Public services improving in York this week

The York Council has had a good week in providing public services. 100% refuse collection success today with the only significant missed collections, earlier in the week, down to “blocked accesses”. Their web page detailing service standards achieved can be accessed by clicking here

Elsewhere the fallen leaves that we reported on Bellhouse Way have been cleared from the paths

Bellhouse Way largely clear of leaves
Elsewhere we have reported leaf fall on Chesney Field….
…and on Foxwood Lane
We’ve also asked for the snicket link to Chesney Field to be cleared of obstructions and detritus

Winter bring its usual problems.

Residents urged to check local salt bins

As we wait for the inevitable icy weather residents are being urged to check that their local salt bins are full and free of litter.

Salt bin locations on “Local View” web site

Salt bin locations are plotted on the Street View services map Click here to access. Look under “street care” then “salt bins funded by CYC”. Councillors should have completed their pre-winter checks by now, but some may have been missed.

Another recurrent problem that will arise, as wetter weather becomes more frequent, is damage to grass verges. This is sometimes caused by poor parking but also is prevalent on street corners where large vehicles leave the carriageway.

Some wards make use of a delegated budget to provide off street “eco grid” style parking lay-bys.

Others use the option of hardening vulnerable areas like road junctions. Again matrix surfacing conserves green space and good drainage while protecting verges from damage.

Large scale building works have made verges in the Kingsway West area particularly vulnerable to vehicle run over damage this year

Stile collapses

We’d reported on several occasions that the stile access from Foxwood Lane onto Acomb Moor was unstable. It has now collapsed (wood rot).

Hopefully the field owners and local Councillors will get it fixed. There si no grazing on the moor at present so security is not compromised.

A decision on the Public Right of Way route, which uses the stile, will be made by the York Council in February.

City centre retailers under increasing pressure

Figures from York Bid

The latest footfall figures for York City centre makes grim reading. The run up to Christmas is usually the busiest time of the year for retailers. With footfall continuing to decline, hopes now rest on the Christmas market stimulating interest.  

The York Council is today discussing a report which considers the progress that has been made in implementing recommendations from a review of the “economic health of the City centre”. 

Eight recommendations were agreed by the responsible executive Councillor at the beginning of the year.  They mostly concern relationships with trade organisations together with the promise that a long-term strategy would be consulted on. The consultation has been dubbed “MyCityCentre”. If it is anything like the Councils  MyCastleGateway project, then recovery timescales will be measured in decades rather than years.

A bid to the governments “Future High Streets Fund” has already been turned down.

The only tangible change for customers was the introduction of aYork Gift Card loyalty scheme. This was launched by the York BID last month.   Unfortunately it competes with a plethora of other loyalty cards – including those run by the York Museums Trust, York Libraries and the Theatre Royal – as well as the, better established, York Pass, for the attention of visitors.

Some joined up thinking wouldn’t go amiss.

The report says that evening park and ride service times have now been made permanent.

Meanwhile the number of shops closing in the City centre is increasing. Debenhams, Bonmarche, French Connection, LK Bennett, Crabtree & Evelyn, Gap, Dorothy Perkins and Burton have, or will shortly, close. They join dozens of others including iconic York brands like Scotts, Hunter and Smallpage, House and Son, Sarah Coggles, Russell’s and Mulberry Hall; all lost during the last decade.

Against that background of collateral damage, it is surprising that the Council could only come up with eight palliatives. In fairness, though, it can do little about the biggest influence – internet shopping.

The shop closure trend is not even mentioned in the Council report.

It is ironic that some politicians are jumping on a bandwagon promoted by access difficulties for some market traders over the Christmas period. They will be unable to close their stalls. remove goods and exit the city before 5:00pm.

Their landlords, the “Make it York” QUANGO, claim that vehicles cannot safely leave the market area before 8:00pm.  

Some might think, in any event, that the high footfall brought by the Christmas Market would be something to be exploited. Empty stalls are a “turn off” for customers.

Nevertheless “Make it York” has acquired a poor reputation for consultation and flexibility during its relatively short lifespan.

It would do well to find a compromise.

Cycle link under northern by pass open UPDATED

We’ve cycled the whole length of the cycle track now. Certainly a lot safer than using the B1224. Around 3 miles in length.

It narrows on the section near Harewood Whin where it is an unmodified footpath. There is room to pass.

Only one secured gate on the route (near the A1237 junction). Rest are easy to navigate.

Ironically the roughest surface is on Milestone Avenue in Rufforth. This forms the public highway access to the cycle path. Small cafe in Rufforth provides refreshments.

Pleasant ride in summer although the nearby clay pigeon shooting range is at little noisy!

Milestone Avenue in Rufforth. Carriageway needs resurfacing

The promised new cycle link from York (Knapton) to Rufforth has been completed. The last section involved the modification of an underpass crossing the A1237 to allow for safe access for pedestrians and cyclists.

Previously the tunnel had been used mainly by cattle.

Signage has yet to be installed on the route although it is already being used extensively by pedestrians.

Entrance to cycle path from Knapton
Link from Knapton
A1237 underpass
Link to Ruforth
Location map. Entrance from Knapton (New House Road)

Further details of homes plans for Ordnance Lane, Duncombe Barracks & Burnholme

The York Council says that the next stage of it’s work with York residents to design the homes, streets and open spaces planned for the city is underway, and everyone is welcome to get involved.

The latest workshops will inform our architects of local priorities before they start work at the drawing boards, and are open to all residents to join in. The next phase of these engagement events will be for Ordnance Lane, Duncombe Barracks and Burnholme site.

Duncombe Barracks housing site

David Mikhail, is the founding director of our architect Mikhail Riches and is the design director for the sites coming forward in City of York Council’s Housing Delivery Programme. He said: “Our design team and City of York Council are eager to learn from the people who live, work or study in the area.

“We believe in co-design and know that collaborating with people on our projects helps us to design and build a better place: a new place that belongs to the neighbourhood right from the start.” 

Tom Brittain, assistant director of housing and safer communities, said: “The three-stage engagement events for the council-owned sites will be guided by our housing design manual (www.york.gov.uk/housingdesignmanual). We want to encourage as many people as possible to continue to support these sessions so that they can help create the homes and settings for them that they want to see.”

The event at Hospital Fields Road will be the first for this site and will start conversations between residents and our architects from Mikhail Riches. This will include asking residents about the area and what they want from the homes, streets and open spaces on the site, as has already been done for Duncombe Barracks and Burnholme.

The events at Duncombe Barracks and Burnholme will be detailed, one-day workshops, with lunch provided. At them, residents can hear the ideas and priorities voiced at the first workshops held in October. They can then create 3D models of how they’d like each site to look like.

The third events are scheduled for spring 2020 for the Duncombe Barracks and Burnholme sites. At these, plans of the proposals will be drawn up and feedback on them requested, as well as from on-line surveys, ahead of planning permission being submitted.

Everyone is welcome to these next meetings as we are very keen to hear your views. They will be:  

For more information, please visit www.york.gov.uk/HousingDeliveryProgramme