Disappointing to see that the parking area on Bramham Road is full of detritus and weeds. Tree branches have been dumped and the boundary is obstructed by hedge growth. Doesn’t reflect well on the Councils housing department, who should inspect communal areas like this on a regular basis.
The York Council is taking the next steps in a review of the role, function and management of its Library service. The Libraries have been run by an independent social interest company since 2012. The company’s contract is coming up for renewal.
The Council report looks at what more residents might expect to get from the Library service over the next decade.
The comprehensive report makes it clear that the York Library service is one of the most successful – judged against a range of criteria – in the country.
A “needs assessment” seeks to establish what changes need to be made. It ranks highly the need to further establish libraries as the “hub” of resilient communities. They would be a focal point for the coordination of local public services and could address issues with inclusion. Learning and skills would be a key objective as would access to health and other advice. They have a role to play in promoting culture.
The 16 existing libraries are generally viewed highly by users. York has more libraries per head of population than most comparable local authorities.
Despite the national trend of library visits declining slightly over time, Explore Libraries footfall has been holding up well, thanks in large part to the reading cafés which have been opened. Compared to other English unitary authorities, Explores performance is upper quartile.
Explore’s footfall in 17/18 across all branches was 1,014,173.
A public consultation exercise revealed that user’s top priorities for the different types of library, the top answers were the same for all libraries: Borrowing books, reading and studying space, local information, events, computers. There was just one exception which was that archives and local history was also a priority for York Explore.
Non-users indicated that the top three things that would encourage them to come to a library in the future was: a reading café on site, better information about services, and more events and activities.
The report talks obliquely about shared buildings. It stops short of proposing he closure of any libraries although some Councillors privately say this is inevitable (and has happened elsewhere). Unless and until a properly costed and resourced business plan ins produced then the “vision” will not have a future. The devil will be in the detail of any tender document that may be issued.
But the plan could deliver the much needed, and long outstanding, expansion of the Acomb Library. In turn, that could deliver a “one stop shop” public service office – incorporating Housing, Police and health teams.
A useful benefit for the Acomb side of the City.
Pen pictures of each library can be accessed via these links
- Annex A2 Acomb Pen Portrait, item 5. PDF 426 KB
- Annex A3 Bishopthorpe Pen Portrait, item 5. PDF 417 KB
- Annex A4 Clifton Pen Portrait, item 5. PDF 397 KB
- Annex A5 Copmanthorpe Pen Portrait, item 5. PDF 442 KB
- Annex A6 Dringhouses Pen Portrait, item 5. PDF 428 KB
- Annex A7 Dunnington Pen Portrait, item 5. PDF 429 KB
- Annex A8 Fulford Pen Portrait, item 5. PDF 432 KB
- Annex A9 Haxby Pen Portrait, item 5. PDF 342 KB
- Annex A10 Huntington Pen Portrait, item 5. PDF 452 KB
- Annex A11 Mobile Pen Portrait, item 5. PDF 432 KB
- Annex A12 New Earswick Pen Portrait, item 5. PDF 455 KB
- Annex A13 Poppleton Pen Portrait, item 5. PDF 437 KB
- Annex A14 Strensall Pen Portrait, item 5. PDF 406 KB
- Annex A15 Tang Hall Pen Portrait, item 5. PDF 405 KB
- Annex A16 York Pen Portrait, item 5. PDF 405 KB
Details have emerged about how the budget – delegated to local Westfield Councillors – will be spent during the present financial year. Similar budgets are available across the whole of York (although the extent to which individual Ward Councillors consult, before allocating the funds, does vary)
Westfield Ward Committee will award:
- £450 to the Foxwood Community Centre for their notice board and parking sign project
- £500 to the Musical Connections towards their sessions at Gale Farm Court
- £489 to the Chapelfields Youth Club run by the Gateway York CIO
- £500 to the Beagle Football Club towards equipment
- £450 to the Acomb Methodist Church Tuesday Playtime Baby & Toddler Group towards child-friendly chairs
- £500 to the Chapelfields Community Association towards their ‘Hub’
- £500 to the 2nd Acomb St Stephen’s Scout Group towards the courtyard project
- £500 to the Acomb Baptist Church Coffee Bar towards towards trips out
In addition, Westfield Ward Committee will dedicate:
- £920 towards ward directory project
- £2,000 to set a pot of funding for activities provision for young people
- £1,500 to set a pot of funding for support for sports teams
- £2,000 to set a pot of funding for activities for older residents
- £2,000 to set a pot of funding for trimming of City of York Council trees – to be used for work at locations across the ward
- £2,000 to set a pot of funding for trimming of overgrown shrubs and repairs to fencing on the City of York Council land
- £1,500 to support a project to tidy up the Acomb war memorials
- £500 to set a pot of funding towards anti dog fouling campaign
- £5,000 to set a pot of funding towards mobile CCTV cameras to catch fly tipping
- £2,000 to set a pot of funding towards tidy up and bulky waste removal projects
- £2,000 to set a pot of funding towards removal or refurbishment of obsolete or damaged street furniture and signs
- £3,000 to set a pot of funding towards projects with the aim to tackle anti-social behaviour
- £1,250 towards painting cycle hoops along Front Street
Councillors also considered ward capital projects and decided to invest in the following:
- installation of a parking bay to accommodate 2 to 3 cars between number 12 and number 20 Bachelor Hill
- continue with the levelling programme of Front Street and other footpaths
- installation of a parking bay on Dijon Avenue at the verge to the side of no 41 Green Lane
- installation of a parking bay on verge adjacent to number 95 Lowfields Drive
- reconstruction and protection of grass verges at locations across the ward
- installation of barriers in the Walker Drive snicket
There was a limited turn out in the residents ballot about priorities. Fewer than 70 votes were recorded for the most popular schemes
The Council have issued the following statement
“We have been unable to complete refuse collections in some streets today due to a vehicle breakdown. Streets affected:
- Barkston Avenue (part)
- Walton Place
- Brmham Avenue (part)
- Marston Crescent/ Marston Avenue
- Tithe Close (today due to telecoms work blocking access).
We will return to complete these streets on Wednesday. Please put your bin back out by 7am”
In a behind closed doors decision, the York Council has agreed to spend £18,000 on new “Totem” signposting in the City centre.
A project, backed by the York BID and apparently with the approval of the York Civic Trust, will cost £36,000 for the trial in total The sum is mainly being spent on consultant’s fees but will result in some trial “Totems” being deployed.
The report goes on to say, “If the trial is successful and the programme is rolled out, this would need a significant contribution from both parties (for) which the BID has made provision and the authority would need to determine its position as a Council later in the Year”.
It is unclear how much this project may end up costing taxpayers and whether the funding would come from the “Make it York” organisation which now handles the city’s tourism budget.
The decision – taken by a Council official – is likely to widen the gap between the expectations of residents living in sub-urban areas and City centre focussed institutions.
Recently a commitment was made to fund a replacement for the Parliament Street fountain while additional expenditure may also result from the decision to make the revised Fossgate one-way system permanent.
There is a big question mark over the costs of maintaining the Guildhall now that the Council’s “business centre” project has collapsed. There are similar financial question marks about the Castle/Piccadilly redevelopment and York Central.
In residential areas, people are increasingly concerned about the quality of local highways. Many street nameplates are also in need of repair. Public service standards are under unprecedented pressure.
Residents may feel that – unless paid for by business – the existing city centre direction signs will be adequate to meet needs.
After all, increasing number of people use “on line” maps and smart phones to find their way around.
Additional street furniture may actually represent a backwards step.
A meeting of the Councils Executive will be asked next week to agree to an investment of £650,000 at Westfield Primary school
The money will be spent modernising and expanding school meal provision at the school.
A report describes the background to the plan. ”
The increasing number of pupils at the school has highlighted the problems the school currently has around the management of the school meals service as more pupils are having a school meal.
The proposed scheme will include work on both the dining and kitchen areas which will address current safety concerns and enable more pupils to access nutritional school meals”.