Haxby Hall care home plans

Haxby Hall

The Council will receive an update report next week on its Older Persons’ Accommodation Programme. It has confirmed its plans to privatise the running of Haxby Hall elderly persons home.

The council is being asked to approve land transactions and lease agreements to enable Yorkare Homes Limited to redevelop and upgrade Haxby Hall. When complete, this will help meet the need for good quality care in high quality care homes across the city.

Yorkare’s plans to extend and improve the accommodation at Haxby Hall will ensure uninterrupted care for the residents. Under the plans, residents will be able to stay in the home whilst work progresses on the site.  The plans will also ensure continued employment for the Hall’s staff by transferring their employment from the council to the operator.

Yorkare are an ‘outstanding’ CQC-rated operator and they aim to extend this popular care home and create over 60 new bedrooms, equipped with en-suite facilities for improved privacy.

To deliver this higher quality of care and ensure minimal disruption to residents, two neighbouring properties have been acquired to provide access to the rear of the site. The council’s Executive is being asked to agree to a long lease for the site, for which Yorkare will pay the council £450,000.

A period of consultation will take place with local residents, community groups and organisations before planning permission is sought.

Separately the Council has said that  “The executive will be asked to agree to procure an extra care developer and operator to develop a mixed tenure extra care development on the Lowfields site previously identified for a care home”. The meeting will take place on 19th March 2020.

Bootham Park Hospital could become the site of an independent living development for older people.

Council leaders are set to consider the next steps to secure public access, better cycle and pedestrian paths and other local priorities for the former Bootham Park hospital site.

Enterprise Retirement Living has been named as the preferred buyer by NHS property services.

The plans would create 125 independent living retirement homes and would secure public access to parts of the 1777 John Carr designed grade 1 hospital building, including the boardroom, gym and bowling alley.

The site is ideally located for older persons accommodation being within walking distance of all amenities including the hospital and railway station.

Land ownership at Bootham Park

A report published ahead of next Tuesday’s York Council Executive meeting outlines the options available to the council, based on local priorities and potential benefits identified during the extensive public and stakeholder engagement process.

The council says that it has been working closely with health partners to influence future development on the site.  “These efforts are set to be rewarded, with the site’s current and future owners due to talk with the council about public access, cycle paths, retaining more of the sale receipt locally and other priorities of York residents.   Air ambulance landing site and NHS use of the Chapel are set to continue, ERL and NHS Property Services (NHS PS) are set to ‘positively engage’ with the council over other key requests identified during recent consultations to influence the future of the site including public use of the Parkland”.

Councillor Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council, said:

“This is very encouraging news, and welcome reward for our approach to shaping the future development at Bootham Park.

“Our ambition has always been to make sure these historic buildings and grounds continue to serve our city, and we will continue to communicate the priorities of our residents with the new owners.“

The report asks Executive to agree that the Council will use its rights as owner of a strip of access road to secure b

  • beneficial public use of the parkland in front of the hospital building
  • Improved pedestrian and cycle routes through the site
  • Conservation and redevelopment to deliver homes and services which are of benefit to the city

City of York Council has been working with NHS Property Services, The York Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the Vale of York CCG to influence the site’s future.

This included a site development report informed by public and wider stakeholder consultation in 2018. The results of the 2019 consultation over this plan are contained within the Executive report, with 1657 comments identifying public access to the green spaces, key worker accommodation, better cycle and pedestrian pathways and suitability of any new buildings as the priority.

These activities were funded as part of the government’s One Public Estate programme, which supports public bodies to use public land and property to boost economic growth, supply housing and regeneration, and integrated public services.

Executive takes place at 17:30 on Wednesday 21 January at West Offices and will be webcast live at www.york.gov.uk/webcasts.

Hob Moor youngsters leave lasting mark on Centre of Excellence on Ascot Way

Children from York have left a lasting mark on an innovative new building.

Work progressing on Ascot Way centre

The Centre for Excellence will provide disabled children, young people and their families with community and overnight short breaks along with support from a wide range of professionals including clinical psychologists.

Children from the adjacent Hob Moor Primary Academy and Hob Moor Oaks school were asked to help with the construction by laying the first bricks and signing their names on the steel which forms the structure of the building.

The scheme – one of the first of its kind in the country – is a partnership between City of York Council and NHS England. It will enable many children and young people with complex needs to access the help and support they and their families need in York.

The brick laying and steel-signing marks a key stage of the project, which should be completed by summer 2020.

The project is being delivered by Sewell Construction.

Philippa Hughes, Housing Lead for the NHS Learning Disability and Autism Programme in Yorkshire and Humber, said: “The NHS is delighted to support this much needed development in the city of York. It’s heartening to see so many school children contributing to a build which will allow so many of their peers to live full and meaningful lives in their communities.”

Martin Standley, Sewell Construction Project Manager, said: “We feel it’s really important for the children to have as much insight as possible into what’s happening close to their school. This helps feed their curiosity but also helps them understand why it’s so important to stay safe near a building site. 

“Building the Centre of Excellence and redeveloping Lincoln Court is a real honour for Sewell Construction so we knew that the children would be just as proud to get involved and make their mark on the site.”

Richard Ludlow, chief executive of Ebor Academy Trust, which operates the Hob Moor academies, said: “We are fully supportive of City of York Council’s forward thinking plans for this Centre of Excellence and I’m pleased they have allowed our children to be a part of it. True partnership working is always at the heart of successful collaborative ventures.”

Councillor Ian Cuthbertson, City of York Council’s Executive Member for Children, Young People and Education, said: “The Centre of Excellence is a landmark building for York, providing a base where children and young people with complex needs and disabilities can receive help and support from a wide range of professionals within the city.

“I’m delighted that local school children have had the chance to put their mark on the building and to be involved at this point in the construction.”

Lincoln Court update

The same report provides an update on the Lincoln Court redevelopment
Ascot Way building site

“The Older Persons’ Accommodation Programme is currently working on site to refurbish and extend the Lincoln Court Independent Living Community in the Westfield Ward.

Once complete the building will have 35 one bedroomed apartments, communal lounges, laundry facilities, a salon and a communal kitchen.

Work is progressing well on site, with the development due for completion in late spring 2020.

The tenants who have expressed an interest in moving back into the new development have now had the opportunity to choose their kitchen and bathroom fittings, as the “tenants’ choice” works have been included in the contract”.

Work on site is indeed progressing although whether Lincoln Court could be re-occupied before the development (on the adjacent Windsor House site) of a disabled centre is complete, is open to question.

It is likely to be 12 months before the Centre of Excellence for Disabled Children is commissioned for use.

The development has involved some noise, parking and traffic issues for nearby residents.

Council set to abandon Oakhaven replacement plans.

Oakhaven

The former elderly persons home at Oakhaven has remained empty since elderly residents were moved out in 2016.

The building was briefly used as a homeless hostel and then for Police firearms training  

A report in October 2015 had set out the Council’s preferred strategy.

We said at that time “given the Councils shambolic record on project management, we doubt if we see any improvements much before the end of the decade”.

It turns out that we are being optimistic.

Delay followed delay

 As recently as 21st November 2018 the Council was maintaining that it would work with a private sector operator (Ashley House)  to build an “extra care” scheme. 

Now a report published today says the plans have been abandoned.

 “due to planning restrictions and financial viability this project has not progressed.

A number of alternative options for the site are being modelled for financial viability and officers expect to present a report to the executive making recommendations for the site early in 2020”.

Tens of thousands of pounds has been spent on maintaining and keeping the empty build secure. With increasing demands for older persons accommodation delays in excess of 5 years, in implementing projects, are simply not acceptable.

Some of the elderly tenants moved out of Oakhaven could have lived out their lives in a home that many cherished.

They deserve a better epitaph

Extra winter beds opening for rough sleepers in York

People sleeping rough in York can safely bed down this winter as extra emergency beds are being offered again, whatever the weather, from 1 November 2019 until 28 February 2020.

Besides securing nearly £400,000 extra fund for additional outreach workers to give rough more intensive support especially around mental health, York goes above and beyond the national ‘severe weather scheme’. Regardless of whether it’s freezing or not, we make extra emergency beds available bringing the total up to 29 in the winter months: that’s 20 more beds than our current official number of nine rough sleepers in the city.

Five of the emergency beds have been created at a council hostel and are being supported by volunteers from the YES Below Zero scheme. Last year this provision supported 18 rough sleepers into private rented accommodation.

Also in 2018-19, the council resettled 58 former rough sleepers or single homeless people into permanent tenancies, and accommodated 66 households during a period of homelessness.

People leaving sleeping on the streets are placed in the city’s 101-bed supported accommodation schemes. Their dogs can also be brought into emergency accommodation as has been the case in York since 2000.

The people are offered support and education to help address any of the issues that may have contributed to them becoming homeless. This includes referral to services for mental health or substance misuse, and training for work and how to manage a lasting tenancy.

Once that stage is successfully underway, they are allocated space in the city’s 90 independent accommodation units before, hopefully, supporting them into either private or affordable fully-independent homes.

Councillor Denise Craghill, executive member for housing and safer neighbourhoods, said: “Rough sleeping has increased by 132% nationally since 2010 with only a small decrease of 6% nationally during 2018-19. We have secured nearly £400,000 funding for 2019/20 to explore new ways to prevent it, as sleeping on the street lowers life expectancy to 47 years.

“With our partners The Salvation Army, Changing Lives, Peasholme Charity, Restore, YES Below Zero, Carecent and KEY, we continue to offer all known people sleeping rough help to get off the street and into safer, more stable lifestyle, including extra support for people with mental health and substance misuse issues.

“Help is routinely offered to rough sleepers on the early morning walks undertaken several times a week when everyone is offered a bed.”

Charles Walters, of the YES Below Zero team, said: “We are looking forward to building on the solid start YES Below Zero made over the 2018/2019 winter season. The team of volunteers was encouraged by the significant number of positive outcomes.

“As we gear up to help contribute capacity to the emergency bed provision for this next winter season, we invite those who are interested in volunteering to contact us on atbarnett33@gmail.com.

  • To alert support services to a rough sleeper, please ring Street Link on 0300 500 0914.
  • Or, please join us encouraging people sleeping rough to go to The Salvation Army’s early intervention and prevention hub at 63 Lawrence Street, York YO10 3BU between 10am and 12 noon when they’ll be given support.
  • At night or the weekend, rough sleepers can call 01609 780780 for help.
  • To find out ways to donate and support people out of homelessness, please visit www.york.gov.uk/roughsleeping

“We want to stay in our home” say York seniors

The Council has released details of responses to a survey of elderly persons needs which it conducted earlier in the year.

Asked where they would like to see out their days, the majority said that they wished to remain in their existing home.

Some said that they would like to move to a smaller property.

There was little enthusiasm for placements in traditional retirement homes.

Most of the 406 respondents were owner occupiers.  The lowest response rate came from the Westfield ward (the City’s poorest) and he highest from the Guildhall Ward

Clearly location is an important factor for many older people. They want to be close to amenities and are increasingly reluctant to drive.

This need conflicts with current Council planning policies which have allocated land near Front Street Acomb – which has a full range of amenities – for family housing.

With developers reluctant to even build elderly persons homes the emphasis should be on providing easy to manage homes at sites like Lowfield, Front Street, Long Close Lane etc.

The report will be discussed next week click

No takers for Care Home contract at Lowfields

Care home site

According to a notice published earlier today, the York Council has received
no suitable tenders for the provision of a care home at its Lowfields site.

The Council has already invested heavily in providing infrastructure,
including roads, at the site. They promised a 30-month building timetable in  response to concerns expressed by residents in 2016 who feared that the nuisance caused by building works could drag on for a decade.

The failure to find a development partner for the care home, together with
delays on the communal housing section, means that there is no end in sight for the development work.

The delay  notice says, ” This item has been withdrawn because, following a tender process, officers have been unable to appoint a developer. Officers need to consult the market and consider the options before the Executive can make a decision”.

According to the Councils Elderly Care programme, which was last discussed in 2018, work on building the care home was due to start next month. Officials at that they said that they were confident on getting a good deal for the site following “soft market” testing. 

Now a delay on the start of building work on the home of over 12 months  seems inevitable.

There have been similar delays at Oakhaven on York Road where work is now over 3 years behind schedule.

Delays also dog the Haxby Hall redevelopment site on the other side of the
City.

Despite the delays in providing new care homes, existing facilities have
been closed. Some like Willow House next to the Bar walls remain empty.

Ironically, the original plan to provide a, mainly private sector funded,
care village on the site of the Lowfield’s school had been developed in 2010 to the point where work was scheduled to start. The scheme was shelved by the incoming Labour Council and 9 years later there is little to show but some “roads to nowhere” and large spoil heaps.

The site is now has little security. It is attracting children who want to play
on the dangerous spoil heaps.

The football pitches have long gone so alternative children’s play facilities
are non existent.

Even the Kingsway multi user games area has been turned into a building
compound for another development..

Lowfields plans in 2016

57 complaints last year received by Ombudsman about the City of York Council

The Local Government Ombudsman was asked to investigate 57 complaints about the York Council last year.

Transport and planning issues attracted the most complaints.

Ombudsman complaints 2018/19

The equivalent figure for the North Yorkshire County Council was 82 complaints in total, with Adult Social Care and Children’s Services being the most criticised.

The figures are included in the annual report of the Ombudsman

Of the York complaints, 21 were further investigated by the Ombudsman.

Of these, 11 were upheld. A full  list can be found here (click)

The Ombudsman says that the Council complied with their recommendations in all 11 cases although there were delays in 3 instances.

The annual letter from the Ombudsman to the York Council can also now be read on their web site (click)

It includes a “public interest” report about the Council’s failure to provide adequate support for a couple with a terminally ill baby.

The report says that social workers did not visit the baby in hospital

The Ombudsman’s findings are normally reported to a Council committee for consideration and possible changes to procedures.

Extract from the Ombudsman’s annual letter 2019 to York Council

Residents views sought on making York an “age friendly” City

Partners working to improve York for its older residents have launched a consultation on getting out and about in the city.

The consultation has been launched at www.york.gov.uk/AgeFriendlyYork and will run until 9 August. This is a new step towards making the city more age-friendly and an even better place for older residents.

With around ten percent of York’s population aged over 65 – one third of whom live alone – the city has joined the UK network of Age Friendly communities which are linked to the World Health Organisation.

York aims to help older people live healthy and active later lives, that they are happy and are in good health while living in their community. Being an Age Friendly city means that older residents are encouraged to become active citizens, shaping the place that they live in by working alongside local groups, council and businesses to identify and make changes to the physical and social environment they live in.

In York, this will be done by working towards improving the choices older people have regarding how they can travel and where they travel to, how they spend their time and access information, the quality of their housing and services for older people.

The initiative is supported by the York Health and Wellbeing Board, and partners will work with City of York Council, York Older People’s Assembly, York CVS as well as local groups and businesses to engage older people and key stakeholders about their lives and to ask for suggestions to make the city more age friendly.