Highways repairs – Ward plans published

One of the positive actions taken by the present Council was its decision to delegate to local Ward Councillors a budget to be spent repairing local roads and footpaths.

The Councils main repairs budget – which is inadequate to maintain standards – is focused on the busiest highways.

Some sub-urban roads haven’t been resurfaced for over 60 years.

Against that background, local Councillors have found it increasingly difficult to justify to local residents the growing number of potholes and ruts often found on local roads.

In 2019, they were given a modest “pot” which could be used to address the worst of the complaints.

It has taken a long time for the programme to get going, but now a series of “decisions” on how the funding will be spent are finding their way on to the Councils web site.

It has to be said that the process is largely impenetrable with no central schemes list being updated (and viewable by residents).

The latest list of proposals covers several wards. The investment decisions are likely to be of more interest to local taxpayers than many more high profile issues which seem to exercise the Councils media relations team.

In Westfield, the local Councillors have opted to allocated £20,000 towards the repair of back lanes in the Beaconsfield Street, Milner Street and Gladstone Street area.

They are right to do so.

A resurfacing programme, which was started some 20 years ago, stalled leaving the lanes very uneven and with a patchwork appearance. The lanes are mostly paved with traditional setts. These are very hard wearing but hugely expensive to relay.

We suspect that the available budget will allow only the worst of the uneven stretches of lane to be resurfaced probably using a bitmac overlay.

One other consequence is likely to be that the poor condition of the main highways in the area will become more apparent. School Street has been a particular embarrassment for some years.

Hopefully more funding will be found for the resurfacing of minor roads in future years.

Seasonal issues on the rise

The end of lockdown and the start of the growing season means that some problems become more apparent.

Generally, our estates have been cleaner over the last few months.

But over the last few days litter volumes have increased. In a few days, the annual residents “spring clean” campaign will start, but we hope that residents will make it easier to keep areas tidy by securing any rubbish that they put out for collection.

The warm and wet weather will see rapid growth on grassed areas while hedges and trees will see a similar change.

It is much easier to keep these trimmed back from public footpaths – where they can pose a particular hazard for the partially sighted – if that are maintained on a regular basis.

Footpaths can become obstructed quite quickly during the growing season

What’s on in York: Plant sale on 21st May confirmed

Poppleton Community Railway Nursery will be staging their annual plant sale in the Foxwood Community Centre car park on Friday 21st May.

The event will take place between 10:30am and 1:00pm.

The Foxwood Residents Association will also be running their “everyone a winner” tombola

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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10 The Green Acomb York YO26 5LR

Single storey rear extension following demolition of existing conservatory

Ref. No: 21/00949/FUL 

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90 Tedder Road York YO24 3JF

Demolition of attached garage and replacement with single storey side and rear extension, formation of bay window and canopy porch to front

Ref. No: 21/00884/FUL 

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/

The Council does not routinely consult neighbours by letter when an application is received

No consultation on Acomb Library upgrade plans

We reported a few weeks ago that Council owned land to the rear of Acomb Library – and which had been hijacked for use as a building compound – was now available once again  for its original purpose.

The and had been purchased by the Council over 10 years ago to establish a “one stop shop” for public services as part of a plan to expand the library site. The need for a local Council base became more urgent when the Acomb Housing Office was subsequently closed in 2013.

Nothing much happened on the site until the new Liberal Democrat led Council announced a plan to invest £4 million in the library sites at Acomb and Clifton. That was two years ago. Things once again have fallen silent in the interim.

It appears though, from a progress report being considered by the Council next week, that plans for the site have already been drawn up.

York Council Acomb Library expansion update report April 2021

No public consultation has taken place and the Front Street survey – which ended a few days ago – failed to offer any options for the library site.

The original aspiration was for housing estate managers, the police, the NHS and neighbourhood workers to have a base at the new building. It remains to be seen whether this concept will be pursued.

In the interim the Council has constructed a new small housing office as part of the Lincoln Court redevelopment.

The land to the rear of Chancery Court (not Council owned) would have been landscaped as part of the project.

It was hoped that many more residents would make use of the Front Street facility as a result of the new investment. It would become a natural “hub” for the local community.

Apparently, the early plans for the site have been costed at £3 million. They are currently being scaled back to something “more affordable”.

The recently opened new library at Burnholme cost £4.6 million.

The Council needs to engage with potential users of facilities like these before plans are firmed up.

Spring day in west York

Cherry blossom is making a prefect backdrop as more shops and sporting activities get going again in York’s Westfield neighbourhood.

Sunday morning football leagues are being completed.

This seasons Saturday fixtures in the York and District Football League were abandoned several months ago because of COVID restrictions.

It is anticipated that Rugby League matches – including those involving the local York Acorn side which plays in the NCL Premier Division – will be scheduled and will welcome back some spectators when restrictions are further eased on 17th May.

The Acomb Cricket Club is currently playing with no spectators. They won their fixture yesterday against Driffield. They are scheduled to play an attractive Premier League home fixture against the Yorkshire Academy on 29th May, by which time some restrictions on spectator numbers may have been eased.

Less welcome has been the increase in litter which has been seen since economic activity increased. There has been a rise in the number of volunteer litter pickers helping during the lockdown. Hopefully this effort will continue (although it shouldn’t really be necessary!)

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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61A Gale Lane York YO24 3AD

Non-material amendment to permitted application 20/00494/FULM to add 1no. rooflight to northwest elevation

Ref. No: 21/00878/NONMAT 

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100 Dijon Avenue York YO24 3DD

Single storey side and rear extension

Ref. No: 21/00836/FUL 

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141 York Road Acomb York YO24 4NP

Part two storey, part single storey rear extension

Ref. No: 21/00825/FUL 

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12 Bellhouse Way York YO24 3LL

Erection of 2.4m high fence to side following removal of Conifer hedge

Ref. No: 21/00823/FUL 

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/

The Council does not routinely consult neighbours by letter when an application is received

Road repairs programme for York finally published – mixed news.

The programme of repairs to York’s highways network, that will take place during 2021/22, has finally been published. The programme is usually agreed in February. Work has already started on some of the listed schemes.

There is some mixed news in the report which was approved at a “behind closed doorsmeeting apparently held on 23rd April.

The highways maintenance programme (which includes not just carriageway and footpath repairs but also drainage, street lighting, City Walls, flood alleviation etc,)  is one of the services which most interest residents, the programme has been delegated for officer determination for some years. Thus, the reports are not subject to scrutiny and alternative ways of allocated the budget are not publicly debated.

One key sentence in the report sums up the dilemma faced by the Council.

“Notwithstanding previous levels of investment the current funding levels are not sufficient to keep all our assets in their current condition”.

In effect, the Council has decided to focus resurfacing works on busy roads. Most side roads are being left to crumble.

Some work scheduled for 20/21, including the whole of the micro patching programme in Woodthorpe, has been delayed into the current financial year.

There is some good news.

Several long term problem locations in west York, including parts of Foxwood Lane, Askham Lane near the  A1237 intersection,  The Green, Bradley Lane near Rufforth, the low numbered end of Gale Lane and Thanet Road are scheduled to be resurfaced this year.

But there is no allocation for repairs on School Street and the surrounding area behind the Front Street shops, nor at many other sub-urban locations.

No footpaths in the Westfield area will be resurfaced.

There is no mention in the programme of the repairs needed to off-road cycle track infrastructure nor is there any listing of how the £1 million delegated “ward budgets” will be spent.

 £877,000 of the latter budget, due to be invested last year, is being carried over into the current year. At the very least residents should be given the opportunity to influence how that section of the budget is spent.

All in all its seems that the decline in maintenance standards is set to continue for another year.