Gale Lane flats plan grows larger

A committee will decide whether to agree to a proposal to provide 8 flats and 2 bungalows on the site of 61A Gale Lane.

While the redevelopment of the site has been on the cards for several years the developers plans have grown over the years.

In 2017 planning permission was granted for 5 apartments plus a pair of bungalows.

A year later and this had grown to 7 apartments plus the bungalows.

The latest revision would see an even larger development.

One of the main areas of objection is likely to be traffic generation with additional vehicle movements adding to those being generated by the adjacent “Lowfield Green” development.

Residents wishing to object to the plans can do so at the planning committee meeting (click) which takes place on Thursday 20th August.

Further objections can be registered through the Councils on line portal https://planningaccess.york.gov.uk/online-applications/ quoting Reference 20/00494/FULM &/or by email to  planning.comments@york.gov.uk

Managing waste storage

Much of the litter we see around the area can be traced to poor storage arrangements. These commercial bins in back Front Street were overloaded to point when rubbish was likely to be blown around the area.
Little Green Lane garage area looking overgrown and neglected again

On a more positive note, we were pleased to see that the Ashbourn Place gate access to the Foxwood Park has been repaired, following action by local Councillor Stephen Fenton

Foxwood park gates
We’ve reported again the weeds growing on footpaths in the Dijon Avenue/Kir Crescent area. The weed treatment programme this summer has been better than happened last year, but some locations have been missed.
Also disappointing to see that the Severus Street back lane is subject to dumping and overgrowth.
Meanwhile thanks to the efforts of parishioners and volunteers most of the St Stephens churchyard continues to provide an oasis of calm in the heart of Acomb village. The Roseday Avenue end is difficult to keep tidy in the fast growing conditions which we are currently experiencing. No doubt the church would appreciate having more volunteers.

Ascot Way still closed

Builders have closed Ascot Way forcing a bus diversion. The road has been closed by builders working on the Lincoln Court/Windsor House site.

A pedestrian route has been maintained but vehicles including buses and cyclists face a detour.

Ascot Way closed

The Council had previously claimed that the Centre for the Disabled, being built on the site of the former Windsor House home, would be completed in June. Work on this project, and the adjacent upgrade of the Lincoln Court apartments , looks to be some way from completion.

The Kingsway area has had more than its fair share of disruption in recent years. There is only one access road open and it has born the brunt of heavy vehicle operations. First there was the Hob Stone development – which dragged on for three years, then the Council development in Newbury Avenue to be quickly followed by the work now going on in Ascot Way.

Local residents are looking forward to the end of the disruption, the restoration of lost amenities plus urgently needed repairs to roads.

More delays at Lowfields

The Yorkshire Water’s work on Tudor Road, which is intended to provide services to the Lowfields development, continues to make slow progress.

Tudor Road site entrance has been blocked for 2 months

Tudor Road and the public footpath were blocked for a couple of weeks from 15th June. Work on the main carriageway continued until early July. It was expected that delivery lorries to the Lowfields development site – which had been using Dijon Avenue – would then return to using the authorised Tudor Road entrance.

The Dijon Avenue site entrance is being heavily used

That hasn’t proved to be the case with lorries still trundling down Dijon Avenue each day. It seems the 2 month duration will pass before there is any relief.

Little Tudor Road communal housing site is now covered by a spoil heap

Meanwhile the section of the site reserved for the Yorspace communal housing scheme has been taken over by Wates builders. They have established a spoil heap there and are also storing other materials on the site. Apparently the cooperative still haven’t actually completed the purchase of the land and it remains unclear whether the promised homes will ever actually get built.

Communal housing site – foreground – remains derelict

Scepticism over York Council house prices at Lowfields

Average house prices in Dijon Avenue – next to the new “Lowfields Green development – are around £191,000. A 3 bedroomed semi is estimated to be worth between £188,000 and £208,000 according to the Zoopla web site. Prices are similar in nearby Lowfields Drive.

The announcement that the new “Clover” three bed, 94 sq. mtr, semi would cost £295,000 raised many eyebrows. With average salaries of £26,000 a year in York, that means a working couple would be able to borrow a maximum of £234,000 with repayments set at £1109 per month. They would also need a deposit of £60,000.

So we can safely say that the houses aren’t aimed at first time buyers.

Shape homes are offering a “shared ownership” option on some smaller properties. Two 2-bedroomed semi-detached houses (The Burdock) are for sale for between 25%-75% of the whole sale price of £225,000 (for example, a 30% share would cost £67,500). The Council have already completed deals elsewhere in the City for about 30 shared ownership homes. In most of those cases the prospective occupant identified a propriety that was available on the open market and asked the Council to buy half. The occupiers then pay part mortgage and part rent.

Finally seven “social rent” properties will be available.  Two are 2-bedroomed semi-detached houses and there are five 2-bedroomed semi-detached bungalows. Rent levels for the properties have not been revealed, although they will be much less than the £800 pm commercial rents being asked for similar properties in the area. Applicants will need to be on the housing waiting list although it is possible that preference will be given to Council tenants seeking to downsize from larger properties (freeing them, in turn, for family occupation).

Old Bowling Green semi

By way of comparison, a new 3 bed semi on the prestigious Old Bowling Green site on Front Street is listed for sale at £310,000  It has 90 sq. metres of floorspace and is arguably better located than the houses at “Lowfields Green”. Building work on the site will also conclude shortly.

Quite how the £295,000 price for the Lowfields semi has been arrived at was not made clear in the business case figures published by the Council.

It can only serve to stoke house price inflation at a time when many are feeling the pressures arising from the health crisis.

Some cross subsidy of the rented units was expected across the whole site.But that doesn’t explain the £50,000 premium apparently now being sought.

The Council may also point to high standards of thermal efficiency, but it would take over 100 years to repay the extra “up-front” costs through energy bill savings.

Latest planning applications for the Westfield Ward

Below are the latest planning applications received by the York Council for the Westfield ward.

Full details can be found by clicking the application reference

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Windsor House 22 Ascot Way York

Non-material amendment to permitted application 18/01467/GRG3 to alter landscaping

Ref. No: 20/01320/NONMAT 

NB This application relates mainly to the detailed design of a playground. The playground is designed for use by those staying at the disabled centre. It is not a replacement for the games area (MUGA) which was publicly accessible and aimed at older children. A statement from the Council on the MUGA replacement – which it was hoped would be provided on the Thanet Road Sports area – is still awaited.

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22 Otterwood Lane York YO24 3JR

Two storey side extension following demolition of existing single storey side extension and pitched roof over existing flat roof front porch

Ref. No: 20/01285/FUL 

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228 Hamilton Drive West York YO24 4PJ

First floor side extension

Ref. No: 20/01275/FUL 

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Yan’s Express Cantonese Takeaway 11 Acomb Court Front Street York YO24 3BJ

Certificate of lawfulness for the existing use of premises as a hot food takeaway (use class A5)

Ref. No: 20/01186/CLU 

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Representations can be made in favour of, or in objection to, any application via the Planning online web site.  http://planningaccess.york.gov.uk/online-applications/

NB. The Council now no longer routinely consults neighbours by letter when an application is received

New homes at Lowfields on sale from Monday

The Council will start the sale of homes at Lowfields on Monday.

They say that the first phase is of “30 high quality, low energy, spacious homes” which will be ready for their new residents to move in “early in 2021”. 

Of this phase, 18 are available for outright sale at market rates and six of the homes are for sale through a shared ownership scheme.

Seven homes will be allocated for social rent.

More details on the Save Lowfields Playing Field Facebook page. (click)

First homes released for sale at Lowfield Green: The Burdock 2-bed semi

Authorities concerned about welfare of teenagers

It appears that two teenagers were overcome with fatigue earlier today.

After polishing off a snack on the bench in Foxwood Park they were overcome with exhaustion. This meant that they were unable to deposit their litter in a bin which was only 2 metres away.

Police are looking for two youngsters with no arms and only minimal use of their legs.

A passerby later cleared the rubbish.

The environment and informal leisure

The government has launched a welcome initiative this week aimed at encouraging more active lifestyles. There has been a lot of support for cycling as a way of keeping fit and losing weight. That is very welcome and we hope that it soon translates into a Council initiative aimed at improving maintenance standards on off road cycle paths, many of which are in poor condition in York.

Less attention has been paid to leisure walking – an option open to virtually everyone.

There has been renewed interest in the use of local Public Rights of Way (PROW) as residents sought to follow daily – social distance – exercising guidelines. The route across Acomb Moor to Acomb Wood became more popular. A local bulletin board has seen several people criticise the farmer who blocked off all entrances to the moor before ploughing it.

Access to Acomb Moor blocked

While the owner is entitled to cultivate his land, he should not have blocked the Foxwood Lane access at least while the current PROW application is being actively considered. We have asked the public rights of way officer to intervene.

More needs to be done to enhance and improve access to the natural environment at least on the west of the City.

The Councils own annual survey of opinion revealed that  44% of panellists thought that the Council was not doing well at improving green spaces.

59% thought that the Council wasn’t doing well at reducing air pollution.

The Council planted 515 trees last year. It had previously claimed that it would plant “50,000 trees by 2023”. It had also promised to expand the City’s strays and introduce more wildflower meadows in an attempt to encourage pollinators.

We understand that a report will be considered by the Council in August which will  set out proposals to acquire land which will enable the creation of a “large new area of woodland in close proximity to the city to provide green amenity space for residents and plant trees that will contribute to the council’s commitment to become net carbon neutral by 2030”.

There has to be balance. The country does need to be more self sufficient in food production, so the retention of good quality agricultural land is also important.

However, the creation of a country park on land near Askham Lane would be a welcome step forward. It has been a vision for several years. It would allow hedgerows to be re-established and PROWs to be maintained in good condition.

It would also provide some compensation for the sports and leisure land lost through recent developments in the area.

 It only now remains to be seen whether Councillors have the drive and determination to deliver on their promises.Tree Walking GIF - Tree Walking Tired - Discover & Share GIFs

Lloyds bank in Acomb still open for business

Lloyds Bank in Front Street

Some good news from Acomb with an announcement that the York Road/Front Street branch of Lloyds bank will remain open “until further notice”.

The bank – the last branch in Acomb – was due to close in June.

The decision may help with post pandemic regeneration efforts in the Front Street commercial area.

We suspect that the closure has only been delayed but the decision is a welcome one nevertheless.