York Council acts to tackle street level problems – potholes, school parking, weeds/litter, footpath repairs etc

Saturdays story, Now action promised on cleaning up streets

Potential boost for York’s frontline services
York’s frontline services could be set to receive a further financial boost, thanks to the efforts of Liberal Democrat Councillors.
In a report published today, it is proposed that:
  • £1.031 million is used to increase capacity in some of York’s crucial frontline services by utilising £620k that has been unspent and a further £411k of unused contingency fund.
  • It is also proposed that an extra £1 million is brought forward from the 2019/20 budget to resurface some of the worst roads in the City, as a result of the recent extreme winter weather. 
If approved by the Executive, it is proposed that this newly released funding be used to support existing frontline services and launch new initiatives, including:
  • Creating a new work programme for footpath repairs across the city.
  • Establishing an additional team to carry out pothole maintenance.
  • Providing new resources for enforcement teams to control dangerous parking, with a special focus on improving safety around schools.
  • Allowing residents who have had recycling boxes damaged or stolen to claim two free boxes per year.
  • Using the Economic Infrastructure Fund to support high street shopping in Haxby and Acomb.
  • Creating a fund to support voluntary and community groups who wish to develop innovative ideas on how to make the best use of our green spaces.
Cllr Andrew Waller, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader of the Council, said:
“Frontline services have always remained our number one priority for the Liberal Democrats and if approved by the Executive in June, this additional investment goes a long way top reaffirm that commitment.”
“Subject to Executive approval, this additional funding can be put to good use in order to carry out extensive highways repairs and considerably improve our public spaces.”
“Just as this investment shows, the Liberal Democrats will continue to uphold our commitment to York’s frontline services and work hard to ensure residents receive the highest standards of service from all Council services.”

Plan for improvements to Railway Station precinct welcomed

Unanswered questions about cost and sources of funding

The Council has published consultation plans which could dramatically change the area around the entrance to York railway station. The idea revolves around demolishing the Queen  Street bridge.

Although the basic plans have been around for more than a decade the Council has now committed to implementation before 2022.

It will however be a very expensive project to implement (demolition of the Queen Street Bridge alone will cost over £7 million) and the consultation papers are largely opaque on costs and sources of funding. Until more financial details emerge, the plans will simply be the latest is a series of artists impressions.

No journey time impact figures are provided.

Still the basic principle of separating pedestrian movements from traffic has to be right while the removal of cars from the portico and Tea Room Square will be welcomed by many.  Replacement car parking is promised on the west of the station.

Bus stops will remain “on street” but are rationalised over a longer distance.

Full details, including an explanatory video, can be found  by clicking here.

 

Additional parking restrictions planned for several streets in York

Following consultation, parking restrictions are to be introduced on the following streets;

Moorcroft Road

  • St Olave’s Road (x2),
  • Moorcroft Road,
  • Barbican Mews,
  • Farrar Street,
  • Pasture Farm Close,
  • St Leonard’s Place,
  • Windsor Drive / Ripley Gr,
  • Dodsworth Avenue (x5),
  • Melrosegate (near Harington Ave),
  • Redmires Cl. / Ebsay Dr,
  • Esk Drive,
  • White Rose Way Lay-by
  • St James Place

Restrictions planned for the following streets have been modified following resident’s comments.

  • Copmanthorpe Ln/ Kirkwell Main Street,
  • Fulford,
  • St Saviourgate R43,
  • Clifton Moor industrial estate
  • North Field Lane

Following opposition, no changes are now proposed in the following streets Barlow Street, Railway Terrace, Shipton Road / Manor Lane Barley Rise, Strensall (shops) Geldof Road

Details of the schemes can be found by clicking here

Newbury Avenue development – planning recommendations published

Inadequate of street parking in Windsor Garth

Anger as parking problems not addressed by York Council officials

Council officials are recommending that plans to build on the garage site on Newbury Avenue are given the go ahead.

The issue will be discussed at a planning sub committee meeting taking place on 3rd May.

On the previous day (10:15am Wednesday 2nd May), Councillors will be visiting the site. They will no doubt be able to see the parking problems which already exist in the area.

Residents may attend both meetings and can register to speak at the committee meeting. To do so residents should telephone York 551088 before 5:00pm on 2nd May.

Grassed areas have already been damaged by vehicles and plant

The officers report is negligent in at least one way. Objectors have pointed out that the loss of 28 garages – and with them an equivalent number of off street parking spaces – will have a major impact on congestion and parking problems on the estate.

The report offers no response to this concern.

There are already problems when large vehicles and buses try to access the narrow roads. The problems have got worse since the Council stopped new lettings at the garages while the overspill from the Hob Stone development has also hit the Windsor Garth area.

Now the Council is also threatening to redevelop the Windsor House site on Ascot Way. Again it has given little thought to the parking problems that will emerge both during building works, and afterwards.

It could mean that major building works will take place within the next year at both sites at the same time – a recipe for transport chaos with the only available access to the estate being the relatively narrow route  from Kingsway West.

Grass damaged by parked vehicles

Some objectors to the Newbury Avenue plan have demanded that alternative off street parking spaces be provided before demolition starts. They have pointed to several sites where the provision of matrix protection on grassed areas would provide an option while retaining the green appearance of the estate.

Currently an increasing number of vehicles are being parked on these grassed areas anyway – resulting during periods of  wet weather in unsightly damage which is expensive to repair.

NB. Efforts are being made to form a new Hob Moor Residents Association in the area. The residents group will focus on opposing the Councils plans for the estate and will seek additional investment to address existing problems.

The old Kingsway Area Residents Association (KARA) was disbanded about 5 years ago.

York Council fraud levels revealed

The Councils auditors are cracking down on Council Tax discounts with 11 cases currently under investigation following a “data matching exercise”.  These concern bogus “single person discount” claims.

A report reveals that the auditors had received 58 referrals for potential Council Tax/Non Domestic Rates fraud.

“There are currently 30 ongoing investigations into Council Tax and non domestic rates fraud.

The council has prosecuted two people for council tax fraud this year including the longest running single person discount fraud ever detected at the authority – 17 years.

In addition, 3 people have been cautioned for council tax fraud offences and 5 people have received warnings”.

The fraud team have completed 26 investigations into potential Council Tax Support fraud to date. The team has produced over £13k in savings thus far. There are currently 32 cases under investigation. To date one person has been cautioned and 10 people were issued formal warnings following investigations in this area.

Other areas of concern are

  • social care where there are 16 investigations in progress.
  • 14 cases of housing fraud – making false claims to secure accommodation – are underway.
  • The financial assistance scheme where 19 cases are being investigated
  • Parking and blue badge misuse. In 2017/18 the council prosecuted two people, cautioned 12 people and issued 30 warnings for disabled badge or parking permit misuse
  • Education – making false statements to gain entry to a school – 2 cases.

The report will be discussed at a meeting taking place on Wednesday

That was the week that was in west York in pictures

Disappointing to see so many footpaths left inaccessible over the bank holiday weekend as cable laying works drag on. One of the halo LED beacons – on the Foxwood Lane pedestrian crossing installed only 3 weeks ago – has stopped working

Several litter bins in the area are full and have been reported. Nice to see some new bins installed including a joint use one on Askham Lane

Continuing wet weather is taking a toll. Many verges have been damaged by vehicles.

Future of Windsor House site being discussed

Proposal for Centre of Excellence for Disabled Children

Windsor House

A report is being discussed next week which is expected to result in confirmation of plans to close the Windsor House elderly persons home on Ascot Way. The proposal was first discussed in September and now Council officials are reporting back on the discussions that they have had with residents, their relations and staff.

5 residents have recently moved out leaving 17 to find new homes. The Council says that there is currently a good supply of alternative accommodation options available including Glen Lodge.

The care home has 33 staff in total, the majority of who work part time.

The main criticism of the closure relates to timing. Promised modern elderly care facilities on the west of the City will not be available for 2 or 3 years.

Lincoln Court

Hedges blocked view and light from Lincoln Court flats in the summer

Considerable concerns have been expressed by residents of the adjacent Lincoln Court sheltered development.

These self-contained flats which include some communal space, are not included in the closure plans. However, the building has been allowed to deteriorate recently. Window frames are rotten, while an ongoing criticism has been about poor management of parking facilities.  Some boundary hedges weren’t cut in the summer, effectively isolated the elderly residents from the rest of the community.

York must do better in the way that it treats its tenants at Lincoln Court. They need to be given

assurances about the future of their flats as well as a date when modernisation works will commence.

The future of the Windsor Garth site

The Council has unveiled what seems to be a caring and imagination use for the Ascot Way site when the existing buildings have been demolished.

The report describes a possible state of the art facility for disabled children

 

“Should Windsor House close, the site could be redeveloped as the location for the Centre of Excellence for Disabled Children and their Families, for housing or sold.”

Just as society doesn’t always treat the elderly as well as it should, the same could be said of people with disabilities. The principle of the proposed facility would therefore be welcome.

However, there are two significant issues to be addressed before any further development is considered in this neighbourhood.

Traffic congestion and lack of off street parking are now major problems.

They have worsened since 66 additional homes were built on the Hob Stones site and were exacerbated by the Council decision not to let the garages in Newbury Avenue pending the redevelopment of that site. The two issues are linked with inadequate “on street” parking space making access difficult even for the bus service.

There have been calls to introduce a “one way” system or even reopen the second access from Kingsway West.

Whatever the solution may be, one must be found before any development takes place which could further increase vehicle movements in the area.

York economy performing well but….

St Nicholas market popular this year

The start of “Business Week” in the City coincides with the publication of a progress report by “Make it York” (MIY). This is the QUANGO charged with developing the York economy and particularly the visitor sector and markets.

Reading the report, one might think that all was rosy in the garden.

There has been a steady stream of tourists visiting the City this year. They have partly been attracted by a series of festivals while other initiatives like the food court on the market have attracted favourable publicity.

The complementary York BID scheme has produced tangible improvements to the streetscape coupled with imaginative lighting schemes.

However, part of the success in attracting foreign visitors is down to the low value of the pound.

The MIY report is singularly short of figures.

One look around the City centre, at this the busiest shopping period of the year, reveals that key shop units are still empty several years after they become vacant. The pile of empty shipping containers on Parliament Street doesn’t help while the surface of the City’s most popular car park (Castle) is in an appalling condition. Advanced car parking space availability signs – and their “on line” counterparts – haven’t worked for over 4 years.

This all adds to a depressed feel in the “high street”.

The report – to be considered by a Council scrutiny committee on 28th November – considers progress against a limited number of targets. Some issues, like the shortage of labour and key skills, aren’t mentioned.

Nor is any attempt made to assess the impact that BREXIT will have on the City economy over the next five years or more.

We hope that Councillors, faced with a bland report, will ask questions which root out any complacency.

Free parking at Piccadilly between 3:00pm & 9:00pm on Thurs/Frid

Late night park and Ride on Thursdays
  Residents and visitors to the city will get an early Christmas present this year with an extended Park & Ride service and free parking in Piccadilly multi-storey car park.

First York has extended Park & Ride services to run every Thursday evening from Thursday 16 November until Saturday 23 December. These services proved popular last year allowing people to enjoy the York Christmas Festival for longer, which starts on Thursday.

York Business Improvement District (BID) has worked with the council to offer people free parking at Piccadilly multi-storey car park from 3-9pm every Thursday and Friday. Free parking is available every Thursday and Friday from 16 November until 22 December.

Space availability signs

Usage of the Piccadilly car park has reduced since the advanced car parking space availability signs, which used to be available on arterial routes into the City, stopped working 4 years ago. 

Similarly the “York Live” on line parking information – which should be updated in “real time”  – continues to project an inaccurate picture of space availability in the City centre (click here to test)

Real time parking information in York click to access

Park & Ride services will run every 15 minutes from all Park & Ride sites every Thursday. The Designer Outlet service will run later from Monday to Saturday.

Full timetable information is available online, but most services will now operate until 9.30pm on Thursday evenings, or Monday to Saturday from the Designer Outlet.

The Park & Ride services will run every 15 minutes, with the last services leaving the city centre at the following times:

Askham Bar (white line – route 3) – Rougier Street at 9.33pm

Designer Outlet (red line – route 7) – York Railway Station at 9.46pm

Monks Cross (silver line – route 9) – Rougier Street at 9.30pm

Poppleton Bar (turquoise line – route 59) – Station Road 9.33pm

Rawcliffe Bar (green line – route 2) – Museum Street at 9.30pm

Grimston Bar (yellow line – route 8) – Piccadilly at 9.30pm

For more information about travelling in and around York visit www.itravelyork.info
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Progress on parking problems in west York

Last Thursdays decision meeting considered a large number of proposed changes to parking restrictions in the City. The results have now been published by the Council click here 

A large number of representations were made by Councillors and residents who attended the meeting. These included Westfield Councillors Sheena Jackson and Andrew Waller

Foxwood Lane junction

Changes to parking restrictions on Foxwood Lane (Bellhouse Way high numbered end) junction, Cranfield Place (outside community centre) & Morrell Court (junction) were considered by Cllr Ian Gillies. He declined to make major changes to the existing arrangements. However, he did agree to;

  • move the street name sign at the junction of Bellhouse Way and Foxwood Lane
  • provide white bar road markings to protect the access to four driveways at the entrance to Cranfield Place

The Foxwood Residents Association will discuss the issues at its meeting on Wednesday.

It is likely that they will ask that Councillors pursue;

  • In the case of the Foxwood Lane junction, the provision of an off-street lay-by at this location which will have the effect of pulling parked vehicles back from the sight line &
  • In the case of Cranfield Place, it is suggested that portable parking cones be provided for use (by event organisers) at the Foxwood Community Centre on the carriageway outside the front door. It is suggested that these might be supplemented by a “please use car park to rear” sign which could be attached to the boundary wall.

Askham Lane

The meeting also declined to introduce parking restrictions at the junction of Askham Lane and Vesper Drive.

However, the Council’s Assistant Director  is to write to the police in relation to taking action  against obstructions caused by vehicles on grass verges (and regarding devolution of powers – which would allow Council enforcement staff to take action on issues like these).