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

Universal Credit payments may affect York residents over Christmas

City of York Council is advising York residents to be aware of Universal Credit payment changes ahead of the festive period.

Universal Credit is handled by the Department for Work and Pensions to help people on a low income or not in work, meet their living costs. It combines six benefits, including housing benefit and working tax credit, into a single monthly payment.

If you are in employment whilst claiming Universal Credit and receive your wage early in December, you may find your next Universal Credit (UC) payment is reduced. This may leave you short of money over the Christmas period.

If you receive two wage payments during your UC assessment period this will reduce the amount of UC you will receive for that period, and depending on personal earnings, may not receive any UC payment.

This may mean that wage payments are less in the following assessment period and UC will be higher for that next assessment period.

If you are new to Universal Credit you may not receive your first payment until January 2019.  You can apply for an Advanced Payment to tide you over, through your online account, your work coach or the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644. If you this will mean you are unable to pay your rent then please contact your landlord.

If you are unsure when your UC payments will be made, make sure you organise your finances to ensure this doesn’t cause you issues over the holidays. For more information, visit: https://www.york.gov.uk/UniversalCredit.

Councillor Ian Gillies, Leader of City of York Council, said: “Universal Credit payments are normally made in arrears once at the end of the month, rather than being paid every week. However, many York residents will be unaware.

“This is why we are encouraging people who receive UC to be prepared by looking into the festive holiday payment plan.”

Councillor Carol Runciman, executive member for adult social care and health, said: “I would strongly urge anyone in receipt of Universal Credit to double check their upcoming payment dates, so they are not caught out in the New Year.”

“More importantly, if anyone is concerned about their Universal Credit payments, please call 01904 552044 for help and advice.”

Payment dates for Universal Credit:

Universal Credit customers will receive their December payment within their usual payment period. Payments will not be delayed due to the Christmas and New Year public holidays.

Universal Credit payment is due on… Universal Credit will be paid on…
Saturday 22 December Friday 21 December
Sunday 23 December Friday 21 December
Monday 24 December Monday 24 December
Tuesday 25 December Monday 24 December
Wednesday 26 December Monday 24 December
Tuesday 1 January Monday 31 December
Saturday 5 January Friday 4 January
Sunday 6 January Friday 4 January

Payment dates for all other benefits

Customer’s payment is due on… Customer will be paid on…
Monday 24 December Friday 21 December
Tuesday 25 December Friday 21 December
Wednesday 26 December Friday 21 December
Tuesday 1 January Monday 31 December
Wednesday 2 January Monday 31 December,

apart from ESA, JSA and IScustomers in England and Wales – they will be paid on 2 January

 

Please note that the information on GOV.UK for payments due on 2 January is currently incorrect and is in the process of being updated

Keep an eye out for vulnerable neighbours this winter

Research for Age UK* has shown that nearly a million people in the UK feel lonelier at Christmas and City of York Council is urging residents to think of vulnerable friends and neighbours this winter.

The cold weather can have a significant impact on people’s physical and mental health and with the cold and icy conditions vulnerable people can tend to stay at home.

Top tips for supporting older vulnerable neighbours, friends and relatives, include:

  • Make sure they’re warm enough – the temperature in  their home should be at least 18°C, particularly if they are not mobile, have long term illness or are 65 or over, and they may need to  wear several layers of clothes to stay warm
  • If they haven’t already encourage them to have their flu jab. They may be eligible for a free vaccination, for more information visit www.nhs.uk/staywell
  • Make sure they are well stocked up on food, drink and medicines they may need and try to make sure they have regular hot meals and drinks throughout the day.
  • Make sure they have their prescription medications collected in time for Christmas
  • Information about social groups and activities for older people is available through www.livewellyork.co.uk or by contacting Age UK York on 01904 627995.
  • Help to clear snow and ice to reduce the risk of slips and falls when leaving home. The council has over 200 snow wardens, for more information on how you can help visit www.york.gov.uk/snowwardens
  • For more information about Age UK’s national Spread the Warmth campaign visit www.ageuk.org.uk or see www.york.gov.uk/winter   more information about keeping well during winter.

The council is also reminding people of its top tips to stay well this winter:

  • At the first sign of a cough or cold, get advice from your pharmacist
  • Speak to your pharmacist about important medicines you should have in stock
  • It is important to keep warm in winter, so heat your home to at least 18°C (65°F)
  • Make sure you get your flu jab from your GP or pharmacy
  • For information and advice visit www.nhs.uk/staywell

Major changes on Ascot Way & Hob Moor school playing field agreed

Council planning report was wrong on Lincoln Court extension claim

Lincoln Court. Work has started on replacing windows. Concerns about parking

Plans to provide a centre of excellence for disabled children, modernise & extend Lincoln Court and move part of the Hob Moor school playing field were approved last night.

Generally, the improvements will be welcomed.

Unfortunately, the planning committee failed to recognise and act to deal with the cumulative effects that these developments – coupled with others previously agreed – will have on transport systems in the Kingsway estate.

Embarrassed Council officials, at yesterday’s planning committee meeting, were forced to admit that the 10 additional units planned at Lincoln Court were not “extra care” beds as claimed in the Council report.

Instead they will be similar in function to the sheltered flats which form the existing development.

The distinction is a major one as extra care beds imply a much higher level of care need while the occupiers of conventional sheltered flats are more likely to own cars.

They will need somewhere to park them.

The committee declined to require that a rear entrance be provided to the new site. This would have permitted greater integration with the adjacent Hob Moor Oaks school which caters for children with disabilities and might have been used to address overflow car parking, delivery, emergency vehicles access and other transport concerns.

Nor was the committee prepared to even ask transport officials to review the cumulative impact that planning decisions are having on the Kingsway area.

It is difficult not to conclude that the Councils leadership is prepared to casually dismiss the wishes of a community which has lacked leadership since the local resident’s association folded 5 years ago.

The relatively beleaguered inhabitants of the area – amongst the poorest 10% of the population in the country according to some government statistics –  are viewed as less likely able to “raise a stink” than might their “middle England” counterparts in other parts of the City.

 Consequently, the Council has felt able to ignore their legitimate requests for improvements that have been tabled in response to successive development consultations.

What’s on in York Explore events for international day of people with disabilities

Live video link with Urbino, Italy

Dec _3Italy

York Explore Library :

Mon 3 Dec :

11.15am – 12.15pm :

Free

Part of York’s UN International Day of People with Disabilities programme

Live video link at 11:30am bringing together communities from York and Urbino, Italy to celebrate International Day of People with Disabilities  2018.

Discussion and debate with this year’s winners of the Eleanor Worthington Prize for arts and disabilities.

To book your FREE place email arts@exploreyork.org.uk

In partnership with associazione Premio Eleanor Worthington

Young Persons’ Disability Arts Group

Dec _3YPDAG

York Explore Library :

Mon 3 Dec :

6.00pm – 7.30pm :

Free

Part of York’s UN International Day of People with Disabilities programme.  Working with professional artists, this new group is an opportunity for young people to creatively express themselves through disability art, understand what disability art is and help profile issues relevant for young disabled people. Moving forward, this project will be supported and funded by Arts Council England. .

Step-free access.  Accessible toilets.  Limited disabled parking available.

To book a FREE  place email arts@exploreyork.org.uk

Rough sleeping in York falls from 29 to nine people in 2018

The number of people sleeping rough in the city has reduced this year from 29 to nine, following work by City of York Council and partners.

In 2017, the official number was 29, in 2016 and 2015 it was 18. Work continues to reduce this number further and help more people off the streets into safer, more stable lives.

The count this year was conducted on 21 November into the early morning the following day. That night, all known locations where people sleep out and those reported to Streetlink were visited by officers from the Salvation Army and North Yorkshire Police.

For two months beforehand, information on people who beg, people who have accommodation and those who do not, had been gathered from the city’s agencies. The agencies met after the count to evaluate that information and the people found on the night. Actually six people were found sleeping rough on 21 November, but the agencies added to the list three more known rough sleepers who hadn’t been seen that night and who were known not to have taken up accommodation. The final figure of nine was verified independently by Homeless Link.

To support more rough sleepers off the streets, the council and charity Changing Lives opened 11 extra emergency beds ahead of the winter months this year giving the city a total 29 to match last year’s number of rough sleepers. Also, a new early help and prevention hub was opened by The Salvation Army in the summer at 63 Lawrence Street where any single person without a bed for the night should visit between 10am-midday.

To help address the complex reasons underlying rough sleeping, the council has secured £193,000 for 2018/19 to provide a more targeted and innovative approach, including additional support for those with mental health issues.

Anyone who sees someone sleeping rough can ring Streetlink on 0300 500 0194. This national helpline alerts local agencies to visit the location and offer support.

We encourage people not to give cash direct to those appearing to beg, but to contribute to personalised support for genuine rough sleepers by texting YORK35 £3 – or whatever sum they’d like to give – to 70070.

Oakhaven delays – Council admits it will be Autumn 2020 before new home is completed.

Oakhaven

We reported last week that plans to provide a new elderly persons home on the Oakhaven site in Acomb (Holgate) had run into severe difficulties.

Now a Council report has revealed that the replacement facility will not open until the autumn of 2020.

That would be nearly three years after the original target date. The report offers no explanation for the delay.

Other schemes like the upgrade to Lincoln court have overtaken the Oakhaven project.

Elderly residents were decanted out of the building in 2016.

So far no planning application for the Oakhaven site has been submitted. One is not now expected until the summer.

In 2015 we said that the Council’s poor project management record could result in delays to the project.

However, no one forecast that they would be this bad.

Empty elderly persons accommodation an increasing problem in York

Oakhaven

The enthusiasm shown by the York Council in moving elderly people out of their homes is being questioned.

Some empty Elderly Persons Homes have yet to be reused

We highlighted the neglected state of Willow House last month. It has been empty for over a year.

..but this pales to insignificance when you consider what has happened at Oakhaven on York Road.

Residents moved out of the building 3 years ago.

In 2015 the Council announced that a new facility would be built there as part of a plan to provide 525 new elderly persons places “before the end of 2018”. Work at Oakhaven was timetabled to be complete with the new facility ready for occupation by May 2018.  We said at the time “Given the Council’s shambolic record on project management, we doubt if we will see any improvements much before the end of the decade”.

More than a year ago the Council said that a new facility would not open until “2019 at the earliest”.

There is still no sign of work starting.

Oakhaven site plans published earlier in the year

In February the Councils preferred operator for a new facility Ashley House – who had been appointed in March 2017 – consulted on a proposed design but nothing more was heard about the plans.

No redevelopment timetable has been published by the Council and an update report doesn’t even figure in the Councils forward plan which cover the period up to the end of March. There will be an item on the November Executive agenda but this refers only to Lincoln Court and Glen Lodge

There has been  some short term use of the buildings to house potentially homeless people but these are now well catered for by a  new building at James Street

In the meantime, the delays will mean more pressure on hospital beds as managers struggle during the winter period to find suitable accommodation into which recovering older people can be transferred.

Cashless giving supports rough sleepers to get earlier help, say charities

A new cashless giving option to support rough sleepers is being offered as an alternative to giving cash direct which can delay them getting help into safer lives.

Administered by Two Ridings Community Foundation, this easy scheme lets people donate by text to a fund which they can be confident will support genuinely homeless people off the streets and into safer and more stable lives by specialised charities.

The fund has been set up by the council in partnership with Two Ridings, which runs the York Disaster Fund. Proceeds will be shared among Changing Lives, The Salvation Army and Carecent.

These charities offer people sleeping rough immediate practical support, helps them into hostels, and then into longer term support. This includes supporting those with mental health or substance misuse issues, training and finding employment, finding a home and maintaining a tenancy.

A similar scheme administered by Changing Lives was launched in November 2016. Money raised was shared by the charities to pay for personalised support. This included paying for haircuts for those preparing for interviews; copies of identification so bank accounts can be opened and tenancies secured; a first months’ rent for a flat; and gym passes to support work to stop substance misuse and improve mental health.

People who wish to help are asked to give by texting the message YORK35 £ to the number 70070, indicating how much they wish to give after the £.

Nicky Gladstone of charity Carecent, said: “People in York are always very generous, and it just doesn’t feel right to walk past people who are begging on the streets.

“It can be hard to realise that giving money directly to people who beg can prolong their situation and discourage them from seeking the right help and support.

“If you see someone begging, give them a smile and say hello. Offer to buy them a coffee or a sandwich. And if you want to give money, then do consider donating by text to groups who can really make a difference.”

Please text YORK35 £3 – or whatever sum you’d like to give – to 70070.

Donations from the public will be shared between:

  • Carecent, a York-based breakfast centre which provides food and clothing, support and advice
  • The Salvation Army’s Early Intervention and Prevention Team in York which identifies vulnerable people on the street and, provides accommodation, health assessments and food among other services
  • Changing Lives provides accommodation and support to homeless men and women in York.

As usual at Christmastime, local services continue to provide meals and support for people who experience homelessness, including donated presents to help make the day special.

Anyone who sees someone sleeping rough can ring Streetwise on 0300 500 0194, a national helpline which alerts local agencies to visit the location and offer support.