These applications refer mainly to Health and Safety plans. In addition they indicate the phasing of the development, location of site compound/car parking and proposed access routes. (see drawings below)
The Council will be discussing another
report on the future of library buildings in York next week. There is little new in the document.
We have seen a decade of agonising about the service which has
been run for several years by an independent – not for profit – social interest
organisation. They recently won the right to run the library service for a
further 15 years.
Whether staff moral has held up in the face of Council
indecisiveness in recent years may be open to question.
Compared to other areas, York has a relative successful
library service. It has not slipped into the “basket case” situation seen recently
with several other public services in the City.
Usage levels have been stable, no libraries have been
closed, new libraries have been established at Burnholme, New Earswick and the
soon to be opened (probably) Community Stadium. The Reading Café in Rowntree
park is successful and an overhaul of the Central Library and Archives has been
The library service has recognised that it needs to be more
than a book lending service. Some have styled themselves as learning or “explore”
centres. Some have opened cafes. Several have established “Friends of” groups.
But progress in west York has been slow.
In 2008 the Council identified the need to expand the Acomb Library.
It had had a modest extension to the front, but other parts of the building were
aging. The Council decided to acquire land to the rear to facilitate expansion.
The idea was that a “one stop shop” should be established with staff moving in
from the then nearby “Acomb Office”. Officials were told to buy the bowling
club land but failed to push a deal though. The bowling club was latter to be
sold to a private housing developer. The Council land is now part of a building
The expansion plans were jettisoned by a new administration when it took office in 2011.
Since then the staff from the Acomb (housing) Office have been centralised into West Offices. There has been no significant investment in the library building. The acquired land became an overgrown eyesore.
About two years ago an opportunity arose to rationalise the site by incorporating the library, bowling club and extension land into one redevelopment plan.
The Council failed to act. As a result, expansion options have
The latest report confirms a £4 million budget for improvements
to the libraries in Acomb and Clifton. This was first announced 4 months ago. The
report says that the use of this investment is aimed at “reducing running costs”.
The report talks of identifying “co-location partners”
It will be mid 2021 at the earliest before residents will
see any building work taking place at the Acomb Explore site.
So for the next 4 years west York will no doubt be expected to muddle through
The report confirms that “the 15-year Library Contract
sets out the requirement for Explore (the operators) to co-locate all the
Gateway libraries by 31 March 2027”.
This could have significant implications for smaller
libraries such as that at Dringhouses.
Around 250 visitors are expected to visit Acomb Jobs Fair next month, where they will have the chance to meet over 30 employers and training providers from local areas.
Held at Acomb Parish Church Hall, 18A Front St, YO24 3BZ, on Wednesday 6 November between 10am and 2pm, the free event brings together employers, employment support agencies, education and training providers to offer local people job opportunities, information and advice
The fair is aimed at those looking for employment, considering a change of job or career and those who would like to develop new skills and gain new qualifications, ahead of York Business Week 11-15 November.
The event is funded by 4Community Growth and organised by City of York Council and York Learning in partnership with Job Centre Plus.
The Councils Executive committee will discuss the vexed question of highways maintenance next week.
If there is any basic public service likely to raise public ire, it is the number of potholes and cracks in roads and footpaths.
The conditions simply
reflect many years of under investment in maintenance work.
The new Council was elected on a manifesto which promised improvements.
They quickly moved to allocate an additional £1 million budget although half of
this was earmarked for new cycling and footpath projects.
The expectation was that the, all too obvious, major problems
would be quickly identified and a programme agreed for repairs. Anyone reading the
report will be very disappointed. There
is no refreshed list of roads that will be resurfaced this year.
Officials even plead for existing policies to continue.
Councillors have had long enough to get a list of repairs on
a ward by ward basis. With only 6 months to go in the current financial year, contracts
for these repairs needed to be issued quickly.
Ideally this should have been done before ice took a further
toll on the vulnerable surfaces of poorly maintained surfaces.
The report talks of an annual condition survey. The survey details
condition of every highway. All are graded between 1 and 5 with 5 being those in
worst condition. (Grade 1: very good, •
Grade 2: good, • Grade 3: fair, • Grade 4: poor, • Grade
5: very poor)
Over 13,000 stretches of highway are categorised as grade 5
That is little help.
A more detailed assessment is needed if the worst roads are
to be prioritised.
The list is available for download from “open data” click here It is unfortunately categorised by ward names which were superceded over 15 years ago.
Still we can say that streets like Foxwood Lane and School Street are amongst the worst in the City. The 50 year old potholed access roads to Spurr Court and Morrel Court are graded at 4 (poor). Footpaths in streets like Walton Place don’t even get a mention.
We hope that Councillors will ask some searching questions next
All is not as it should be with highway maintenance operations at the York Council.
“Use it or lose it” message for bus service users from transport chief
Just days after the number 12 bus service was reprieved, residents are being urged to make full use of it after falling passenger numbers left the long-term future of one section of its route in jeopardy.
Service 12 runs between Foxwood, the city centre and Monks Cross, but the section of the route between Alness Drive and Foxwood Lane has suffered a decline in patronage, This summer, bus operator First York announced its intention to withdraw the service that it provides along that section of the route on the basis that it is no longer commercially viable.
However, City of York Council stepped in to provide the funding required to continue operating the service in its entirety, but only up until 31 January, 2020. This will allow time for a tendering process to be carried out in a bid to find the most cost-effective, long-term solution. A decision about the future of the service will be made once that process is complete.
Councillor Andy D’Agorne, Executive Member for Transport, said: “It’s positive that the council has agreed to provide the funding needed to ensure that bus service 12 can continue to operate between Alness Drive and Foxwood Lane in the short-term but, as we work to identify a longer-term solution, it’s really important that local people make full use of the service.”
We think that the threat is ill timed. Details of the reprieved service weren’t generally circulated until over a week after the decision was taken.
Bus stop timetables similarly weren’t undated.
We think that Council should get its own house in order before preaching to passengers, many of whom are vulnerable.
Local residents in Lowfields are objecting to plans to remove the railings which protect their garden boundaries.
The plan by the Council to replace the railings was first revleaed on tyhis site at the weekend.
According to their Facebook site, the Lowfields Residents Action Group is leading a campaign to get the Council to consult neighbours on their plans.
Their main concerns are about the appearance of a new fence, its impact on the natural environment, damage to existing landscaping and the money which would be wasted if the existing railings – which are in good condition – were junked.
Separately the Council has announced today that it will commence construction work on the site in two weeks time.
It is writing to residents telling them about a consultation meeting which is taking place next week and which will involve the Wates building contractors
The Residents Group has responded saying, “We think this is pretty short notice for a consultation event.
The letter includes an evasive reference to “Yorspace” who we understand are still struggling to find funding for their communal living site.
It also pointedly doesn’t admit that the Council have failed to find a developer for their proposed elderly persons care home.
Nothing more either, on the public buildings (Health Centre and Police station) which seem less and less likely now to happen.
This means that there is no chance of building work on the whole site being finished within 2 years”.