York Council promises to treat icy cycle paths…

….but remains inactive on weeds, hedges and other obstructions

The York Council will discuss next week whether to continue a trial which is aimed at removing ice from some cycle paths.  A report says that a two tractors operated last winter brushing snow and ice for a small number of off road cycle tracks .

None of these were in the Acomb, Westfield or rural areas.

Cycle paths treated to prevent icing 2019/20

 Only a small part of the Tadcaster Road cycle path was treated. “The routes were approximately 18km & 25km long and started and finished at Hazel Court James Street (see map). The service completed 59 runs in total using 9000 litres of pathway KA, the structure friendly non-corrosive solution, and 12000 litres of Probrine, effectively a salt water brine mix”.

The cost of doing the work was £47,000.

According to the report, the City of York Council Cycle Officer says feedback from cyclists can be summarised as “the trial is a vast improvement and that they’d like it extending to other parts of the network which were not included in the trial”.

The winter was (again) relatively mild without sustained periods of sub zero temperatures.

Cyclists in the suburbs and villages will view this report with some scepticism. Once again there seems to have  been no objective attempt made to identify the needs of longer distance and leisure cyclists in west York.

Too many off road paths are impeded by weeds, thorn bushes and detritus. Several are now badly rutted. No regular maintenance inspections take place.

The York Council must start taking the needs of all cyclist seriously. Otherwise it will be guilty of posturing.

It should start by increasing the number of inspections that it undertakes.

It should also agree a routine maintenance programme covering sweeping, weed treatment and hedge cutting on off road paths.  

It must also acknowledge that periodically it will have to renew notices and refresh white lines. At the moment many of these have just faded away.

Weeds obstruct Tadcaster Road cycle path
More weeds breaking up the path surface
Thorn branches are hazard on cycle paths
Detritus on oaths which are not regularly swept
More detritus

‘Whole person, whole life, whole system’ approach proposed for mental health housing and support

Residents with multiple and complex needs could benefit from 53 new units of specialist mental health housing and support in the city.

Housing with the right support is an integral part of the city’s health and social care partners’ commitment to a community approach to mental health and wellbeing. This plan will improve the city’s ability to provide the right housing with the right support at the right time, leading to improved outcomes for those who need it.

Crombie House

It proposes creating two new specialist mental health supported housing schemes developed and delivered by specialist partners. The proposed sites are the council-owned Woolnough House, off Hull Road, and Crombie House in Acomb. Each scheme will have 24/7 on-site staffing to support ten residents, as well as providing support to another six satellite flats near each scheme. A total of 32 specialist mental health supported housing places will be created.

In addition, 21 Housing First places will be created for people with multiple and complex needs. Housing First is an internationally recognised and evidence-based model of housing and support for those with long term housing, health and social care needs. It provides individuals with permanent housing with personalised, intensive wraparound support to help them develop and retain their independence, and maintain a tenancy.

There will be a range of options available to people using these schemes, offering varying levels of independence and support, and allowing them to progress at a pace that’s right for them. Personalised support will be provided to help each individual:

  • develop their practical skills
  • engage with their local community
  • gain confidence to achieve their goal of living independently.

The proposal will be discussed at a meeting next week click

Coronavirus York updates; 6th August 2020

Deaths and test results

Although no figures have been published at City level, national statistics indicate that the percentage of people testing positive for coronavirus antibodies is around 6%. This does not include tests undertaken in hospitals or care homes.

The same source says that the number of positive virus test results in Yorkshire rose during the last few days of July.

The overall death toll from COVID-19 in York remains at 169.

There have been no further Hospital deaths in the City today. There has been another positive test result bringing the total to 928

York residents thanked for supporting independent businesses

A recent campaign run by City of York Council with Make It York and Indie York highlighted the lengths the city’s independents are going to create a safe, welcoming experience for customers.

As a part of this initiative, York Kind case studies, which have highlighted how different independent retailers are adapting and responding to the pandemic, have reached over 115,000 people online, with 4,000 people showing their support, by liking or sharing the stories.

Keith Aspden, Council leader, commented:

“It’s been inspiring to see the resilience and compassion with which our communities have responded to the crisis. Our local business community have worked hard to reopen safely, so it’s great to see so many people supporting the creative, independent businesses which make our city so unique.

“By shopping locally not only do we support our small and independent businesses and the staff and suppliers who rely on them, but also directly invest in our local communities at this challenging time.

“As we welcome residents back to the city and our shopping areas, we are continuing to put the safety of residents and visitors at the forefront of our reopening efforts, and by working with businesses across the city we are establishing and promoting social distancing measures. So please do continue to shop local to support our amazing local businesses and remember to stay safe whilst doing so.”

Johnny Hayes, Chair of Indie York:

“It was great to be involved in the #YorkKind campaign, shining a light on the efforts of our members to bring life back to the city and provide the products and experiences which York residents have been missing. We invite people to come and enjoy something to eat in August at our independent restaurants and cafés who are participating the in the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.”

Talking Points offer face-to-face appointments online

A new way for residents to have conversations about how to live their lives independently and well is opening up this week.

Following lockdown in March, Talking Points have been unable to operate. Now, new online video appointments and drop-in sessions are available. Through these, residents can talk with City of York Council’s adult social care team, face-to-face and in a safe but effective way.

As before lockdown, residents can choose to book an appointment with a member of the adult social care team on a given date and time or, they can opt to join a drop-in session and wait for a private conversation.  

As usual, residents will be able to access information, advice and support from adult social care staff as well as find out more about local activities, support and resources.

This new scheme has been successfully trialled with a number of carers who were already familiar with the pre-lockdown Talking Points. It uses a secure system widely used by the NHS called Attend Anywhere. People wanting to use the system, can get familiar with it at https://www.york.gov.uk/VideoAppointments .

The drop-ins will be available on Wednesdays and Thursdays between 10am-12 noon and 2-4pm.They will take place just like the former drop-ins, but people will enter a virtual waiting room via https://www.york.gov.uk/VideoAppointments#dropin . There, they will simply ‘wait’ in the virtual lobby for a contact worker to be free when they can meet them face-to-face online.

People who contact adult social care and for whom a video appointment with a member of the adult social care team would be helpful, will be emailed a date and a time and a weblink to a virtual waiting room. In that waiting room, the resident’s details will be checked to ensure they are the individual who is expected. Once that’s confirmed, they will be invited to join the worker online, and each can see and hear the other. Adult social care workers will continue to be available on the usual number at 01904 555111.

Cllr Carol Runciman, Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care, said: “Feedback from those taking part in the trial is that these online conversations are an easy, convenient and secure way for residents to get the information, advice and support they need.

“Important appointments can be kept online while protecting residents, their carers and families as well as our staff. It also enables people to meet virtually, so that we can give the best possible advice and support for them to lead the lives they want.”

Ascot Way disabled centre to open “in October”

Disabled centre on Ascot Way

The Council has changed its forecast completion date for the Centre of Excellence for Disabled Children which is currently being built on Ascot Way. They originally forecast an (unlikely) opening date of June. They have now revised this to October.

The Council says that the facility “will provide short breaks for young people with disabilities in a purpose built facility and also expand the service support offer in the community and assist in reducing the need for out of authority placements by providing much more flexible provision in the city

Lincoln Court

Work on upgrading the adjacent Lincoln Court sheltered accommodation units had stalled during the Coronavirus lock-down. No opening date has been given for reoccupation of the building although this may be influenced by the continuing work on the adjacent site. The refurbishment involves the creation of 15 new fully wheelchair accessible properties and 20 fully refurbished apartments.

We are still waiting to hear when work on the replacement for the all weather play area (MUGA) will start!

Credit Union confirms that its Acomb branch has closed permanently

UPDATE: The Social First Credit Union is still accepting applications for new memberships. Call 03030 300010

The Acomb branch of the Community First Credit Union was closed late last year. The property on York Road is now on the market.

Property available to lease on York Road

The Union says that it still provide a basic service in the City each week. The published opening hours (which may change during the current health crisis) are:

  • Bell Farm Social Hall every Tuesday from 9am until 1pm and then 1:45pm until 4pm.
  • York West Council Offices every Thursday from 9am until 1pm and then 1:45pm until 4pm.
  • Westfield Children’s Centre every Friday 9am until 12 noon.

Members can call the Union on 03030300010 when they believe they would like to visit and will confirm if the member of staff will be at these properties.

Formerly known as the South Yorkshire Credit Union, the organisation expanded into York when the York and North Yorkshire Credit Union folded in 2012. At that time there were considerable losses for the local authorities involved.

A few years later, the arrival of the SY Credit Union, at premises in what is the poorest part of the City, was generally welcomed.

The York Council has made no statement about the reduced access arrangements although support services like these are likely to be particularly valued during the present health crisis.

New care home in Burnholme York nears completion

A significant milestone is being celebrated in the development of a new state-of-the-art care home.

The new care home is set to provide older people in York with high quality residential, nursing and memory care.

A topping out event and naming ceremony took place at the 80-bed home in Burnholme, which will officially be called Mossdale Residence, to mark the beginning of the final phase of construction.

The facility was secured by City of York Council and is being brought forward by Morgan Sindall Later Living alongside development partners Pacy & Wheatley and Rider Levett Bucknall. Leading care home provider HC-One has been appointed to operate the care home.

Due to open this autumn, Mossdale Residence is an important part of York’s older persons’ accommodation programme which is working to ensure the city’s growing population of older people have access to a wide range of modern accommodation.

The care home will be part of a multi-million-pound health and wellbeing campus planned for the former Burnholme Community College site which will deliver care, health, library, community, a newly opened sports centre as well as new homes.

Burnholme Care Home was also recognised as part of the Government Property Profession awards, of which the Burnholme development was one of three shortlisted for Project of the Year.

Council U-Turn on Lowfields care home confirmed

As previously reported, the York Council has abandoned its plans to build a care and nursing home on the Lowfields site. It had been unable to find a development partner for its scheme.

A meeting next week will hear that the plot (on the old school footprint) will be offered for sale to private developers with the condition that they construct “extra care” independent living units there.

The Council expects to receive around £450,000 for the site.

Independent living homes are aimed at the elderly. The scheme has similarities to the Hartrigg Oaks neighbourhood on the other side of the City.

This proposal effectively takes us back to 2010 when the original plans for the site – although much smaller and retaining a large amount of green space – envisaged its use as a “care village”. The site is ideally placed for easy access to a full range of services on Front Street.

Homes would be offered on a leasehold basis and would be ideal for homeowners seeking to “downsize”.

“Communal social facilities” would be included and might be also be made available to over 55’s living in the flats and bungalows which are currently being constructed.

The Council (rightly) claims that older people want to retain their independence and that there is a general trend away for care institutions. The Council has been closing its existing elderly persons homes over recent years. Closures have included Oakhaven on York Road although this site has also been unused now for over 4 years.

Planned Lowfields Care Village 2010

The Volte-face at Lowfields will inevitably mean more delays. The Wates development is expected to be complete in 2022. Work on the independent living unit would not start until 2021.  It could be another 3 years (or longer) before construction traffic finally moves off the site.

The new plan – which is welcome if very belated – comes a few days after residents complained about the current contractors leaving generators running during the through night period. It took some time to resolve the issue.

On 24th March (7:00pm) residents are due to hear an update on the project when local Councillors hold a meeting in the Acomb Methodist Hall on Front Street. The future of the communal housing, self-build, playground, police station and doctor’s surgery parts of the plan are likely to be under considerable scrutiny.

Details of the care home report can be found by clicking here

York Council report extract March 2020

Age-friendly York surveys older people’s leisure time

Age-friendly York has launched a new consultation on how older people spend their leisure time in the city and how they’d actually like to spend it.

Your Leisure Time consultation is at www.york.gov.uk/AgeFriendlyYork  and asks for views on activities and how to find them, volunteering and loneliness. Past surveys have highlighted social isolation is an issue which we’re addressing by providing opportunities to socialise like chatty bench and a chatty café. The survey asks about these initiatives and a shared restaurant table scheme. The questionnaire takes about 10 minutes to complete.

Earlier Age-Friendly surveys held last year were on Your Journey in August and Your Destination in October. Over 200 people took part and provided high-quality information and comments. Among the outcomes, includes a survey of benches in the city, their location, condition and plotting them on a map.

Following an earlier survey in 2017 when 23% of respondents said they experienced loneliness, we and partners developed www.LiveWellYork.co.uk which now lists some 640 activities, events or volunteering opportunities.

Councillor Carol Runciman, Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Health said: “Being an age-friendly city is a welcome step towards making the city an even better place for older residents.

“Better understanding their preferences or concerns means we can work with partners to address them. We can then build on initiatives like the falls prevention service, or our older people’s accommodation programme to support people to live as independently and as well as possible in later life.

“We know social isolation can be an issue, and this survey will help us understand the barriers people face to socialising, so we can create the right solutions. In the same way, we know accessing community transport at peak times can be difficult, so Age Friendly York is working with the Community Transport Group to find solutions.”

The surveys are open to any older York residents, anyone who works with or cares for older people or those who are planning ahead for older age. Printed copies and large print versions of the consultation are available on request to AgeFriendlyYork@york.gov.uk. Please email this address is you’re interested in getting involved in Age Friendly York.

Other consultations planned by Age Friendly York are on Your Access to Information; Your Home and Your Services.

Lincoln Court building progress

York Council says good progress being made on the modernisation and extension of Lincoln Court

“City of York Council is celebrating a milestone with contractor Sewell Construction to mark the start of the final phase of the £1.9 million improvement and extension of its popular Lincoln Court Independent Living Scheme.

Lincoln Court expansion plans 2018

The accommodation is being extended from 26 accommodation units to 35 high quality apartments. Much-improved communal facilities and low-energy measures are being added too, with a view to the scheme reopening this summer.

This is the council’s first independent living scheme extension to be developed specifically to meet the needs of wheelchair users. With a better location identified for the energy efficient heating system for the apartments, tenants will also benefit from new double glazed windows and from photovoltaic cells on the roof which will reduce communal utility costs. 

Disabled centre in foreground. Lincoln Court to rear

A larger, brighter and more central communal lounge area will bring together residents of the new and existing elements of the building. An extra meeting room and additional office space will enable the scheme to be used as a hub for more services to be provided in the local community. The addition of a guest suite for visiting family and friends of residents will help maintain family links.

Listening to feedback from former tenants, we broadened the extension project to include the full refurbishment and re-roofing of the existing properties. In addition, they told us they would prefer that the existing flats are modernised with new heating systems, rewiring, new kitchens and bathrooms at the same time as the construction to avoid further disruption. This is underway”.

In a report last week (above)  the Council also claimed that the new Centre of Excellence for Disable Young People, which will occupy the site next to Lincoln Court on Ascot Way, would be completed in May 2020” .

This claim is being viewed with some scepticism

Lowfields elderly persons accommodation

Report published but little progress

The Lowfields Playing Field Action Group Facebook page is reporting that the York Council is dithering over a decision on the elderly persons accommodation planned for Lowfields and for Oakhaven.

Lowfields plans in 2016

The group says,

“A new report has been published today. It concerns the use of the plot at Lowfields (and a similar site at Oakhaven) which was reserved for an elderly person home. The Council sought tenders from developers and operators for the sites but were unable to find anyone prepared to undertake the project.

The Council is now agonising about what to do next.

Lowfields care village 2011 plans

The obvious answer is to market the plot (which is brownfield land) with the only use restriction being that any development should be aimed at older people. There are a lot of elders living in large properties who are seeking to “downsize” and both sites are ideally located near amenities.

We might then get back to the Hartrigg Oaks type of development which was the preferred choice for the Lowfield site when first discussed in 2010.

If the Council continues to be indecisive, the residents can expect building works on the site to continue long after the three year target completion date”.

Report click here https://democracy.york.gov.uk/…/Lowfield%20Oakhaven%20Healt…