Work starts in Clifton to create 33 new homes for older people

A new phase of the council’s Older Person’s Accommodation Programme is starting, with work beginning to deliver 33 new homes in Clifton.

The four new bungalows and 29 apartments will add to Marjorie Waite Court. This is a 40-unit, council-run independent living scheme with extra care offered at the heart of the community. This extension is due to open in winter 2020 along with a new community hall.

Residents of York have an above-UK-average life expectancy, with the number of 75+ residents expected to increase by 50% by 2030 (up from 17,000 to 26,000). This extra accommodation goes towards providing a sufficient variety of options for this growing population. It is also part of the council’s wider programme which aims to deliver over 900 extra new units of accommodation with care for older people by 2020 and will see over £100m new investment to deliver it.

Marjorie Waite Court’s 29 new apartments will be wheelchair-accessible and residents will benefit from extra care services. This includes providing 24-hour care for residents and those living with dementia.

The four bungalows will be built with their own parking space. Like the apartments, they will be wheelchair-accessible and be connected to a warden call system.

The residents of these new and existing apartments will be able to use refurbished and extended communal facilities. These will include a dining facility, a laundry, lounges on all floors with balconies, a hair salon and treatment room, and extra offices to deliver a wider range of services. While to support residents’ mobility an electric buggy store and charging area will be built.

Local community groups can also, through a booking scheme, use the new community hall which will provide space for community and leisure activities.

New ‘Local Offer for care leavers’ launched in York

Young people in York who have left care and those preparing to leave care can now find out what help and support they’re eligible for at a glance thanks to the launch of a new ‘Local Offer for care leavers’.

City of York Council has launched the online document to make it easier for young people to access the help they’re entitled to, including a range of support with accommodation, education, training and employment, developing life skills, health, mental health, and relationships.

The local offer highlights the City of York’s aspirations for care leavers and
following changes nationally, care leavers can now access support until they are 25 years of age, compared to 21 previously.

The Local Offer for Care Leavers was written and designed in partnership with members of York’s care leavers’ forum;  ‘I Still Matter’.

Young care leavers from the group, said: “‘We think the Local Offer for Care Leavers is really important because it ensures that care leavers are aware of their rights and entitlements, and gives them the relevant information to be able to create their own futures, whilst knowing where to go for support and advice”.

For more information about the support available visit www.york.gov.uk/LeavingCare or email pathwayteam@york.gov.uk or call 01904 555389

Lincoln Court update

The Councils Executive discussed the planned extension of the Lincoln Court independent living building yesterday. They agreed to progress the scheme and included a requirement for an alternative all weather games area to be provided in the ward.

It will be up to the planning committee at its meeting tomorrow (Wednesday) to include a condition requiring that the new facility is provided before the existing MUGA is demolished.

Windsor House is already being vandalised

It emerged at the meeting that 14 of the remaining 19 tenants have now accepted offers of alternative accommodation. When the remaining 5 will be offered, and accept, a suitable alternative remains in doubt. The adjacent Windsor House building, which is empty, is already suffering vandalism and there is a concern that the whole site could become a magnet for anti social behaviour.

Large delivery lorries are ruining roads in Lowfields. Similar concerns about Ascot Way

The Council is negotiating with the school to allow builders plant to access the site from the school side. There have been major problems getting large items of plant into the Lowfields site where roads are of a similar width to Ascot Way.

It has yet to be confirmed whether an (pedestrian) access will be retained from the school site when the redevelopment has been completed. This is considered to be essential to provide overflow parking capacity given that only 16 spaces are being provided on the Ascot Way frontage.

Large plant on Lowfields site. Working hours planning condition being breached?

Sadly members of the executive failed to probe why the new apartments have been described, in successive Planning Committee reports, as “extra care” units.

No doubt residents will get more clarification tomorrow

Council heading for confrontation over games area demolition plan

Muddle over future of Lincoln Court

According to papers released today, York Council planners are prepared to enlist the support of the Secretary of State in their bid to demolish the all-weather games area (MUGA) near Lincoln Court. Council officials claim that the children’s play facility must go as part of their plans to build an additional 15 “extra care” flats on the adjacent site.

Sport England, the resident’s association, local Councillors and residents have all objected to the plan. They feel an alternative games area should be provided before the existing facility is lost.  They have pointed to the Thanet Road Sports area as a possible alternative location.

Council officials have had over a year to sort out an alternative but are understood to have only recently contacted the Acorn Rugby Club who lease most of the alternative site.

Sport England effectively has a veto on the removal of facilities. If the Council wanted to demolish the existing MUGA without their agreement the they would need the approval of the Secretary of State to do so. It seems that they are prepared to risk such a confrontation.

Hopes that an Executive meeting to be held on 18th March would broker an agreement on the dispute over play provision are now fading

The move is the latest in a series of decisions which have gradually seen sports facilities and open spaces eroded in the Westfield area. Last year planning permission was given to build on the Lowfields playing field. A local bowling green faced the same fate while the Hob Moor school playing field is being reduced in size. 5 years ago the Council agreed to build on the Our Lady’s playing fields.

Figures produced by the Council, in support of its Local Plan proposals, reveal that there is a deficiency in all forms of open space and sports provision in the Westfield ward. The ward now also has the highest levels of child obesity in the City

The planning meeting is taking place on Wednesday 20th March at 5:00pm. The background papers for the meeting can be viewed by clicking here Residents may make representations by registering to speak at the meeting or by Email to Christopher.elliott@york.gov.uk

The issues are before the committee again because an earlier planng permission incorrectly identified the new “apartments” as being for residents requiring “extra care”.  The latest application adds to the confusion as the report also refers to the new units as being for “extra care”. In reality 15 extra care units would not be economically viable because of staffing requirements.

The scheme has also been criticised for reducing the amount of garden space available for residents and for providing inadequate off street parking space for visitors.

York’s accessibility information in the palm of your hand.

National disability organisation, AccessAble is launching a free app to give visitors and residents of York high-quality accessibility information they can access whilst out and about.

Long-term partner of City of York Council and provider of detailed access guides, AccessAble have created a new mobile app which aims to transform the quality and availability of accessibility information.

The app provides detailed access guides to 10,000s of places across the UK and Ireland. Crucially each guide is created by locations having been visited by an AccessAble surveyor and local people with accessibility requirements, who can collect over 1,000 pieces of information for just one venue.

The app itself can display facts, figures and photographs as well as step-by-step descriptions of what accessibility is like at a particular location. Users can create their own account and save favourite places and filter their preferences depending on their accessibility needs.

Find out more at www.AccessAble.co.uk
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York’s ‘short breaks’ service for children with physical disabilities, learning disabilities and autism rated ‘good

City of York Council’s Short Break’s service has been rated ‘good’ by independent inspectors.

The service, which provides flexible personal care and support to families with children with physical disabilities, learning disabilities and autism at weekends, evenings and in the school holidays, was inspected by the Care Quality Commissions in January 2019.

The inspection rated the service in five key areas, assessing whether  it was safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led. All five aspects of the service were rated as ‘good’.

The inspection highlighted that Community Short Break Workers have a good understanding of children’s needs and are kind and caring. It also reported that they understand the importance of respecting children’s dignity and upholding their right to privacy.

Inspectors recognised that children are supported to live fulfilled meaningful lives and that information was available to ensure that they could access the community, events, and activities with minimal restrictions in a planned way for their maximum benefit and enjoyment.

The report also highlighted the positive work Community Short Break Workers do to help children learn new skills and take on new challenges, for example, to eat in cafes and restaurants.

Other professionals also reported the service to be effective and recognised that it was valued by parents for the support it gave to their families.
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£4.7 million contract awarded for Lincoln Court and Windsor House redevelopment

Lincoln Court

Notwithstanding the fact that the York Council still has an planning application outstanding for the redevelopment of Lincoln Court, it has gone ahead and awarded a construction contract covering the building, and a plan to establish a centre for disabled children on the Windsor House site.

The £4.7 million construction contract has been awarded to Sewell’s, the company who were involved in the PFI deal on the adjacent Hob Moor school development 15 years ago.

The number of tenders received for the work has not been revealed by the Council.

The completion date for the contract is 31st January 2021.

Haxby Hall elderly persons home plan hits buffers

Haxby Hall

The Haxby Hall home currently has a total capacity of 49 care beds. Within those 49 beds there is provision for approximately 35 residential care beds, eight beds for people living with dementia and up to six step down/short stay beds which are used interchangeably.

Services at the home are delivered by 51 staff (31.58 full time equivalents). When last inspected by the Care Quality Commission it was given a “good” rating 

It’s a year since the Council decided to pull out of Haxby Hall. The expectation was that a third party would take over the running of an enlarged, modernised home.

A feasibility study conducted in 2016 showed that a care home of up to 70 beds could be delivered on the site. One key issue for development was access to the site, which is constricted by the adjacent ambulance station. The plan for Haxby Hall was agreed by the Council on 7th December 2016.

A well attended supplier engagement event was held on 6 September 2017 to promote the opportunity and receive feedback on the proposal. Residents and their families were also consulted.

12 months later the proposal has been withdrawn from the Councils forward decision making programme. Difficulties in negotiating the new access are blamed for the project being shelved.

In January 2018 the then Director Martin Farren outlined the position

“The future of Haxby Hall is a key part of our Older Persons’ Accommodation Programme which looks to address the needs of York’s fast-growing older population by expanding and modernising care provision across the city.

“This report looks at options to safeguard the future of Haxby Hall older persons’ home and procure a provider who will deliver and operate improved, modern care facilities”.

The bids for the takeover were due to be received in September 2018. It was likely that residents would be decanted to other homes while work took place, with the new home scheduled to open in 2020.

No update has been given to any public meeting since then.

The latest delays follow problems at Oakhaven Elderly Persons home which has been empty for two years.

A facility scheduled to be provided at Burnholme is also understood to be delayed.

No detailed planning application has been submitted by the Council for the development of elderly persons facilities at the Lowfields site (although a, much more controversial, commercial housing development did get planning permission there a few months ago)

The Council is also pressing ahead with closing Windsor House which has specialised in providing support for those with dementia

All in all, we think that there is a need for some public reassurances about the timescales which now apply to the Councils Elderly Persons Strategy!

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.

 

Work starts on edging park footpaths – more on Lincoln Court

Dickson park footpaths being edged. Residents are seeking similar work in other areas

The Kingsway all weather games area is now in good condition and available for use. Unfortunately the Council has decided to scrap it and have ignored a request from Sport England that a replacement be provided elsewhere. The decision is now subject to a formal complaint

The scaffolding has been removed from Lincoln Court. We understand that work on installing a new boiler, pipework and a full rewire of the building – together with the construction of 10 additional flats – will not commenced until the late spring at the earliest. In the meantime most of the building is likely to remain empty.

Windsor House may also be empty for a period of time. Demolition work can’t start until a replacement central heating system has been provided for Lincoln Court