Appeal following assault at Askham Bar, York

Officers are appealing for witnesses and information following an assault near Tesco at Askham Bar, York.

The incident happened on Monday 8 March at around 11.40am when an 18 year old was assaulted as he left the Tesco store making his way back to York College. It happened on the ramp that leads from the Tesco carpark to the crossing on Tadcaster Rd.

The suspect is described as a white man, of student age, around 5ft 11in in height, with brown hair and of medium build. He was believed to be wearing wearing a light grey hoodie and dark brown skinny jeans and grey trainers.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact North Yorkshire Police. Dial 101, press 2 and ask to speak to PC Darren Cox.

Please quote reference number  12210073613 when passing on any information.

Way open for Acomb Library expansion

The development to the rear of the Acomb Library (Bowling Lane) is almost complete with most of the homes now occupied.

The Council owned site, currently being used as a builders yard, will shortly close opening the way for a start to be made on the long awaited upgrade to the Acomb Library.

The Council has a budget of £2 million allocated in each of the next two years (starting on 1/4/21) to provide “Centres of Learning and Opportunity for all” at Acomb & Clifton libraries.

Plans to provide a “one stop shop” for public services at Acomb Explore date back over a decade and the land to the rear of South View Terrace was purchased by the Council (from a local builder) with the intention of improving the whole area.

Sadly, that intention stalled, and the land became overgrown.  It was a major missed regeneration opportunity.

The “Lockdown” period has provided Council officials with adequate time to refined their proposals for the site and we expect to see public consultation starting shortly.

We do not want building activity in the area to continue for longer than is essential, so some drive and enthusiasm is now required.

The publication of a draft development timetable would be a good start.

All change at Escrick Sidings

Renovated BMX track ready in summer

Volunteers have been working recently to renovate a BMX track adjacent to the York-Selby cycle path. It is located near the former Escrick Sidings site about halfway between Bishopthorpe and Riccall. It is not ready for use yet but could be an attractive option for enthusiasts later in the summer.

BMX track near Escrick Sidings

Nearby a bulldozer and excavator were levelling the former sidings site itself earlier  in the week.

Following land-fill with builders rubble, the site had been earmarked 20 years ago for use as a small nature area. Little work actually took place. The area regenerated naturally and  a picnic area was briefly established (but it become overgrown).

The site had been sold to the builder by SUSTRANs who manage the adjacent cycle path.

It is unclear whether the excavation work is relying on an old planning permission as there is no record of any recent proposals, for use of the Sidings, on the Selby Council web site.

The York Greenways group have taken an interest in the site from time to time over the years

It would be good if the land owners could display notices explaining what is happening at the Sidings and to what timescales.

Less than 100 days to EU Settlement Scheme deadline

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With less than 100 days to the deadline for applying for EU Settlement Scheme, the Council is reiterating that local support is available for people who need it.

Up to 31 December 2020, 7,970 applications were made to the EU Settlement Scheme in York of which 7,550 have been concluded. These included 4,100 residents securing settled status and 3,310 who secured pre-settled status.

If you haven’t applied yet and are an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, resident in the UK before 31 December 2020, you and your family members need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021.

EU, EEA or Swiss citizen or their family members who have lived in the UK for many years may have a permanent residence document or EEA Biometric Residence Card (BRC). You will still need to apply to the EUSS by the deadline to continue to live, work, study and access free healthcare and other services.

An application must be made for every eligible child within a family. Parents should apply on behalf of their children even if they’ve already

Recycling changes – Council to consult on only one option.

A report on changes to recycling collection in York was discussed at a meeting which took place on 3rd March. Three options were considered.

  • . The council could focus on programmes to help encourage
    residents to recycle more.
  • Maintaining the weekly collection principle changes could be
    made which increase capacity by supplying new containers,
    enabling residents to collect more of their recycling.
  • Maintaining the weekly collection principle, changes could be
    made to increase the range of materials collected.

A few days later these options had metamorphosed into something more specific. Without any prior consultation, or even notice, a Council committee on 25th March were offered three new options.

click to access

The committee eliminated options A and C and an official has now (26/3/21) confirmed that residents will only be consulted on Option B.

This would involve a reduction in the collection frequency to 3 weekly for recycling and garden waste. Storage space for an extra wheeled bin will be needed. Each property would have 3 wheeled bins plus 2 recycling boxes (for paper). There are no changes proposed to grey bin emptying which would continue on a fortnightly basis.

Rather bizarrely option B also involves green waste collection throughout the whole year although the amount of green waste presented between December and March has historically been tiny.

This whole exercise looks to have been rushed through in a belated attempt to influence the specification of new collection vehicles which are needed urgently to replace the existing obsolescent, and unreliable, fleet.

It is unclear how the Council will consult on their preferred option or even if the status quo will be a choice that is offered,

More on Castle Gateway

“Events bring residents ideas to life on public spaces”

The Council has issued the following statement about (still more) consultation events about the future of the Eye of York and the Castle car park area. The Council is pursuing its “world class open space” vision which involves the closure of York’s best used car park.

The current concern is that if people shun the City centre, or it simply becomes a regional “playground”, then we could end up with a world class empty space.

The Council is currently waiting to see whether central government will stump up the cost of the project.

An announcement is expected towards the end of next week. One of the designs that has been leaked suggests that a highly imaginative approach can be expected.

2017 plans

The Council says “My Castle Gateway continues to put residents views at the heart of plans to transform the car park, Eye of York and the wider area.

Run in partnership with local group My Future York, it has led to bold plans being put forward to transform the area, including creating community and business space on Piccadilly, new walkways and cycle-routes, and a bridge over the Foss.

The engagement approach returns this month, as designers BDP explore the options for the world class public space around Clifford’s Tower and Eye of York.

Residents are invited to join the conversation on social media or attend online events to explore options to deliver some of the big themes from the community brief:

These conversations will inform early concept design work, with further engagement on the concept and developing design planned in the months ahead.

Suburbs faster than York City centre

Some York suburbs now enjoy potential broadband speeds which are several times higher than those that are available in the City centre

The highest York Central constituency speeds are available in the

  • Clifton North,
  • Westfield/Chapelfields/Foxwood and
  • Woodthorpe/Acomb Park neighbourhoods

This probably reflects the ultra fibre optic (UFO) programme which has seen new cables laid in those neighbourhoods in recent years.

Superfast speeds in the City centre are amongst the lowest in the country.

click to access all data

We’ll meet again

click to read

The government has told councils to start meeting again from May.

Interim regulations permitted local authorities to hold remote meetings using facilities such as “zoom”. Now they will have to get together in a room with efforts being made to accommodate members of the public.

Unfortunately work on York’s Guildhall is far from complete so meetings may reconvene at the Citadel building in Gillygate.

The York Council was one of the pioneers a decade ago in live streaming meetings so the recent introduction of on line access was less of an innovation than it was for some authorities.

The on-line format has been criticised for producing a sterile atmosphere with the cut and trust of debate missing from the decision making process.

Emergency powers delegated some decisions to officials. Unfortunately there was no requirement to publish details of up coming officers decisions. The first that residents heard of some plans was when a decision notice was issued some days later.

That is something that needs to change.

The government is consulting on how the option of “on line” decision making can be made available in the future.

Certainly many Executive member decision sessions – which last for a few minutes and produce little or no engagement from residents – might usefully be held without the need for unnecessary travel (subject to the usual requirement to allow public representations to be made).

The first meeting in public may be the Council’s AGM at which a new Lord Mayor will be elected.

The meeting is scheduled to take place on 27th May.

North Yorkshire Community Messaging is moving

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North Yorkshire Police say that they have today sent out communication to all those currently signed up to receive our Community Messaging alerts to let you know that we are moving to a new platform.

This will mean you will need to sign up again to continue receiving alerts and can do so at our website here: Community Messaging – North Yorkshire Police | North Yorkshire Police or by visiting the North Yorkshire Community Messaging website at: www.northyorkshirecommunitymessaging.co.uk

Please be assured the message you have received is not a scam, a copy of the message sent out is below:

North Yorkshire Community Messaging is moving!

We’re making some improvements to the service we deliver to you through Community Messaging and as part of this we are moving to a new system which requires you to sign up again.

All you need to do is click here and re-register to ensure you continue receiving our alerts. It’s essential you do this otherwise you won’t be kept up to date with the latest crime appeals, scam alerts and policing work in your local community.

Our current system will cease on 31st March 2021 and there will be a short pause in the alerts we send out whilst we get everything ready on the new system but you can keep up to date with your local policing team through their social media accounts which you can find here.

Thank you for your understanding whilst we make these important changes.

York Council to cut 20% from highway maintenance

A response to a Freedom of Information request has revealed that the Council intends to spend 20% less on repairing roads and footpaths in the City during 2021/22 compared to the current year.

The decision will come as a disappointment to many drivers and pedestrians and will be a particular blow for cyclists, many of whom have criticised the rapidly declining quality of local highway surfaces.

Highway maintenance is one of the expenditure areas in the Council where essentially you get what you pay for. So less money inevitably means that fewer paths and carriageways will be resurfaced.

The Council will announce shortly what proportion of the budget it will spend on reactive pothole filling rather than, longer lasting, patching and resurfacing schemes.

Sources at the Council have criticised inconsistent central government funding allocations – such as the annual so called “pot hole” fund – which make long term investment planning difficult. A late announcement of funding for the resurfacing of Tadcaster Road came only weeks after the work had been completed using local taxpayers money (and is now being done again).

However, there will also be concern that some money has been taken from the maintenance budget to fund other projects. Several new schemes, such as rural cycle routes, are sucking funds from the budgets needed to repair existing cycle paths..

The Council has never recovered from the major reductions made to highways funding some 8 years ago.

Successive administrations have failed to find ways of returning investment levels to those seen earlier in the century.

It is estimated that the backlog in maintenance work nationally would require investment of around £11 billion to rectify.