More on Lowfield plans – public “drop in” tomorrow

The Council says that it will hold a public “drop in” at Acomb Explore Library between 4:30pm and 7:00pm tomorrow (Thursday 7th February) to react to criticisms of its plans to start work on the Lowfields school development later in the month.

The scheduled work involves felling trees and removing hard surfaces.

Some residents commenting on the “Save Lowfield Playing Field” Facebook page say that they have not received notification of the event. Others say that a limited hours, mid-week, event prevents shift workers from attending

The letters that the Council say that they have delivered are reproduced below.

The plan to schedule tree felling works during February is surprising as the planning condition covering this work has not yet been approved.

Residents have until the middle of the month to record their objections with the expectation that local Councillors will “call in” the proposal for consideration by a planning committee. Details of the planning conditions application can be found via this link.  

Objections should be sent by Email to planning.comments@york.gov.uk quoting ref AOD/19/00001

Residents have commented that there are a lot of questions to be answered about the site preparation work, which is scheduled to be completed by May.

These include

  • working hours,
  • noise,
  • access routes for heavy lorries and
  • contractor parking arrangements.

The Action Group says that it expects the findings of an Ombudsman’s enquiry into allegations, that the Council misled residents and Sport England over their plans, is due to be published this week.

The Action Group may also be giving evidence to the Local Plan public inquiry which is due to start shortly

Trees to be felled shown in red

Housing by type and tenure

Lincoln Court – Council admits planning blunder

The sorry saga surrounding the Councils plans to modernise and extend the Lincoln Court independent living building on Ascot Way has taken a new twist.

A brand new planning application has been submitted. If approved, it will replace the ill fated and poorly judged proposal passed by the Planning Committee as recently as December. The new proposal is for a “three storey extension to accommodate 15 new flats with associated alterations to the internal layout of existing flats (creating 10 new flats in total), a single storey front extension to form a new main entrance, erection of a plant room to side, reconfiguration of parking provision and associated landscaping works including new boundary fencing”.

Planning report Dec 2018

That decision was criticised because it ignored a request by Sport England that a replacement all weather games facility be provided in the neighbourhood when the existing facility was developed. The extensions to Lincoln Court are partly to be built on the games area. Sport England made a specific request for a replacement with possible sites being identified by local residents on the new area of playing field being provided at the school or alternatively on the Thanet Road sports area.

Another mistake made by the committee was to require that the additional 10 flats being provided at Lincoln Court be extra care” units. They would have required 24/7 staffing support. Officials later privately confirmed that this was a mistake and that it had been intended to provide an additional 10 flats identical in function to those existing on the site.

The “extra care” argument had been used to justify providing only 16 parking spaces to service the planned 36 flats and the staff and visitors to the much larger new building (see extract from December report). There are currently 12 parking spaces allocated to Lincoln Court. Many of them are heavily used with visiting staff sometimes being force to park on adjacent roads.

The way that the Planning Committee handled the December application was subject to a formal complaint in December. A response from the Council is still awaited.

Unfortunately, the new planning application does not address the parking issue despite claims by officials that the ”extra care” units did not require a parking space and hence could justify providing only 16 spaces. There is an underused grassed area to the south of the site which could have matrix protection installed and which could then be used as overspill car parking.

More seriously, the Council continues to turn a blind eye to the concerns about lack of provision for younger people in the neighbourhood. We would expect the Sport England condition to be incorporated into any revised permission.

NB. No action is planned on escalating traffic congestion issues in the area. Problems on the narrow roads in the estate are being exacerbated by recent planning permissions for additional housing in the estate which only has one access route. The December plan attracted more criticism when it was revealed that the elderly residents would have to move out of their homes for over 12 months while the work took place

Empty Council garages still a problem in west York?

The Foxwood Residents Association recently used the Freedom of Information legislation to find out how many empty Council owned garages were available in the neighbourhood.

It turns out that the number was relatively small.

The Council says that it has a waiting list at most blocks.

However, the Council doesn’t routinely keep an up to date list of vacancies posted on its social media channels.

We think that is a mistake.

An empty garage brings in no revenue for the Authority while the chances of a void garage being vandalised are high.

We think that it may be time to outsource the management of this asset.

A contractor could be targeted to ensure that all garages are kept in use and that they are maintained to a high standard.

It might also help to reduce parking congestion on some roads in the City!

Windsor Garth parking lay-by location options revealed

Local Councillor Andrew Waller is consulting local residents about the new proposals to install additional parking lay-bys on Windsor Garth.

Cllr Andrew Waller

The options are the latest in a series of plans which are aimed at reducing congestion on the narrow roads in the Kingsway/Hob Moor estate.

Several other options have been discounted either for practical reasons or because they did not represent value for money.

Residents had their  say in response to a survey conducted a year ago. Subsequently a plan to provide a lay-by outside the flats on Newbury Avenue ran into delays caused by difficulties in relocating telecoms cabinets. That plan is now expected to be implemented in the spring.

The need for better parking has become even more urgent with the Council having decided to redevelop the Windsor House/Lincoln Court area on Ascot Way. The published plans for the new buildings do not include sufficient “on site” parking space according to many residents.

The Westfield Ward delegated budget includes funding to provide up to 11 additional spaces during the current financial year. Potential locations near Kempton Close and Beverley Court have now been identified. (see plan below)

Residents have a choice of implementing option 2 or 3 this year.

Option 6 will be done as well unless there are strong objections from local residents. .

It is likely that the spaces will use matrix surfacing. This allows grass to grow though the matrix providing a “natural” appearance while also allowing “soak away” drainage.

Any work must be completed before the end of March.

Parking lay-by options in Windsor Garth area January 2019

 

 

Lincoln Court redevelopment – more confusion

Lincoln Court

The York Council has now formally issued its planning decision on the application to remodel and extend Lincoln Court on Ascot Way.

The plans for the  “independent living” block of flats attracted controversy before Christmas when it was revealed that residents will have to move out to allow work to be completed.

This decision was in conflict with assurances given during consultation meetings held earlier in the year.

Now the conditions issued for the planning decision reveal that the 10 new units planned for the site will be “extra care” beds. Condition 12 of the permission states that this will ensure that the flats are not subject to “right to buy” legislation.

Extra care facilities involve 24/7 support and are currently provided by the Council at buildings like Marjorie Waite Court. Because of the staffing demands, the facilities require a “critical mass” of users to make them economic. 10 bedrooms falls far short of the numbers required to sustain such levels of support.

The users of extra care facilities rarely have their own transport and thus have reduced needs for parking provision (although their carers are likely to need some provision).

On the other hand, the car park at Lincoln Court is already congested and the addition of 10 additional flat units will stretch it to breaking point. The current plans do not allow for a rear access to the potential overflow parking – and delivery access – available at the adjacent school car parks.

Officials speaking at the planning committee meeting in December said that the new flats would offer the same facilities as those already in use in the building.

We think that too many mistakes have been made with this project.  

There is now confusion over when residents will be able to return to their homes, over the function of the 10 new units which will be provided and over the future of the all-weather games area which Sport England says should be replaced elsewhere if it is bulldozed.

The planning application should be referred back to the planning committee for these issues,  and problems with traffic congestion, to be clarified and resolved.

 

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.

Newbury Avenue

Demolition contractors (who suspended their activities yesterday following complaints that the work was unauthorised) will be able to demolish the Newbury Avenue garage blocks when the current public consultation period ends.

Officials claimed that this will be before Christmas

The planning committee was asked enforce the condition that four additional parking spaces be provided before the garages are demolished. This had been the wish of the planning committee when it met in May.

It was pointed out that some of the heaviest plant and lorries would be accessing the site during any demolition works, making additional off street parking options, on the narrow roads, even more essential.

The Council had been criticised for refusing to let several of the empty garages over the last 6-year period despite there being a waiting list of potential renters.

They moved quickly in the summer to end the remaining tenancies and secure the garage area.

A telecoms junction box must be moved before the car parking spaces can be provided. The junction box had been provided after the plans for new bungalows were published but before the committee took its decision in May. Councillors and officials were aware then of the existence on location of the equipment

Yesterday officials were unable to explain why they had not acted more quickly to get the telecoms equipment moved

NB. Work on providing additional parking lay-bys on Windsor Garth – which was authorised over a year ago – is also still outstanding. The Council has failed to provide a completion date despite many deadlines having come and gone. The lay-bys are being funded under the Westfield ward delegated budget.

Outrage as York Council ignores its own planning condition

Newbury Avenue garage demolition starts before committee has opportunity to consider an application to change a planning restriction.

Two days before the Councils planning committee was due to consider whether a planning condition on the Newbury Avenue garage site should be changed, to allow for early demolition of the blocks, contractors have gone ahead and started the work anyway.

As previously reported, the Planning committee imposed a condition when granting planning permission for the erection of 5 bungalows on the site in May. The condition required alternative parking spaces to be constructed before demolition works commenced.

The provision of the parking spaces required a telecoms cabinet to be moved, but it appears that officials failed to issue the order for this work to be done. It takes about 8 weeks to complete.

It appears that they have compounded the error be letting, and now implementing, the demolition contract.

Plant is on site today and garage doors have already been removed.

Local Councillor Andrew Waller is taking up the issue and the unlawful action is likely to be raised when the planning application is debated at Thursday’s meeting.

Even then officials will not be able to authorise the work until the statutory period for resident objections expires on 20th December.

The demolition will come as a major embarrassment to those involved in the planning system in York. They have already been criticised for allowing changes to developments like Spark in Piccadilly without the proper planning permissions.

However, a flagrant breech of a planning condition by one of the Council’s own departments sets a new low.

The Council has been heavily criticised for ignoring planning concerns at Lowfields on a similar site where it is the land owner, developer and planning authority.

At Newbury Avenue the York Council seems to have decided to ignore the planning laws altogether

Latest planning applications for the Westfield Ward – Newbury Avenue changes being “fast tracked”

 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


Newbury Avenue garage block which could be demolished before alternative car parking spaces are provided.

Garage Court Site At Newbury Avenue York

Variation of condition 16 of permitted application 18/00410/GRG3 to alter date of providing 4 public parking spaces to prior to commencement of the superstructure of the bungalows. (NB. This involves demolishing the garages before alternative off street parking spaces are provided) 

Ref. No: 18/02441/GRG3 

Although this application has only just been submitted it is being “fast tracked” and will be determined at a planning sub committee meeting taking place on Thursday 6th December. The officer recommendation is that authority be delegated to approve the application. To ensure that their representations are considered by Councillors, residents should email any comments to planning.comments@york.gov.uk asap (Quote ref: 18/02441/GRG3 ).

The planning committee meeting will  start at 4.30 pm at West Offices, Station Rise, York.

Residents may attend the meeting and make representations on the officer recommendations (which are to approve the application). Residents may suggest additional conditions which should be attached to any approval. Alternatively, concerns can be emailed to the meeting clerk marked for the attention of the Councillors who will be  making the decisions.

Email:  christopher.elliott@york.gov.uk

You have the right to speak at the meeting on 6th December. If you wish to speak, you must register this by telephoning (01904) 551088, and asking for or a Democracy Officer before 5:00pm on Wednesday 5th December.

Please let him/her know if you would like a copy of the Committee report.

Further details are available of the Councils web site https://tinyurl.com/YPCDec2018

—-

71 Green Lane Acomb York YO24 3DJ

Display of 1no. externally illuminated business signboard

Ref. No: 18/02637/ADV 

———

3 Otterwood Bank York YO24 3JS

Single storey side and rear extension

Ref. No: 18/02339/FUL 

——

71 Bellhouse Way York YO24 3LL

Conservatory to rear

Ref. No: 18/02337/FUL 

——

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 Council “fouls up” on Newbury Avenue development plans

Parking lay-by location

The York Council is planning to delay the provision of alternative off street parking spaces in Newbury Avenue. The spaces – to be located outside the block of flats containing numbers 10 to 16 – were to have been provided to offset the loss of off-street parking space when the adjacent  garages are replaced with 5 bungalows.

The bungalow planning application was approved – with the parking condition – on 3rd May 2018. Officials are now saying that a Virgin media box, located outside the flats, will have to be moved and that this work could take between 6 and 8 weeks.

However, the junction box was already in place when the Planning committee met. It appears that officials had authorised the cabinet location knowing that there was a proposal to provide a lay-by.

Garages to be demolished

Now they want to demolish the garages before any alternative parking is provided.

The Planning committee’s decision, taken in May, was controversial because the 4 parking spaces proposed were not adequate to meet existing parking demands. Objectors asked the committee to make a Section 106 order requiring the developers to fund alternative, off street, spaces in the Windsor Gath/Kingsway West area.

Unfortunately, the committee failed to do so.

Any proposal to delay proving the planned four spaces would add insult to injury.

Insufficient off street parking space available

The new Virgin telecoms cabinet was provided after the plans for the area were published but before the planning committee made its decision on 3rd May 2018. It seems that the part of the Council which approves the location of footway plant acted without consulting the section of the Council which deals with developments.

Planning Councillor were well aware of he location of the telecoms cabinet before they made their decisions.

Other plans to provide alternative off street parking lay-bys in the area are mired in delay and have been for several years now.

Residents can object to the Councils latest plan.

Objectors should visit the “planning on line” web site click and insert reference 18/00410/GRG3 in the search facility,. Objections must be lodged before 11th December.