York’s green spaces; going, going…

It is sad to see so many green spaces in the City being gradually eroded.

The reality of planning decisions, taken by the Council over the last few years, are rapidly becoming clearer. The trend is particularly evident in west York where former school playing field have proved to be vulnerable.

It started with the development of the playing field at the former Our Lady’s school site on Windsor Garth. The “Hob Stone” estate took up the whole of the site with no open space retained.

Next was the controversial decision to build on the Lowfields playing field. The decision was made worse when over £400,000, intended to fund alternative sports pitches, was earmarked for a site near Bishopthorpe, which is some 3 miles from Lowfields.

Concrete now dominates the Lowfields school playing field

The Hob Moor playing field has been torn up and is now part of a building site
The Acomb Bowling club and adjacent Council owned land on Front Street is now also a building site

There are alternative brownfield (previously developed) sites in the City. Strangely the local MP over the weekend announced her opposition to building 2500 homes on the land to the rear of the station while planners have omitted the Strensall army camp from Local Development Plans.

There seems to be little reason why a development at the latter could not be restricted to the “built footprint” of the former army buildings. This would still leave large amounts of new public open space. That option is under consideration as part of the latest consultation on the Local Plan

But for west York the outlook remains bleak. The Council is still dilly dallying on proposals to replace the Multi User Games Area on Kingsway West. The existing one is no longer usable as it is no part of a buildng compound.

…and the newly elected Council, despite lofty talk of having a new “stray” in the City, has noticeably failed to put any flesh on the bones of the idea. Prompt action is needed to secure more public open space on the periphery of the City.

Currently there is little sign of any urgency, or even engagement, by the occupants of West Offices.

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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Lincoln Court Ascot Way York YO24 4RA

Proposal      Conditions 4,7,8,16,17,19,20 & 21 of 19/00083/FULM

Reference   AOD/19/00165

NB. Refers to Condition 4 – Boundary Treatments. Proposed Site Plan Condition 7 – Slight amendments to car parking arrangements. Proposed Site Plan Condition 8 – Electric Car Charging Points. Proposed Site Plan Condition 16 & 17 – Bats & Contamination.

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Representations can be made in favour of, or in objection to, any application via the Planning on line 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

Report casts light on life in Acomb since Roman times

An archaeology report, produced as part of the investigations into the bowling club development project on Front Street, has provided a further insight into the history of the village.

The report says that, “in February 2005 On-Site Archaeology carried out an archaeological evaluation on the disused allotments located immediately to the west of the current site. Within one of the evaluation trenches two small pits containing late 1st to mid 3rd century Roman pottery were recorded, cutting into the natural sand. A residual sherd of late 1st to early 2nd century pottery was recovered from a subsoil deposit in one of the other trenches”

The allotments land has now been bulldozed to form a building compound. No mitigation measures have been taken to preserve or record any archaeological remains on that site (which is owned by the York Council).

The report goes on to say, “There is no evidence of occupation during the Anglo-Saxon period although the name ‘Acomb’ is Anglo-Saxon in origin meaning “at the oaks”.

“The mediaeval period is when the village of Acomb took on a known form with the focus of the village being the area between The Green and Front Street. Acomb is listed in the Domesday survey of 1086 as a manor with 14 rent-payers. The Church of St. Stephen is an 1830 construction replacing an earlier 12th century church with possible pre-Conquest origins. Archaeological work has taken place behind 12-26 The Green, which produced evidence for mediaeval domestic activity and possible ploughsoil relating to medieval crofts or garden plots An evaluation carried out by OSA in March 2007 to the rear of 95 Front Street revealed late medieval boundary ditches containing pottery dated to the 15th and 16th centuries”.

The findings of the investigation can be read by clicking here .

A report on contamination on the site can be read by clicking here

Weeds making Front Street shopping area look neglected

Weed growth is becoming a significant problem in many streets in York. None more than in the Front Street shopping area. This is a shame as it would take little effort to tackle the issue. It would be within the capabilities of volunteers.

The neglect brings into question the sincerity of the Council who claim to want to reinvigorate retail areas.

Weeds on Front Street
More neglect

We’ve also reported fly posting on the nearby noticeboard.

Games area being ripped up by contractors

The demolition contractors for the Windsor House/Lincoln Court/Hob Moor school developments have taken over the Multi User Games Area (MUGA) on Kingsway West.

It in no longer accessible for local children.

Councillors have reportedly agreed to it being used as a building compound.

Sections of the fencing around the area have been removed to allow access to a new service road. The entrance used by children has been secured.

While the loss of the play area is not unexpected following a controversial planning decision a few months ago, the failure of the Council to provide updates on when a replacement facility will be provided (and where) is very disappointing. The location favoured by Sports Clubs and local residents, is on the Thanet Road All Weather Sports area near the junction of Gale Lane and Thanet Road.

At one point the Council promised funding for a new facility but all has gone quiet since the LibDems took control of the Council at the beginning of May.

The loss of the sports facility comes in the wake of similar erosion of facilities in the Westfield area with the Lowfields playing field now being developed as is the Acomb Bowling Club.

The Our Lady’s school field was developed about 3 years ago.

Support for the provision of more public open space – possibly in the form of new strays – on the outskirts of the City is growing.

New access road constructed across Hob Moor school playing field
MUGA entrance sealed
Access road into site compound

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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Acomb Bowling Club Front Street York YO24 3BZ

Conditions 3,4,5,6,8,9,& 19 of 18/00586/FULM 

Ref. No: AOD/19/00169 

Relates to signed acceptance form; Phase 2 Site investigation report on archaeology; a Site Archaeology Ltd survey report on the significance of existing buildings, a contamination report and a highways dilapidations report.

The developers have discharged a condition requiring a record to be kept of the buildings that were on the site together with their history. A separate report charts the development of Acomb since Roman times. No reference is made to the controversial work taking place on the adjacent “old allotments” site, which is under investigation by planning enforcement officials

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Hob Moor Community Primary School Green Lane Acomb York YO24 4PS

Conditions 3,6,7,8,8a,8b,12,13,14 and 15 of 18/01475/GRG3 

Ref. No: AOD/19/00168 

Relates to archaeology

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23 Otterwood Lane York YO24 3JP

Single storey side extension 

Ref. No: 19/00889/FUL 

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Representations can be made in favour of, or in objection to, any application via the Planning on line 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

Windsor House demolition plan falls at first hurdle

Residents warned the York Council that local roads in the Ascot Way/Kingsway West area were too narrow to accommodate heavy construction traffic.
Windsor House construction site

Despite these warnings, the planning committee approved plans for the demolition of Windsor House but failed to specify any highway improvements.

The foolishness of that decision was highlighted on Friday when two very large trucks made their way from the site onto Kingsway West.

They failed to observe the agreed one-way system forcing other vehicles to mount the footpath and verge.

The traffic plan – regarded by many residents as inadequate – was published on 8th May. (Click here to read).

It was clear yesterday that it will be impossible for construction traffic and other larger vehicles, like buses, to pass each other on the twisting roads.

Several other conditions were imposed on activities on the site (click here). Most have still to be implemented.

Car parking is now at an even greater premium with whole of the Windsor House/Lincoln Court site cordoned off.

The problems have arisen only a few days before residents will be given an opportunity to quiz contractors on their plans.

The “drop in” meeting will take place at the Hob Moor School Children’s Centre (Green Lane) at 3:30pm on Wednesday 5th June.

There is still no news on the Council’s plans to provide an alternative play facility to replace the Multi User Games Area which will be lost when construction work starts. It had been hoped that by now, permission would have been granted for a new pitch to be provided on the nearby Thanet Road Sports Area.

There is also a major question mark about the costs of the “Centre of Excellence for Disabled Children” which will be constructed on the Windsor House site. A Council meeting on 18th June (click) will hear that additional funds are required to sustain the project.

One way system odged on 28th May 2019
Meeting on Wednesday