Judgement day for parking discounts in York

Councillors are to take a fresh look today at proposals to abolish the current discounts for Respark permits.

15 years ago, the then LibDem led Council, introduced discounts for the owners of short, low pollution cars. The intention was to make maximise the use of kerbside space, while providing a modest incentive for drivers to buy low emission models.

Under Tory proposals, discounts would only apply to Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs).  Essentially these are electric and plug in hybrids.

The proposers omitted to tell people that no “on street” charging facilities are available in York.

Hence, in effect, the discounts are being abolished.

Perhaps surprisingly the move to retain the traditional discounts comes from Green Councillors. They have something of a vested interest as they represent areas with many ResPark zones.

Small cars will lose their discount

They risk being characterised as opposing low emission transport; perhaps a parallel with the Tory government decision to abolish emission based Vehicle Excise Duty bandings in favour of rates based on a vehicles purchase price.

Both positions are counter intuitive to the party’s traditional positions.

Hopefully LibDem and Labour Councillors will get behind the rethink and support a more logical approach to ResPark charges.

The change could lead to a “hole” in the Councils income budget for next year. This could mean a 5% general increase in permit prices.

Latest planning applications for the Westfield Ward

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

Full details can be found by clicking the application reference

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Marcia Grey

Marcia Grey 24 Front Street York YO24 3BZ

Proposal      Single storey rear extension to create additional storage

Reference   18/02740/FUL

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

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

York Councillors asked to approve funding for York outer ring road dualling

Councillors will be asked to approve match funding for the dualling of the York outer ring road from the A19 Shipton Road through to Little Hopgrove (Malton Road), when they meet at Executive on Thursday 20 December.

The plans don’t include improvements to the Ouse river crossing, one of the main pressure points on the existing network. Nor are there plans to introduce split level intersections  raising concerns that the existing junctions, even with larger roundabouts, will continue to be pinch pints on the network.

A Council report asks the Executive to recommend  that £2.8m match funding, approximately 10 percent of the estimated £28m cost of the dualling element of the overall upgrade scheme, is provided in the Council’s Capital Programme.

The opportunity for funding of the scheme using the new Major Road Network Fund was announced by the Secretary for State earlier this year.

This follows on from the outer ring road roundabout upgrade scheme which will see seven roundabouts upgraded ready for dualling as part of a West Yorkshire plus Transport Fund scheme.

Work is nearly complete at Wetherby Road roundabout after starting earlier this year. Monks Cross is the next in line with ground clearance works set to take place early in 2019. It is proposed to join the dualling and roundabout schemes together as early as possible to reduce overall costs and disruption.

Subject to the decision on the match funding proposal at this Executive meeting a formal Outline Business Case (OBC) would be submitted to the DfT this month.  This is the first stage of the DfT’s approval process. Dependent on a positive assessment of the OBC and Ministerial approval it is anticipated that Programme Entry status would be granted for the scheme by March 2019.

Increasing the capacity of the ring road leading to the redistribution of trips will complement the city’s transport policies and help to enable more sustainable travel options to be delivered in the urban area of the city.

The York Outer Ring Road improvements programme is being funded through the West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund, and the Leeds City Region Growth Deal – a £1 billion package of Government investment through the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to accelerate growth and create jobs across Leeds City Region.

For more information about the York outer ring road roundabout upgrades visit www.york.gov.uk/yorr

Executive takes place on Thursday 20 December from 5.30pm and is open to members of the public or is available to watch live online from: www.york.gov.uk/webcasts

To find out more about the report, or to attend, visit: https://democracy.york.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=733&MId=10475&Ver=4

Dismay as elderly residents told they must quit their homes for 12 months

Council apology for Lincoln Court tenants

Lincoln Court

The council has apologised to Lincoln Court tenants ahead of a £1.4m scheme to improve and extend the independent living scheme.

While the modernisation of the independent living scheme on Ascot Way had been generally welcomed, tenants had been assured that the necessary modernisation work – which includes the provision of new double glazed windows – could be completed while they remained in their flats.

Now the Council has reversed the assurances that were given during the consultation meetings earlier in the year.

Other aspects of the work are also proving to be controversial.

The amount of car parking being provided is inadequate.

No rear access is being provided to the new development which would have offered access to overflow parking at the school as well as a route for emergency and delivery vehicles.

Planning Councillors acted against the wishes of Sport England in agreeing to demolish the all weather games area (MUGA) without providing a replacement. This omission likely to be the subject of a formal complaint

The Council statement reads, “Following detailed design work and site surveys to modernise and enlarge Lincoln Court, the project’s contractor and health and safety specialist has advised it would not be safe for any of the work to be completed while the building remains occupied.

As the landlord, the council has taken the difficult decision that all Lincoln Court tenants must be moved to suitable, alternative accommodation for the duration of the work. All tenants have received an apology from the council for this unexpected disruption.

Tenants, the executive member for housing and a ward councillor attended a meeting with staff this afternoon. This will be followed by one-to-one conversations with each tenant about their needs and preferences for alternative accommodation.

Michael Melvin, interim corporate director of health, housing and adult social care at City of York Council, said:

“We apologise to all our tenants for this unexpected and disappointing level of disruption. Moving everyone to safe and suitable alternative accommodation by the end of May 2019 is now our priority.

“While 10 new homes will be added to the scheme, and the building improved for the long-term benefit of older people in the city, we regret the degree of upheaval the present tenants will face.

“In addition to today’s meeting we have written to all tenants within the scheme and are going beyond our legal obligations to support them through this time. We have offered tenants the option of moving on a permanent basis, or to return to Lincoln Court when the refurbishment is completed.

“We will also provide practical and financial support, and will arrange and pay for every tenant’s move. This will include moving their belongings and bringing their new home up to the decorative and furnished standard of their flat at Lincoln Court.

“We are committed to making the process as well-supported as possible. Additional staff will work to find tenants alternative accommodation that best matches their needs and preferences regarding location and setting.”

With the requirement to relocate tenants established, the council is taking the opportunity to review the current design of Lincoln Court to ensure the best possible layout and accommodation to create an independent living scheme fit for the future”.

Report on public service reports in York

click to view

A report has been published which analyses the  reports made by members of the public using the “Fix My Street” app.  The University of Sterling research report relates issue volumes to “areas of deprivation”.

The York Council decided some 5 years ago to develop its own “app” for public service issue reporting (“Report it”). However the system has never worked properly lacking the flexibility and features available in commercial systems. Only litter and street lighting reports produce an instance reference number and “job completed” notifications.

Despite promises of an early upgrade to meet modern standards none has been forthcoming.

Clearly many residents still opt for “Fix My Street” and other systems to report issues. This means that someone at the Council has to manually re-key the reports into its ageing IT system.

This is the kind of inefficiency that the Council needs to tackle if it is to invest more in actually dealing with issues *on the street”

The Stirling research – not surprisingly – reveals that road and footpath reports are by far the greatest concern of York residents. 

SelectaDNA tagging spray deployed

North Yorkshire Police aim to identify law-breaking moped and off-road riders

North Yorkshire Police is set to use SelectaDNA tagging spray to target those who ride mopeds and off-road motorcycles in an illegal or anti-social manner.

Already successfully deployed by 14 other police forces in the UK, officers will use the DNA spray to safely tag offenders who often have their faces covered while making off from the police.

It marks the bikes, clothing and skin of riders and passengers with a uniquely-coded but invisible DNA that will provide forensic evidence to link them to a specific crime.

PCSO Justin Piercy deploys DNA spray during the police demonstration

The spray shows up blue under special UV lights and it can still be detected after washing.

The roll-out in North Yorkshire is being funded from the Proceeds of Crime Act at a cost of £2,500.

PC Tom Ibbetson, who has led the DNA spray initiative at North Yorkshire Police with support from the force’s Roads Policing Group, said: “As we have seen in other parts of the country, the use of SelectaDNA tagging spray is a very effective and safe police tactic in evidentially linking people on mopeds and off-road motorcycles to criminality and anti-social behaviour.

“The beauty of the DNA tagging spray is that suspects and bikes can be identified many weeks after being tagged, meaning they will have to be constantly looking over their shoulder because the police will catch up with them sooner or later.

PC Tom Ibbetson who is leading the roll-out of the DNA spray tactic at North  Yorkshire Police

“Importantly, it sends out a clear message to both offenders and concerned residents that North Yorkshire Police will not tolerate this type of behaviour. We will go to great lengths to bring offenders to justice and end the misery they are causing in many of our communities.”

Anyone with information about crime or anti-social behaviour linked to mopeds and off-road motorcycles is urged to call North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 1, and speak to the Force Control Room.

You can also contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 if you would prefer to remain anonymous.

For more information about SelectaDNA tagging spray, please go to www.selectadna.co.uk/dna-tagging-spray/news.

Westfield residents petition for better roads and footpaths

Local LibDem Councillor Sue Hunter will present 4 petitions to the York Council meeting on Thursday.

They cover the following issues raised by residents.

Speed humps on Askham Lane need repairs

(i)      regarding the following improvements prior to any further building work starting in the Hob Moor area:

  • Improving the access along Kingsway West/Ascot Way, removing  where necessary, the grass verge
  • Providing dropped kerbs of lay-by parking where this doesn’t already exist
  • Providing alternative, modern, children’s play facilities before any existing provision is removed

(ii)      regarding having roads and footpaths in the Ridgeway area repaired and, where necessary, resurfaced and that  grass verges be “edged” and hedges trimmed back so that the original widths of footpaths are restored.

(iii)     regarding having roads and footpaths (including speed cushions) at the low numbered end of Askham Lane repaired and that grass verges be “edged” and that hedges/trees are trimmed back so  that the original  width of the  footpath is restored.

(iv)    calling on Talk Talk to repair the footpaths and verges that they have damaged during their works

Petitions presented at full Council meetings are normally referred for an officer report to be prepared. They are then considered by a Council committee.