Westfield residents survey results updated to include Cornlands Rd/Gale Lane area

The results, from the Westfield Councillors annual survey of public opinion, have been updated to include the Cornlands Road area.

The summary report can be downloaded by clicking here

Residents said they were satisfied with most public services in the area. The best performing was the bus service, mirroring the similar result obtained in the nearby Chapelfields estate.

Lack of car parking on local roads was the key grievance.

Residents wanted to see the return of a regular skip service.

There were many complaints about overgrown Council owned  trees and bushes which are obstructing paths and gardens.

Several policing issues were highlighted with anti social behaviour apparently on the increase.

The top priority for regeneration of the Front Street area was the provision of level forecourts across the whole shopping area.

The future of the Front Street area is due to be discussed at a public meeting taking place tomorrow (Wednesday) at the Gateway Centre starting at 6:30pm. 

Numbers sleeping rough in York still too high

A council report reveals that the authority missed its target for reducing the numbers of rough sleepers in the City. It had hoped to reduce the number to no more than 12 but at the test date last November 18 were found on the streets. This was the same number as a year previously. (NB. Some rough sleepers refused offers of assistance)

There was better news for other classes of homeless, with the number accepted for rehousing being 97 in the year an improvement on the target of 100.

In addition, preventative work was undertaken in 752 cases.

The main reasons for people becoming homeless were:

  1. Parental exclusion / family licence terminations remain a major cause of homelessness
  2. The number of relationship breakdowns due to violence
  3. Homelessness because of the loss of Assured Shorthold Tenancies remains high.

The housing waiting list remains stable with, at 31/3/17, 1596 York people registered with North Yorkshire Home Choice.

306 Council houses became vacant last year in the City. 53 additional properties were built for social rent.

The report reveals that there are now 7 refugee Syrian families living in private rented accommodation in the City

The Council says that one of its housing priorities is to prioritise a “reduction in rough sleeping, street drinking and begging (in conjunction with Community Safety Hub) and explore need for day facilities and night shelter in light of rising numbers of rough sleepers and associated street drinking and begging”.

Weed killer programme brought forward.

Weed killing by quad bike

The recent weather has provided ideal growing conditions on highways and amenity areas in the City.

The Council have acted promptly to bring forward the start of weed killing operations to this week.

Contractors have been out and about this week applying weed killer.

We’ve asked for weeds and moss to be cleared from paths in the Otterwood Lane area

Weeds growing quickly in may areas now

Improving access to council services for York’s Deaf community

City of York Council will make it easier for members of the city’s Deaf community to access services from today (5 July 2017).

A new video interpreting service – called ‘InterpretersLive!’ – is being launched.

It means Deaf customers, who communicate using British Sign Language (BSL), will be able to contact the council through a BSL Sign Language interpreter.

Visitors to York’s customer services centre at West Offices will have immediate access to an interpreter with no prior appointment required.

People who do not wish, or are unable to, travel will be able to use the service face-to-face from the comfort of their own home, using a video relay system.

The new interpretation service means Deaf customers will have the same access to customer services as a hearing person would.

The council says it hopes the addition of a BSL interpreter will make life easier for people who traditionally may have struggled to get help and support.

Anyone who isn’t a BSL user will be offered alternative communication support.

Members of the Deaf community are invited to attend an event at West Offices on 20 July between 11.00 am and 1.00 pm.  Attendees will have the opportunity to see how this service will work and, to celebrate the launch of the service.  There will also be the opportunity for users to help inform future improvements to the way the service is delivered.The quickest and easiest way to register for the event is by signing up using this Eventbrite link https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/british-sign-language-video-relay-interpretation-service-tickets-35533901857 .  If this is not possible, users should visit West Offices to register their interest.We advise booking early to avoid disappointment as spaces are limited.
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Road repairs and better parking top priority for residents living near Hob Moor

Residents responding to a survey in the Kingsway West/Windsor Garth/Hamilton Drive area have identified their priorities for public service improvements.

The survey is the latest of a  series being conducted by Councillors representing the Westfield ward on the City of York Council

212 residents have so far completed and returned  the questionnaires 

Generally the results suggest that most residents are at least satisfied with the quality of most public services in the area

However Councillors are now seeking improvements to road repairs, car parking and overgrown trees/bushes in the neighbourhood.

Further details can be downloaded from http://tinyurl.com/surres2017

Other findings included:
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Parking by phone – Major changes in York but little warning

RingGo – click to access

The York Council has been criticised by users of the Pay by Phone car parking system for giving only 48 hours notice of a change in contractor.

The move means that users may have to re-register their phones with the new provider RingGo.

It takes about 15 minutes to set up the new RingGo app. The numeric car park identifiers are also being changed.

32 RingGo parking sites in York are listed on their web site.

No explanation for the change has been offered by the Council and it remains unclear who, for what reason and at what cost the change has been made.

The previous “Pay by phone” contractor was widely praised for the ease of use of its mobile phone “app” The system was introduced in the last decade as a way of eliminating the need for drivers to have change for the ticket cash machines. Cashless transactions are generally cheaper for the Council to administer and have lower security risks.

 In a statement issued yesterday the York Council said,
motorists who use their mobile phone to pay for car parking in York are being warned about changes which may affect them from this Saturday (1 July).

From the weekend, the service will be provided by a new company – called RingGo.

It may mean some drivers will need to download a new app to their phone or dial a different number to pay for their parking.

New location codes are also being introduced, but these are being clearly displayed on signage in all car parks where the service is available.

Nine car parks and two coach parking areas are covered by RingGo.

Beyond that, there are no other changes and there will still be no need for motorists to scrabble around to find loose change for a ticket machine.

Minster badge holders will continue to receive a discount in all car parks apart from the one at Foss Bank.

Pay-by-phone has been running in York for several years and with drivers appreciating how easy it is to park with a credit or debit card and just a mobile phone.

Users of the old service must ensure they register with RingGo.  The process only takes a few minutes and can be completed by phone or online.

Instructions, and more information about parking-by-phone is available on the council’s website: york.gov.uk/PayParkingByPhone
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York Council easing out of budget crisis?

Good progress in improving some services

The York Council showed a small budget surplus during the last financial year. As a result, its reserves will increase from £6.8m to £7.3m. In addition, prudent use of its contingency fund will see its 2017/18 provision increase to £1,049k.

This represents a marked improvement on the performance of the Council when it was under Labour control between 2011 and 2015.

The Council has also published selective performance stats.

These claim to show good progress with only delayed discharges from hospital sounding a negative note.

But is everything as rosy as may seem?

The Council’s Executive does not receive exception reports. Such reports would highlight failing performance at street level (which the Council claims is its primary focus)

Selective performance stats published by Council

A survey being undertaken in the Westfield ward by local Councillors presents a slightly different picture.

Westfield Councillors survey results at June 2017

Although respondents say that they are satisfied with most local public services there are exceptions.

The biggest failings (in sub-urban areas) are;

  • Poor road and footpath maintenance
  • Parking provision and
  • Litter/poop scoop bin provision

The Council provides more detailed information on line (see www.yorkopendata.org under the “performance scorecards” section)

But several of the scorecards have still  not been updated for the 2016/17 year.

Other elements of performance are not publicly monitored.

These include the progress made with locally budgeted Ward Committee schemes some of which – although funded – have been in a lengthening waiting list for over 2 years.

Better progress on genuine local concerns would enhance the Councils claim that its priority is indeed the provision of good quality basic services.

On Line performance stats need updating

Better football facilities in Westfield

Following a request by the Foxwood Residents Association, a set of goal posts has been fitted on the Foxwood Park. It is hoped that they will attract children away from playing ball games on the street.

Improvements are also in hand at the Grange Lane Westfield Park where volunteers have made a start on repainting the existing goal posts on the site.

Local Councillors Andrew Waller & Sue Hunter are following up a requests from children living in the Chapelfields area for better play and sports facilities. It is hoped that a 5 a side pitch will be marked out on the playing field.

The York Knights Rugby Foundation have already agreed to run sessions in the park over the summer holidays

“Red Alert” as York Council confirms customer management system in trouble

Just a few days after we revealed that the Councils IT systems were at best “flaky”, there has been official confirmation of the scale of the problems

A report to the Council’s Audit Committee includes a “Red Warning” about the new digital system (CRM) on its risk register.

The project ran into serious trouble earlier in the year when a “contractual issue” ruled out “going live” on many customer management features.

Now the position has worsened with no progress on resolving the issue being reported. The Council is pinning its hopes on an “independent review” of the outstanding issues but no timescales have been agreed,

The IT change is hugely expensive for taxpayers. It is a project first mooted in 2011 but since then progress has been agonisingly slow. As a result the Council has been criticised for not buying proven “off the shelf” solutions; instead they preferred to “go it alone”.

The Executive member with responsibility for the project (Chris Steward) quit in January, leaving Council Leader David Carr to pick up the pieces.

It seems that he has had little more success in moving the project forward.