent fouling by dogs.
Another shopping trolley has made a break for freedom. This one on Tennent Road
We are still waiting for the goal posts on the Westfield park to be repainted. Been outstanding for three years now. Pitch also needs remarking before the new season starts.
Lots of weed growth as a result of the weather this week. Particular problems in Chapelfields and on Askham Lane.
Weeds overgrowing the bus shelter on Foxwood Lane again. The Council owned shelter is now looking very shabby now.
Damaged utility marker sign on Grange Lane is still lying on the verge despite being reported in January.
More snickets now obstructed by overhanging trees.

Council coy about littering fines

The York Council has belatedly updated its open data page to show how many fines were levied for littering during the quarter ending in December 2019.

It is however refusing to release numbers for the final quarter (to the end of March 2020) and the first quarter of 20/21. The latter includes the time when lock-down restrictions were eased and the now infamous “riverside party” season started. The latter sparked a wave of complaints about anti social behaviour and indiscriminate littering by a minority of visitors.

The Council says that the March stats will be published later in July but residents will have to wait until at least September before they can judge how effectively anti littering enforcement staff performed in June.

The above is just one example of poor management. Other performance indicators also haven’t been updated since last year.

Most should have been updated before the health crisis started. Another example is the decision to stop publishing the number of fines levied on drivers misusing the Coppergate bus lane (which stopped last October) .

Meanwhile, fly tipping continues to be an issue in several locations

Rubbish being left next to recycling containers in west York
Dumping in Council garage area

That was the week that was in photos

Good to see some patching work on the Herman Walk carriageway. Like the roads in the rest of the area a lot more work is needed if they are to be brought up to an acceptable standard.
Disappointing to see the safety barriers disassembled on Chesneys Field. They were put there to stop children using the play equipment at the height of the Coronavirus crisis. The Council now needs to decide whether it is going to continue to try to stop the equipment – which is not fenced off normally – being used or simply remove the equipment. Perhaps a reminder sign about hygiene could be put up?
Two shopping trolleys have made a break for freedom. One was last seen on Gale Lane while a second had made it as far as Cornlands Road. Both have been reported
& the wetter weather has seen weeds growing more quickly in gutters. We’ve reported those in The Reeves. We are about due to see the next round of weed treatment

Ward highway improvements list published – nothing for Westfield?

It looks like the Westfield area has been snubbed in the latest highways maintenance budget allocations.

In another “behind closed doors” decision, tens of thousands of pounds, from “delegated” ward budgets, has been allocated for highway and footpath repairs plus some other work  like new parking laybys.

Areas benefiting are Bishopthorpe, Clifton, Copmanthorpe, Dringhouses, Fishergate, Guildhall,  Heslington, Heworth, Hull Road, Holgate, Huntington, Micklegate and Rural West.

One of the roads omitted from repair programme

The absence of Westfield from the list is doubly surprising.

Some local roads are in an appalling condition.

Local Councillors were given lists of problem locations over 6 months ago.

Poor weather in the intervening period has seen some surfaces – such as those on the Morrell Court access road – deteriorate quite markedly.

The report to the decision meeting gives details of how much money is available for local ward Councillors to manage.

It also explains the assessment process.

The Ward Highways Capital Scheme is a four-year programme formed from £250k p.a. of capital resources set aside from the main Highways Capital Programme. It is designed to allow wards to bring forward schemes that are important to local residents but would struggle to be prioritised as part of the main capital programme. A nominal allocation is made to each ward on a population basis. Wards are able to aggregate their allocation by carrying over / bringing forward annual allocations in order to undertake more substantial schemes.

The programme was enhanced in 19/20 through the allocation of the following one-off amounts to it:

  • £500k to use for highways improvements in respect of Roads and Footways
  • £500k to use for Walking and Cycling improvements

(NB. Details of how the walking and cycling budget is being spent were published a couple of weeks ago. Yet again no projects in the Westfield area were agreed).

The Council says the aim is to use this funding flexibly to meet the needs of wards whilst taking account of all relevant legislation and statutory guidance as highways are heavily regulated environments.

The following process is used to identify schemes:

  • Community Involvement Officers liaise with ward councillors, residents and key partners to identify potential schemes
  • The Highways team bring forward condition surveys, customer requests, and safety audits for consideration by wards to help inform their decision-making together with information showing the roads in the ward that are to be repaired through the main capital programme
  • Ideas are taken to a ward walk-about for initial consideration followed, where appropriate, by detailed feasibility work and any appropriate community / statutory consultation
  • The Highways team then form the prioritised ideas as far as possible into a coherent capital programme”

Wards not receiving an allocation were Acomb, Haxby, Heworth Without, Hull Road, Holgate and Westfield.

The list of improvements that have been agreed can be viewed by clicking here

Taking a pride in local neighbourhoods

As “normality” returns to our streets we are looking to the authorities to demonstrate that they have a plan which will see an increase in social pride in local neighbourhoods.

The Councils much hyped “health hubs” are winding down as the premises they occupy – such as libraries – are made ready for a return to their normal uses.

The longer established neighbourhood hubs have yet to reopen although the extended summer holidays mean that demand for their services is greater than ever. Informal meeting places would provide a welcome relief from social isolation particularly for those who have endured lock-down on their own. They are also a potential valuable resource for families during the extended school break.

Many of the venues for these hubs remain closed with no published plans for them to reopen when social distancing rules allow.

Perhaps surprisingly the York Council has yet to address other tensions which are likely to increase as more people are out and about. There is no room on the agenda for community safety at today’s first COVID “Board” meeting. Yet anti social behaviour is already increasing in some estates as lock-down is eased.

Still too much fly tipping despite amenity sites having reopened
Pleased to see that the unused telephone kiosk at the Foxwood shops has finally been removed. Hopefully the Council will get this prominent empty bungalow repaired and re–let quickly now
Still too much self inflicted grief. Graffiti on local junction boxes needs to be cleaned off
Grass has now established itself on the area near the new Osprey Close land drain.
Still waiting for hardcore to be put down on the path to ensure that it remains useable in wet weather
Continuing battle to get road repaired. It appears that the funding delegated to ward has not been utilised. Carriageway surfaces are likely to disintegrate when icy weather arrives.
Some good news with the cul de sac on Kingsway West now swept of detritus.
Ongoing problems reported on the “Save Lowfields Playing Field” Facebook page. Main issues relate to early morning noise, dust and further damage to verges in the Dijon Avenue area. (The latter thought to be connected with BT “Open World” works).

Confusion over Gale Lane diversions

Yorkshrie Water works in te area mean that there ae two separate raod clsures within a few hundered metres on each other today.

There are two road closures affecting Gale Lane
Signs on Gale Lane warn that Tudor Road is now closed to traffic. Bus services have been diverted.
Tudor Road will be closed for at least two weeks in connection with works at the Lowfields development. No special arrangements have been made for cyclists who are currently using the footpath.
Gale Lane is also closed at the Foxwood Lane/Thanet Road junction. This work results from a water main burst at the weekend. The diversion is via Askham Lane.

Latest planning applications for the Westfield Ward

 Below are the latest planning application received by the York Council for the Westfield ward. 

Full details can be found by clicking the application reference 

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25 Gale Lane York YO24 3AB

Proposal      Single storey front extension

Reference   20/00926/FUL

——

Representations can be made in favour of, or in objection to, any application via the Planning online web site.  http://planningaccess.york.gov.uk/online-applications/

The Council now no longer routinely consults neighbours by letter when an application is received

Bellhouse Way 5G Mast proposal

Although not yet a formal planning application, the Foxwood Residents Association have highlighted an informal consultation which is taking place on plans to install a 20 metre high 5G mobile phone mast next to the Community Centre on Bellhouse Way.

At 20 metres high the mast would dominate the surrounding area and be very visually intrusive. It is two and a half time higher than the existing mast.

The Residents Association have identified an alternative location, on the other side of the road, which would avoid the obstruction of the public footpath and which would also be better screened.

Objections should be sent to local Ward Councillors cllr.sdaubeney@york.gov.uk and to Clarke Telecom jennie.hann@clarke-telecom.com

More details can be found at (click): https://www.facebook.com/FoxwoodResidentsAssociation/posts/3701904983169424

Prompt response from York Council

Cornlands Road/Askham Lane

A York Council manager has responded promptly to reports of Epicormic (lower trunk) growth on some trees in the Cornlands Road/Tudor Road area.

Such growth can cause sight line problems for drivers.

The manager says the branches will be trimmed.

Dumping is a problem at some empty properties.

We’ve reported a similar issue with a tree at the junction of Cornlands Road and Askham Lane.

We also received a prompt response from Cllr Demise Craghill who has executive responsibility for housing in the City.

She was sympathetic to our complaints about delays in bringing empty Council houses back into use and promised to pursue two long standing issues in the Foxwood Lane area.

Morrell Court

Lack of action to level potholes on the Morrell Court access road has now been registered as a formal complaint with the Council. The defects were first reported 6 months ago.

Elsewhere black bags have been left next to the recycling bins at the Acomb Wood Drive shopping area.

We have asked for them to be removed.

Acomb Wood Drive shopping area

Tree growth causes sight line concerns

It happens every year to a lessor or greater extent, but low level branches (known as epicormic growth) sprout on some trees.

If left untrimmed they can cause sight line problems for drivers and may even obstruct footpaths. We’ve reported several over the weekend.

Cornlands Road
Cornlands Road
Cornlands Road
Tudor Road
Weed growth around telegraph poles. The Council usually treats these with weed killer.
Weeds are impeding the disabled access gates at some of the entrances to Hob Moor
Overgrown hedge issues have been reported
Better news elsewhere. Dickson Park is looking very tidy.
While Corlett Court residents have turned their flower beds into a blaze of colour
& the Council have done some grass cutting near Herman Walk