York Council to sell Bootham Row car parking spaces

New threat to sell off Council housing land

Land at Bootham Row to be sold

The York Council’s Executive is being recommended to sell off 5 car parking spaces at Bootham Row car park. The land (see map) also accommodates motorcycle parking.

The Council is hoping to raise £155,000 from a local developer who hopes to remodel 27 Bootham.

The car parking spaces generate over £7000 a year for taxpayers

Coming at a time when pressure on City centre car parks is being blamed for the accelerating decline in the City centre retail economy, the plan is bound to raise eyebrows. It is reminiscent of the plan, hatched in 2011 by the then Labour led Council administration, which proposed to sell off the nearby Union Terrace car park. That idea collapsed after being heavily criticised by both residents and traders.

Housing land sale

More alarming is the publication of a lofty document which seeks to justify a new “Asset Management Strategy”. It is due to be discussed by the Council’s Executive on 28th September.

The report claims that the last strategy, launched in 2011, has been a success.

Amongst the credulous statements that Councillors are being asked to believe, are claims that that the York Central and Castle Gateway sites “have been made more economically active” (In fact very little progress has been made on either project over the last 6 years).

The report goes on to claim that older people’s accommodation has been improved. Again, the reality is that the project is running 4 years behind schedule.

Sanderson House community centre

Most bizarre is a claim that leasing community centres to local organisations  “have allowed voluntary groups to flourish, increase activity, improve outcomes and attract external funding”. The reality, at least at the two community centres in the Westfield area, is that volunteers have been given a crushing burden to handle with minimal Council support.  Most ad hoc leisure events at the centres have stopped with most bookings now being from third parties (which the management committees have to accept simply to pay for running costs)

The Council has similarly jettisoned its commitment to many local sports facilities.

The report talks vaguely of joint use arrangement with other public-sector providers such as GPs.

It seems likely that the Council intends to target staff who work in neighbourhood buildings potentially repeating the disastrous policy – from a customer service perspective – of closing facilities like the Acomb Housing office and the Beckfield Lane recycling centre.

Derelict site behind Acomb Explore Library

The report says that 5 (unidentified) Housing department owned sites will either be sold or freed up for redevelopment.

The report pointedly fails to identify the location of these sites.

There are of course pieces of Council owned land which are crying out for development.

These include the land to the rear of the Acomb Library, which was schedule as an extension providing “one stop shop” facilities – with residential accommodation above – over 8 years ago.

We are still waiting to see some progress.

York Local Plan- another consultation!

Just when you thought that the Council had finally decided on a Local Plan that would take York into the 2030’s, the authority has launched another public consultation.

The last consultation  took place in the spring.

The Council says that”homes  in the city will receive a special edition of the Our City publication over the next two weeks, which explains the plan and how to have your say.

The full version of the Local Plan pre-publication draft – and comment forms which can be sent freepost –  is available to view online at www.york.gov.uk/localplan,  in all the city’s libraries and the council’s reception at west offices.

Residents are also invited to one of eight special consultation events, while additional information will also be available at all ward committees which meet during the consultation period.

You can also get involved via twitter @CityofYork or facebook.com/cityofyork, using the hashtag #YorkLocalPlan

There wil be a public consultation event on Monday 16 October at Acomb Explore Library, Acomb (3-7.30pm)

Additional information will also be provided at the ward committee meeting (Dringhouses & Woodthorpe joint with Westfield) – Tuesday 26 September  York & District Indoor Bowls Club, 302 Thanet Road, Dringhouses, York, YO24 2NW 6.30-8pm)

The published plans still involve development of the Lowfields playing field, so it is important that residents record their objections to any proposals that they disagree with

There is expected to be an “examination in public” by an independent inspector early next year.

Land use leaflet

Latest planning applications for the Westfield Ward

Below is the latest planning applications received by the York Council for the Westfield ward.

Full details can be found by clicking the words highlighted in blue

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                9A Hawkshead Close York YO24 2YF

Proposal              Single storey rear extension and 3 no. rooflights to rear elevation of main roof slope

Reference           17/01660/FUL

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82 Bramham Avenue York YO26 5DE

Conversion of garage into living accommodation and extension to front and rear

Ref. No: 17/02083/FUL 

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 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/

  1. The Council now no longer routinely consults neighbours by letter when an application is received

Latest planning application for the Westfield Ward

Below is the latest planning application received by the York Council for the Westfield ward.

Full details can be found by clicking the reference highlighted in blue

Danesfort Avenue

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                36 Danesfort Avenue York YO24 3AW

Erection of attached dwelling (revised scheme)

Reference           17/02078/FUL

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 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

Lowfields trench digging mystery explained

A JCB has been digging up part of the Lowfields playing field this week.

Anxious residents – who are keen to see the playing fields retained – have been told that this is work being undertaken by the York Archaeological Trust.

An official has contacted local Councillor Andrew Waller to say,

“As you are aware as part of the planning application we are required to undertake a number of site surveys in support of the planning application that we wish to make to develop the site. The trench work that is currently being undertaken are follow up works to an earlier geophysical survey that was undertaken in June 2017 in support of the planning application.

York Archaeological Trust (YAT) have been commissioned to undertake an archaeological evaluation of the site, which as you are aware is common practice in York. The Trust will be on the site until Monday 4th September 2017.

On completion of the investigative works, YAT will back fill the trenches with the stockpiled top & sub soil removed during the excavation & compact the earth”.

Latest planning applications for the Westfield Ward

Below is the latest planning application received by the York Council for the Westfield ward.

Full details can be found by clicking the words highlighted in blue

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24 Kir Crescent York YO24 3DF

Proposal              Erection of 1no. dwelling attached to side of 24 Kir Crescent with associated garaging and alterations to existing access

Reference           17/01440/FUL

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6 Bellhouse Way York YO24 3LL

Proposal              Erection of detached garage on land to the rear within an area of existing garages

Reference           17/01378/FUL

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 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/

NB. The Council now no longer routinely consults neighbours by letter when an application is received

Objectors to Carlton Tavern plan face deadline for comments

Carlton Tavern

Residents have only a few days left in which to register objections to the proposed demolition of the Carlton Tavern on Acomb Road.

In its place a three-four storey 79 bedroom care home would be built. Associated parking, cycle racks and landscaping would take up the whole of the site which currently includes extensive green space.

Details can be found by clicking this reference 17/00476/FULM

The planning decision committee meeting will take place on 14th September and  32 objections  have already been recorded including two from national amenity societies (the Council for British Archaeology and the Victorian Society) as well as SAVE Britain’s Heritage and the York Civic Trust.

These statutory bodies and heritage experts highlight that the plans have not adequately considered conversion options. The Victorian building is of significant architectural merit and heritage significance within its local setting.  Demolition would therefore harm the character of the area.

The CBA recommends that the developer be asked to consult a conservation architect to produce an alternative proposal incorporating the existing building (which is listed as an asset of community value and has a long history of care provision in Acomb village) and with a design more in keeping with the character of the setting.

Local campaigners are urging residents to record an objection to the demolition plan and to register to comment at the upcoming planning meeting

Car home plan

Secret land deal at “Lowfields Green”

The Council has revealed that it has done a deal to sell 0.74 acres of land to Yorspace at the Lowfield school site.

The land is located next to Tudor Road and is expected to accommodate a high-density development of 19 houses and flats. The communal living style model involves people purchasing shares in a “Mutual Home Ownership Society”.

A report, made public only after a decision had been taken says, “It is a high-density development, to reflect its sustainable objectives, and will also include a community building which can be used for events, as well as some shared outdoor communal areas and growing spaces. As part of the groups green objectives, they are aiming for around 1-1.5 parking spaces per house. The site will be constructed using a variety of environmentally friendly materials and processes, possibly including straw bale and solar”.

The report also says, “As part of the agreement they may also take on the management of the growing spaces and some green areas of the Lowfield site and will run them for the wider community’s benefit”.

The council is refusing to say how much the land will be sold for nor will it say what the market value of the land is.

It is clear that a substantial discount has been negotiated.

It appears that the Council is not stipulating that the plots should be reserved for use by  local people with a proven need for cheap accommodation (e.g. on the housing waiting list &/or key workers).

Yorspace plans

The Council has already changed its plans for the relocation of the football team which currently uses the Lowfields playing field.

In December, they were supposed to be relocated to Tadcaster Road. Last month the Council said they were considering fencing off Chesneys Field to accommodate them.

That announcement produced a barrage of opposition from the current users of Chesneys Field.

Residents opposed fencing the public open space by a ratio of 3:1 in a recent door to door survey.

The decision to sell off the land to Yorspace  was taken last week by the Councils Director of Health, Housing and Adult Social Care (Jon Stonehouse), at a private, behind closed doors, meeting.

There was no consultation with affected residents before the meeting was held.

Old Manor school buildings set to be demolished

York’s planning committee is being recommended to approve an application to demolish the old Manor School buildings on Low Poppleton Lane.

The planning application, which will be discussed at a meeting taking place on 17th August, also contains details of major changes to road junction arrangements in the area.

The changes are necessary to allow new access roads, to the former British Sugar site, to be constructed.

In turn, this will facilitate the erection of new housing in the area.

There have been relatively few objections to the plan although the Council is being recommended to provide mitigation measures to protect the well-being of the bats that live in the school building.

Castle car park to close to accommodate Richard III

Most of the Castle car park is set to close next summer when an ambitious project will see a replica of the Elizabethan Rose Theatre reconstructed  there.

According to media reports four Shakespearean plays will be performed there (Macbeth, A Midsummer’s Nights Dream,Romeo and Juliet and Richard III.

The season at the 1000 seat outdoor theatre would run for 3 months from next June. The car park is likely to be out of use for much longer than that.

The imaginative project is the brainchild of local production company Lunchbox promotions who have previously been responsible for “Thor’s Tipi bar” and “The Ice Factor” at Christmas. The latter had to be moved from the Eye of York to the Designer Outlet following complaints from the nearby law courts.about noise.

Sectional drawing of original Rose Theatre

The plans for the Theatre have not yet been published on the Council’s planning web site although the producers have been quoted as saying they hope to get permission “in September” (!).

It seems likely that talks on use of the car park have been on going with City leaders for some time. A decision to forgo income, from a car park which generates over £1 million a year, is a significant one for the Council.

The project is a welcome step up from the shipping container drinking village standard hitherto favoured by the Council for the Piccadilly area.  No doubt hyperbole will flourish as adjectives like “imaginative”, “bold” “longsighted” vie with “reckless” & “ill-considered” for public attention.

The announcement comes at a time when the future of the whole Castle/Piccadilly area is being subject to a major public consultation. Perhaps the plan is a preemptive strike by those with a fixed view about the future use of the Castle precinct?

There are certainty some questions to be answered about the effect that losing much of York’s popular, and most accessible car park, will have on a City centre retail economy which has been under siege for the last 5 years.

It probably means that the drift to York becoming a “playground” destination will accelerate albeit in this case with perhaps a slightly more refined clientele than comprise the average stag party group.

Ironically the original Rose theatre also had to compete with more down to earth Elizabethan pastimes including “bear-baitingbull-baiting, and brothels” (see below)

Richard III finally makes it to a York car park?

Footnote – The original Rose Theatre in London

.  The Rose was built by dyer and businessman Philip Henslowe in 1587. Henslowe, an important man of the day, had many impressive titles, including Groom of the Chamber to Queen Elizabeth from the early 1590s, Gentleman Sewer to James I from 1603, and churchwarden and elected vestryman for St. Saviour’s Parish from 1608.

Henslowe built the Rose above an old rose garden on the Bankside near the south shore of the Thames, in Surrey. The Rose property consisted of a plot lying on the corner of Maiden Lane and Rose Alley — an alley about 400 feet long, “leadinge [south] from the Ryver of thames into the saide parcell of grownde,” according to Henslowe’s own papers. By the time Henslowe acquired the land lease and began drawing up plans for the Rose, professional playhouses like the Theatre, and the Curtain had been open for over a decade.

Realising the ease with which audiences could ferry across the Thames to London’s South Bank, Henslowe desired to establish a playhouse in that particular location, already familiar to Henslowe’s contemporaries as an area saturated with sundry and sometimes infamous pastymes such as bearbaitings, bull-baitings, and brothels.

The Rose was round and elegant, solidly composed of brick and timber, and easily accessible, making it more sophisticated than the Theatre. After 1592, the Rose seems to have become very popular, and many acting companies performed on its stage, including Lord Strange’s Men (probably including Shakespeare as an actor) from 1592 to 1593, Sussex’s Men from 1593 to 1594, the Queen’s Men in 1594, the Admiral’s Men (Shakespeare’s chief rivals, who performed in the Rose for seven years starting in the spring of 1594), and Worcester’s Men as late as 1603.

Plans for London’s Rose Theatre

During the plague of 1593, the Rose closed down for a time, and nearly 11,000 Londoners succumbed. It appears that actors from Lord Strange’s Men were among those that perished because, when the Rose did reopen, Sussex’s Men opened in their place.

What happened to Shakespeare at this time is an enigma; however, he might have been making plans to move across the river and join Heminges at the Theatre.

The Rose had many successful years, standing the lone, majestic playhouse on the Bankside. But others wished to share in Henslowe’s success and new theatres were built beside the Rose, contributing to its ultimate demise.

The land lease Henslowe had secured some thirty-one years before, expired in 1605. Records show that Henslowe, although suffering financially due to the competing playhouses (primarily the Globe), was ready to renew his lease under the original terms, but the parish from which he was renting insisted on renegotiating the contract, tripling his rent, and demanding 100 marks toward the upkeep of the parish. Henslowe was livid and replied to the parish, exclaiming that he ‘wold [r]ather pulledowne the playehowse then . . . do so.”

Henslowe gave up the Rose in 1605, and it is assumed that it was torn down the following year. Henslowe went on to build the Hope Theatre in 1613, and he died in 1616.

Mabillard, Amanda. Shakespeare’s Theatres: The RoseShakespeare Online. 20 Aug. 2000. 5th August 2017  http://www.shakespeare-online.com/theatres/therose.html .