Residents newsletter reveals history of brick making on Foxwood Lane

The Foxwood Residents Associartion is delivering a “Fox” newsletter to every househod in the area.

It includes an interesting article on he history of brick making on land now called Chesney’s Field. The article reveals that several buildings in Acomb used bricks from the works. Many are still standing.

Brick making started in 1880 and continued well into the 20th century.

The area was leveled 30 years ago and is currently well used by sports teams and for children’s play.

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We understand that chidren from Hob Moor school are planning to “adopt” part of Chesney’s Field and help to keep it clean

We hope that the Council will improve its grass cutting performance.. It is not just parts of Chesney’s field which are becoming overgrown. The sports pitches, in particular, need regular mowing if they are to be used by young people during the summer holidays.

170 York homes to get an extra HUG from new £1m funding

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City of York Council has been awarded a further £1 million of funding to improve the energy efficiency of homes in York, leading to lower fuel bills and improved comfort.

Some 60 private sector homes will receive extra cavity wall insulation, draft proofing, attic or loft insulation, while 110 council homes will benefit from additional energy efficiency measures.

To qualify for the Home Upgrade Grant (HUG), homeowners or private tenants need to have a household income of less than £30,000 per year and have a property with an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of E, F or G. Some EPC D rates may be eligible.

Of the £1m, £550,000 will go towards improving council homes with additional energy efficiency measures and solar PV panels installed on roofs lowering electricity bills for tenants.

The remainder will be used to improve energy efficient in 60 private rented/owner occupier homes through the Home Upgrade Grant. This provides insulation grants for lower income home owners and private landlords with lower income tenants. They can apply for insulation for attic rooms, cavity walls and loft insulation, as well as draught proofing.

The funding has been secured from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Local Authority Delivery Funding. The project is being delivered in partnership with Better Homes Yorkshire, Eclipse Energy and Heat Insulation.

If you are a homeowner, private tenant or landlord, find out more about the scheme, to see if you’re eligible and to apply, please contact Better Homes Yorkshire on 0800 597 1500 or email betterhomes@york.gov.uk. More about energy efficient schemes is at www.york.gov.uk/HUG 

Cyclist suffers serious injuries in Askham Lane incident

North Yorkshire Police is appealing for witnesses and information about an incident that occurred on Askham Lane in York.

It is believed to have happened at around 1pm on Tuesday 8 June 2021, and involved a man in his 80s from York who was seriously injured as a result of the incident. He was taken to Leeds General Infirmary by air ambulance.

The incident is believed to have occurred on Askham Lane, York, between the junctions of Cornlands Road and Tedder Road, which was closed while officers investigated the scene.

The cyclist was found to have fallen from his bicycle. There do not appear to have been any other vehicles involved, although this cannot be entirely ruled out at this stage.

Officers are therefore appealing for witnesses to the incident, or anyone who may have CCTV or dashcam footage, to get in touch as soon as possible to assist the investigation. If you can help, please contact North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 2, and ask for Chris Storey. You can also email chris.storey@northyorkshire.police.uk. Please quote the North Yorkshire Police reference number 12210135005.

Good weather brings problems for cyclists and playing fields

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

York becomes UK’s first city with real-time transport model

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York has become the first city in the UK to introduce city-wide real time transport modelling to help ease congestion and pollution.

Working in partnership with PTV Group, Wood Group and independent strategic modelling experts RelativeGAP, City of York Council has started using the latest innovation and cutting-edge technology to manage the road network.

In areas it has previously been introduced, area wide travel times have been reduced by nearly 10 per cent.

Previously, the council has monitored the network through staff monitoring CCTV and social media feeds, with network monitoring operators and transport engineers manually implementing new signal changes to manage the flow of traffic better in busy periods.

With the new PTV Optima installed in the control room, the council can now adopt a more pro-active approach in monitoring and changing the network live to best suit traffic conditions.

For example, if there was a road traffic collision on the York outer ring road, the new software will be able to predict the impact on the wider road network based on the current traffic conditions. This will give the council the ability to react ‘live’ by changing traffic light timings across the city (where needed) and informing people sooner of the impact and possible delays.

This is the first real-time transport model of this scale that has been used for live traffic management in the UK. Other cities outside of the UK to use similar modelling include Vienna, Abu Dhabi, Moscow and Sydney.

The introduction of the new modelling system follows a successful bid by City of York Council, as part of the ‘Smarter Travel Evolution Program – STEP’, which is funded by the Government.

There has already been some criticisms of the system with problems identified on the Hull Road, Other motorists have criticised what seems to be inadequate green phase signal times on The Mount near the Holgate Road junction, despite relatively low traffic levels.

So what do these projects even mean?

Apparently the York Council is going ahead with a plan to bid for nearly £2 million of public funding, despite being told that the area does not qualify for the “Community Renewal Fund”.

York wasn’t on the list of 100 towns and City’s given priority for use of the fund.

Nevertheless, the Council has gone ahead and drawn up a list of schemes that might have benefited. “Partners” were asked to put forward their proposals.

Nine projects were subsequently selected.

There has been no public consultation on the proposals. This has now been exacerbated by a failure (in the Council report to a meeting next week) to provide any explanation of what the projects are intended to achieve.

The single line descriptions are a totally opaque.

We’re pretty sure though, that the “Bosch startup harbour programme” has little to do with ships and water!

Castle car park future

A Council meeting next week (14th June) will receive an update on plans to replace the Castle car park with an events space.

Contrary to expectations, most of the area would continue to be hard-surfaced. There is provision for a Pagoda style shelter. The useable space is rather less than can be found on the other side of the road in Tower Gardens.

More extensive changes are planned for the Eye of York – which would effectively become become “the rectangle of York” with space being made available for outdoor museum exhibitions.

The report recommends that “the new public realm at the Castle and Eye of York forms part of the
council’s funding bid to central government’s Levelling Up Fund, applications for which close on 18 June 2021″.

The new apartments being built at Castle Mills can’t be occupied before the Castle car park is closed according to a (frankly perverse) planning condition. The Castle car park can’t close until replacement parking has been provided. The Planning Committee has so far refused to approve the provision of a replacement car park.

We expect central government to start reducing its capital spending and borrowing shortly. We doubt whether “nice to have” schemes will get priority over essential infrastructure investment..

No updated business plan is being presented to the meeting next week.

NB. The Council has made no progress on the £5.9 million scheme to redevelop the site currently occupied by “Spark”. They are under pressure to sell the site and use the receipt to avoid unnecessary borrowing which otherwise would be necessary to fund the Castle Mills/car park part of the project.

The Council says that refined drawings may be presented to the meeting next week

Stonewalling

A detailed view of a rainbow corner flagIt looks like a controversy may be brewing over the York Council’s membership of a LGBT  organisation called “Stonewall”.  The Council has been a subscriber for about 10 years. In return for a £2500 annual membership fee, it is described by Stonewall as a “diversity champion” on its literature.

Having flown largely under most peoples radar for some years, the organisation has become more controversial recently. It is telling people how to style themselves and those that they interact with. A current Freedom of Information request is seeking  more information from the Council.

The issue has been highlighted by the decision of various government departments and organisations  like Channel 4 to withdraw support from Stonewall. This is turn appears to have been prompted by some – borderline eccentric – missives from the organisation which included a plea to re-label “mothers” as “a parent who has given birth”.

The genesis of the controversy though appears to have been differing views on Trans-gender policies.

We think that people should be able to label themselves as they chose. If “product of incubation tube 5” suits, then so be it.

But organisations which accept taxpayer funding must also be sensitive to the views of others. There is sometimes a fine line between educational and political activities. Stonewall is a registered charity.

It is not just national organisations that need to be sensitive to the views of their members and supporters. For a couple of years now York Civic Trust (also a charity) has been edging towards a more extreme approach to transport policies. Its latest attempt to influence the emerging Local Transport Pan can be found be clicking here

“For the city centre, we propose that removal of what the Council refers to as non-essential
car use should be achieved by restricting through movement*, increasing parking charges
and selective reduction of parking space. Expansion of the Clean Air Zone to include cars
would help achieve our low emission targets. It may also be appropriate to consider a
permit system for access, enforced as Coppergate is currently“.

reduce the mode share for travel by car to 49% in 2027 and 40% in 2037“.

*NB. the only significant volume of City centre  “through movement” vehicle journeys currently takes place via Lendal Bridge

The statements are made without any attempt to model the impacts that such policies would have on the rest of the City, much less the consequences for the economy.

The members of the Civic Trust, and citizens more generally, will expect a measured and evidenced approach from the Council as it reviews its transport plans.

North Yorkshire Police appeal following rape on Hob Moor

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We’re appealing for information as part of a rape investigation in York.It happened on Hob Moor at around 4am to 4.30am on Sunday (30 May).

A number of lines of enquiry have been carried out which lead us to believe this was an isolated incident.

A young woman was walking across Hob Moor in a south-eastern direct from the west when she was approached by a man and assaulted.

The man is described as a slim build and wearing black trousers, a black hooded jacket and black gloves.

A full investigation is currently under way, and there has been an increased police presence in the area.

Anyone with information about the incident, or who saw anyone acting suspiciously, is urged to contact North Yorkshire Police on 101 and select option 1, quoting reference 12210128446.