The Council is now advising residents in the Foxwood area to take back in green bins that weren’t emptied on 13th July.
Previously their web site had said leave them out so that the gangs could do a “catch up”.
We would expect that residents will understand the double pressures faced by the Council as a result of staff vacancies and the “coronavirus pindemic” which must make maintaining public service standards difficult.
However the Council needs to improve its communications. Few customers are likely to browse its bin collection web site on a regular basis (Click below for link)
Anyone reading the agenda for todays City of York Council meeting may mistake it for a meeting of a University debating society. Verbose, borderline pompous, motions and amendments dominate the agenda.
As the first face to face meeting of the authority since coronavirus struck, there has been plenty of time to fashion an agenda which talks to the people of the City.
Instead we have are offered the spectacle of Council members essentially having a chat with each other.
The City’s day to day problems may as well be taking place on another planet.
The meeting is, for the first time, being held at the racecourse. Perhaps bookmakers will be on hand to offer odds on anything useful emerging as the race reaches the final furlong at 10:00pm?
Earlier in the week, the Councillor responsible for waste collection held a special meeting to discuss the pressing issue of the release of “Chinese lanterns” in the City. The opportunity to also discuss the backlog in refuse collection was missed.
Yet hundreds of unemptied green bins currently adorn our streets.
Earlier a controversial change in the playground refurbishment programme was agreed at a “behind closed doors” meeting. Emergency “delegation” powers – which allow officers to make decisions without consultation or democratic input – were exploited.
The opposition claim (with some justification) to be outraged by the decision. Have they found a way of holding those responsible to account? Apparently not, judging by tonight’s agenda.
With (rightly or wrongly) COVID restrictions being lifted from Monday, the Councils top priority should now be to end the emergency powers and introduce effective governance arrangements.
In the real world, taxpayers expect basic public standards to be maintained.
It is not just the York Council that is out of touch.
Sad to report that, as of yesterday, the promised work to remove overgrowth obstructions from the A64/Tadcaster Road cycle path had not been completed by Highways/Yorks or the Council.
The lack of action contrasts with the panic decisions taken last spring when roads and car parks were closed in order to allow “social distancing” on paths which were already much wider than those which are currently obstructed.
We were pleased to see that some public service in the Westfield area have improved over the last 7 days.
The Council have responded promptly to reports of problems with litter and fly tipping.
Most amenity areas have now had a, long overdue, visit from the mower although the length of the cuttings has itself caused a problem. They will look much tidier if they get a scheduled second cut within the next 3 weeks.
Elsewhere, several of the blocked drainage channels on the Chapelfields estate have been cleaned. These were mainly located on the inside of the traffic build outs.
They need to be swept regularly to avoid a build up of detritus and weeds.
The Front Street shopping area was looking tidier yesterday.
We’re still waiting to learn of the results of the survey into the future of the area. An improvement budget of £1/2 million has been promised.
However, it is good to see that the back lane between Front Street and Beaconsfield Street is currently largely free of weeds and litter.
One remaining issue remains the reliability of the waste collection service. The Council says that it has recruited two new drivers and that this should ease the problem in future.
The current period of fair weather has prompted high growth rates on grassed areas.
The surge in growth seems to have caught the Council out with mowing schedules inadequate to ensure that areas used for ball games are kept tidy.
There have already been some criticisms of the grass in parks in west York not being cut. Some have – rightly – not being mowed to ensure that meadowland is created to help pollinators. But the neglect of sports pitches remains unexplained by the Council.
Another Council department is encouraging active sports and leisure activities particularly among younger people. They will find this more difficult if grass is not cut.
It isn’t just sports pitches where a lack of maintenance is evident.
Once again cycle paths are becoming overgrown. It is usually the same ones each year with Tadcaster Road being the stand out example.
Some visibility splays at road junctions also haven’t been trimmed this year.
The Council should update residents on its planned maintenance schedules
Seems that weed growth is getting out of hand again this summer in the Chapelfields estate. We’ve asked for better street cleaning in the estate.
Meanwhile mystery still surrounds the future of the Sanderson House community centre on Bramham Road. The running of the centre was taken over by the Council last year but there is little evidence that activities with a wide appeal will restart there anytime soon.
If any estate would benefit from an active residents association then it is surely Chapelfields. We hope the authorities will provide the necessary support to make this a reality again.
It seems that the York Council is pursuing a policy of overkill with many and various public consultations currently underway.
There is already some scepticism among residents about whether it is even worth responding to the Council’s questions. A recent survey found that the majority of respondents didn’t want to see any major change to traffic signal arrangements at the St Leonard Place/Bootham junction. The views were largely ignored when a decision on changes was shelved until the autumn.
Meanwhile, the ill timed (but well intentioned) Groves experimental traffic scheme is still in operation and attracting comments. It was implemented at the height of the pandemic when streets were virtually free of traffic. It is likely to be 6 months before a “new normal” is established and the true impact of the road closures becomes apparent. In the meantime ambulances and other emergency vehicles are forced use an unnecessarily longer route.
The Council is now trying to promote it’s ” My City Centre” survey.
It says the questions are aimed at shaping “a people-focused, business-friendly city centre where people love to spend time, live and work“. You can complete the survey visit My City Centre York.
There is more than a sneaking suspicion that the questions simply replicate the Castle Gateway approach which started in 2018. There a seemingly endless stream of questions were apparently aimed at wearing down non conformist opposition.
The best test of the voracity of any survey is whether it offers the status quo as an option!
The Council has had little option but to start consultation again on its Local Plan.
Planning inspectors have asked for the six-week consultation period before examining the plan at public hearing sessions later this year.
The consultation will ask for comments on additional evidence and modifications submitted since the ‘Phase 1 hearings in 2019’, including the recent submission of the Green Belt Topic Paper Addendum (2021).
Consultation on “York’s Community Woodland” finished yesterday. It ran for over 6 weeks without managing to answer key questions about how much each of the options would cost and where the funding would come from. https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/YorkWoodland
Another consultation which closed on 11th May relates to changes to recycling arrangements. The proposed 3 weekly collection system attracted one of the highest response rates ever seen. Whether the Council decides to go ahead with the changes, despite the concerns raised, may be the defining moment for the present Council. A decision is due on 24th June.
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 reportbeing considered by the Council next week, that plans for the site have already been drawn up.
York Council Acomb Library expansion update report April 2021
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.