Public service standards improving in York

Good to see that some street level public service standards are improving in west York. As we observed some months ago, the health crisis caused a rethink on street cleansing with a neighbourhood management approach producing better results. This has improvement has generally been sustained

The York Council had a challenging time in 2019 when parts of the City were blighted by weeds following the award of a poorly specified treatment contract. This year the streets have been largely clear of weed growth following the award of a new £58,000 contract to Munro Weed Control.

There are still some problem areas (snickets, back lanes, garage forecourts) but generally standards have improved.

Some progress seems to have been made on long term, seemingly intractable, problems such as rubbish storage and fly tipping in the Front Street back lane area. Notices have now been displayed indicating the penalties for fly tipping. Most rubbish storage areas are now tidier although there are some exceptions

Less good news on highways maintenance. There are still too many uneven road surfaces including long outstanding problems in the School Street area in the Acomb. White line repainting is also behind schedule.

The Councils new graffiti removal service has been successful although utility boxes and some private boundaries are still subject to attack. The utilities in particular take a long time to clean their boxes. We’d like to see the Council team undertaking this work and more effort being made to fine those who are responsible.

Good to see local bus shelters have been repainted. Missing or damaged perspex panels need to be replaced at some locations
Anti social behaviour has been an increasing problem in some neighbourhoods recently

Building site on Ascot Way being wound down

It seems that completion of work at both the new disabled centre and a remodelled Lincoln Court will shortly be competed. The builders equipment is being removed and the compound on the school land and the MUGA are almost clear.

New Lincoln Court entrance is imposing
Despite being largely clear of equipment, it seems unlikely that public use of the games area will be allowed.
This is the replacement site on Thanet Road slated to be the home of the new games area. However discussions about the project have dragged on for nearly 2 years.

The has been no recent update from the York Council on when they expect the communal housing, self build, health centre, older persons accommodation, public buildings and community facilities on their Lowfield development to be completed (or even in most cases started!)

Coronavirus York updates; 10th October 2020

Deaths and test results

80 (EIGHTY) additional positive test results have been announced bringing the total number of cases recorded in the City to 1964.

There have been no further hospital deaths.

A new peak of 232.18 cases per 100,000 head of population was recorded on Wednesday .

Heslington remains the neighbourhood with the largest number of cases during the last 7 days. Currently it has 75 positive test results. The next highest is neighbouring Tang Hall with 36 cases.

Click to see detail

Authorities appeal; “Keep the city safe and stop the spread”

Following an increase in cases of Coronavirus across the country, the Council are urging residents to play their part in stopping the spread of the virus.

As of today (9 October) the York 7 day rate for COVID-19 cases was at 203.69 per 100,000. The previous verified 7 day rate comes from 2 October and was 161 cases per 100,000. This compares to the national average of 109.3 and regional average of 190.1 for the same date.

Residents and visitors to the city are being urged to follow good public health measures and remember Hands, Face, Space at all times.

Councillor Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council and Chair of the Outbreak Management Advisory Board said:

“Through our collective effort we have been able to keep our city safe and open, however, as cases increase across the country, now more than ever we must focus on protecting our family, friends and neighbours from the virus. 

“We understand that this remains a difficult time for many people, but we must continue in these efforts to protect one another and keep the places we love in the city open. 

“Whilst we continue working with our excellent public health team and partners to help protect businesses and residents, it is now utterly crucial for us all to work together to help slow the spread of the virus. 

“York remains a safe and welcoming city to visit, with local businesses needing our support more than ever. Let’s continue supporting local businesses in a safe way following public health guidance, which remains our best defence against the virus. This way we can ensure our city can remain open, safe and welcoming.”

The council are working with North Yorkshire Police, public health experts, York BID and businesses to remind people to follow health guidance. Signage has been installed in prominent locations across the city to ensure the Hands, Face, Space message is promoted to everyone visiting the city centre.

York remains above the national average for footfall in the city, with visitors spend drawing close to pre-lockdown levels. Businesses across the city have been working with the Council and other partners to help keep visitors safe whilst they enjoy what the city has to offer.

To focus on reducing household transmission, the Council has launched a campaign encouraging residents to share their own ideas and tips they use to keep their home and family safe. So far these have included offering visitors kitchen roll to avoid sharing towels, and keeping a bottle of hand sanitiser ready at the door for visitors. 

Sharon Stoltz, Director for Public Health at City of York Council said: 

“We are grateful to everyone that has been following the rules so far, and we know many residents have worked hard to stay safe. But with the number of cases increasing, if we want to keep our city open we all need to play our part. The message is clear, to stop the spread we all need to work together.

We know that the best ways to stop the spread are wearing a face covering, keeping a safe distance and limiting contact with others as much as possible. If people are experiencing symptoms it is essential that they stay at home and arrange to have a test. 

To halt the spread we need to remember to follow Hands, Face, Space and to: 

  • Wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds or more with soap and water or use hand sanitiser if soap and water are not easily available
  • Wear a face covering in busy public spaces 
  • Keep a 2m distance from people outside your household and don’t gather in groups of more than six 
  • Self-isolate and stay at home if you have symptoms or if you are contacted by test and trace. If you have symptoms please ask for a test by visiting www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or calling 119.”

Superintendent Mike Walker, who is leading the COVID-19 response for North Yorkshire Police said:

“Last weekend North Yorkshire Police worked alongside our local authority partners to protect the public and this weekend is no different. We will be proactively policing the Covid regulations and despite demand returning to pre-lockdown levels, we are determined to keep people safe and suppress the spread of the virus. 

“However, our effort needs to be matched by the public who both live and visit North Yorkshire and the City of York. So far, the vast majority have demonstrated high levels of personal responsibility, for which we are immensely thankful.  We all know we must continue to stay alert and keep going for as long as it takes to beat this virus.  Just like you, I know we might have to live with its impacts for some time, but our collective determination to beat it will work.
 
“Extra officers will be patrolling across North Yorkshire and York this weekend, trying to keep everyone safe, but we need your help.  If anyone is seeing this weekend as a chance to throw caution to the wind and not follow the restrictions, which everyone should all know and understand, then my message is simple – the police will not tolerate anyone who willingly puts others at risk, by refusing to abide by the regulations. Anyone who acts in such a reckless and irresponsible manner should expect enforcement action to be taken against them.  
 
“So please enjoy what the county and city has to offer, but do so within the restrictions and work with us to keep North Yorkshire safe.”

Share your views on the York Outer Ring Road

City of York Council is asking residents, businesses and visitors for their views on the proposed upgrade of the York Outer Ring Road from A19 Shipton Road to the A1036 Little Hopgrove.

A1237 congestion

This follows the announcement last year that the Department for Transport has approved York’s £25m scheme to dual the Outer Ring Road from the A19 Shipton Road to the A1036 Little Hopgrove progressing to final business case stage.

West Yorkshire Combined Authority have also approved £38m to upgrade seven roundabouts along the ring road. Wetherby Road roundabout was the first to be upgraded and was completed in 2019.

Alongside the road and active travel upgrades there will also be an extensive landscape programme with the aim of retaining existing trees and hedgerows where we can. Where this is not possible a diverse range of trees and hedgerows will be planted to complement the local environment and integrate the new road into the existing landscape.

The council have written to over 17,000 residents and businesses close to the York Outer Ring Road. People can also share the views online at www.york.gov.uk/yorr. The consultation closes on Monday 16 November 2020.

£1.25 million contract let for electric charging points in York

According to the Councils web site,

the contract will cover the purchase of various EV charging infrastructure assets and associated support services. The intention is to procure £1.25M of assets and services from this contract initially, and the contract will give us to option to procure up to £5M of assets and services in the future”.

The successful tenderer was Chargemaster Limited

The Council says, “a competitive tender was carried out through the ESPO framework between 14th Aug and 4th Sep 2020.

Of the £1.25M of initial purchases, £800k will be externally funded by a successful bid to the YNYER LEP. The remaining £450k will be funded by City of York Council”.

“An Executive Decision has already been made to undertake EV infrastructure works; a record of this decision is available.

Executive approval for the required budget was made during the budget process and has already been assigned to the Transport Capital Programme.

As such, there are sufficient Executive decisions in place to permit an Officer Decision on the signing of the contract.

This reasoning has been reviewed by Legal Services and Finance who support this approach, on the understanding that purchases from the contract beyond the initial £1.25M amount will require additional decision making authorisation.

No details of the other tenders received have been published

Would you believe it; They’re going to dig up Tadcaster Road again!

A Council media release today confirms what many feared. The Tadcaster Road carriageway is going to be dug up again only 3 months after it was resurfaced.

Resurfacing work was completed in June

The carriageway is currently in excellent condition and contrasts markedly with the condition of most other roads in west York.

But it seems that the Council jumped the gun when they undertook a £600,000 resurfacing scheme earlier in the summer.

Waste Of Money GIFs | Tenor

The government announced a £5 million improvement budget in July only weeks after work on the road was completed. The government was responding to a bid that the York Council had made earlier in the year.

It is likely that taxpayers will want to know a lot more about how this blunder happened.

The Council media release issued today says,

“One of the busiest roads in York is set to benefit from a £5million government funded road improvement scheme.

City of York Council was successfully awarded funding from the Department of Transport’s Local Highways Maintenance Challenge Fund.

The funding will enable to council to improve large sections of drainage along this route which will reduce localised surface water flooding. The work includes the delivery of additional pedestrian crossings and will ensure the road is maintenance free for the next 10 years. 

The authority has been proactively working with all the major utility companies, water, gas, electric, phones, to coordinate their future work. During this process it became apparent that Northern Gas Networks (NGN), were due to carry out major work in 2023. Working in partnership they have brought this work forward to 10 October 2020 ensuring minimum disruption for residents and commuters. The council works are scheduled to start in January 2021.

Cllr Andy D’Agorne, Executive Member for Transport, said at City of York Council, said:

“It’s excellent news that our bid for £5million to upgrade Tadcaster Road to reduce localised flooding has been reviewed by Government and is now in approved.  This will deliver much needed improvements to one of York’s busiest routes.

“Our primary goal is to ensure these works are coordinated with utilities companies so that the level of disruption for residents, businesses and visitors is reduced as much as possible.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Wasn’t part of Tadcaster Road resurfaced earlier this year?
Yes, the council bid to government for a scheme on Tadcaster Road. The council received confirmation in March that it was unsuccessful and would not receive funding.  Therefore the council resurfaced a section of Tadcaster Road as it was in need of urgent repairs between The Horseshoe and St Aubyns Place. 
However, in June the council was then awarded the £5million funding to improve large sections of drainage along Tadcaster Road which will reduce the risk of localised surface water flooding.

Northern Gas Networks have recently informed the council they have plans to carry out major works to their service at Tadcaster Road by 2025. The council was not made aware of these works before the section of Tadcaster Road between The Horseshoe and St Aubyns Place was resurfaced earlier this year.
Whilst it is not an ideal situation, the Council would rather sacrifice a small part of the works that have been undertaken already rather than risk the digging up of the major £5 million scheme in a few years’ time for the Northern Gas Networks scheme.  

Coronavirus York updates; 6th October 2020

Deaths and test results

First COVID death at York Hospital for several months announced today.

No further fatalities elsewhere in the City including care homes.

116 (ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTEEN) additional cases announced today bringing total to 1699

Friday 2nd October now officially the worst day for new infections with a total of 71.

Sunday (4th) also saw 62 new cases.

Situation now worse than during spring with infection rates still rising.

Hardest hit neighbourhoods during last 7 days Heslington/University/Fulford, The Groves/Heworth South & Holgate East.

Government announcement on further restrictions expected imminently

46 students at York St John University are reported to be self isolating

Coronavirus York updates; 3rd October 2020

Deaths and test results

Late on Saturday evening the government issued a statement on their COVID monitoring web suite (click) which says ;

Due to a technical issue, which has now been resolved, there has been a delay in publishing a number of COVID-19 cases to the dashboard in England. This means the total reported over the coming days will include some additional cases from the period between 24 September and 1 October, increasing the number of cases reported.

This has affected the York figures. In total an additional FOURTYSIX positive test results were announced for the City today. This brings the cumulative total to 1398.

The tables below have been updated to reflect the new figures.

The 38 cases recorded on 28th September is the second highest single day figure this year (There were 50 cases on 29th April)

The incidence of cases per 100,000 population has reached 79.3 (which has been a figure which has resulted in other areas being added to the governments “watch list”).

There have been no additional hospital deaths

The worst affected neighbourhood during the last 7 days has been Clifton Without/Skelton

Green Homes Grant applications welcomed

An illustration of a row of houses includes one house which is wearing a fluffy winter hat. The wording above it reads wrap up your home with a green homes grant of up to five thousand pounds
Wrap up your home with a Green Homes Grant of up to £5000

Eligible homeowners and landlords can now apply for a grant to help pay for energy saving measures to keep homes warmer and reduce fuel bills.

The Government’s new Green Homes Grant scheme allows homeowners to apply for grants of up to £5,000 for making certain improvements including fitting insulation. Householders with lower incomes could receive up to £10,000. Home owners and private sector landlords can apply.

“Successful applicants for the Green Homes Grant will be sent a voucher of up to £5,000 to cover up to two-thirds of the cost of energy efficiency and low carbon heat improvements to homes. Bigger grants are available for homeowners if they or a member of their household receives one of the qualifying benefits, and the grant will cover 100% of the cost of the improvements up to £10,000.”

Applicants will need to:

“As the winter months approach, people will be spending more time indoors which will impact both the cost of heating and the accompanying carbon emissions. I urge those eligible for the grant to apply and take this opportunity to transition to a cheaper and more sustainable home heating and insulation.

For queries about the scheme please call the Simple Energy Advice line on 0800 444202 from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and Saturday to Sunday 9am to 5pm or find out more at www.gov.uk/apply-green-homes-grant.

Private rental properties will be expected to meet a ‘C’ energy efficiency performance certification (EPC) by 2035. As such, now is the time for landlords to start improving their properties’ EPC rating and apply for a grant of up to £5,000 for energy efficiency improvements.

Green Homes Grant installers must be TrustMark accredited and customers can check installers at: www.trustmark.org.uk/ .  The Green Homes Grant scheme will never send official representatives to your property uninvited or cold calling on the phone to encourage you to join the scheme.