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Just when you thought is was safe to go outside again

Local Plan consultation booklet set to hit doormats over next 10 days


York residents are being urged to look out for a special booklet landing on doormats over the next 10 days.

Its yet another “consultation” on the Local Plan.

There have already been at least 7 separate opportunities for residents to comment over the last 5 years. The most recent came latest summer. Not surprisingly the response rate to each consultation has gradually reduced and consultation fatigue has set in. The lack of response to objections  – mostly dismissed off hand by Council officials – means that the latest booklet may be ignored by many.

Yet in many ways it is the most important, as the comments will go to an independent inspector who will hold an “examination in public”. This is a kind of Public Inquiry.  It is the only chance that residents get to present their case to an experienced official who should balance arguments objectively.

The booklet explains how residents can tell the government what they like and dislike about the city’s proposed Local Plan – the document which determines how the city develops over the next 15 years and beyond.

The Council has spent over £12 million during the last 15 years on drafting the Local Plan. Despite this the Plan has yet to be adopted as policy.

The ‘York’s Local Plan – how to make your comments to government’ – booklets are being distributed ahead of a consultation running from Wednesday 21 February until midnight on Wednesday 4 April.

The city is required to have a Local Plan to support York’s economic growth and determine how the city changes, including where new homes and jobs are created.

Residents’ views from two recent city-wide consultations in 2016 and 2017 have helped to shape the final proposals. The council is stressing that this final consultation is different.

The results of this consultation will be submitted directly to the government ahead of an Examination by a planning inspector.

The booklets will be delivered to every household in the city alongside – but not inside – another local publication.

If you haven’t received your household’s copy by Monday 26 February, please request one through or call 01904 552255.

The axe man cometh

The Council has now appointed a contractor who will lop trees in the Council owned section of Acomb Wood (to the rear of Osprey Close/Hawkshead Close/Pheasant Way).
Residents met with Councillors and officials late last year and tagged the (mainly self seeded) saplings which needed to be removed.
The work should benefit the remaining trees and reduce problems with overhanging branches.
The contractor hopes to start work during the fortnight commencing 8th March. The work should take about 6 days to complete, subject to weather conditions. The timetable avoids the bird nesting season.

Elsewhere, on little Green Lane, the same contractor will lop dead branches from trees. Residents met with Councillors at a site meeting in September and discussed what work needed to be done to the trees.

The work should benefit the trees and should also reduce problems with overhanging branches. The work should take about a week to complete, subject to weather conditions.



York blue badge cheat fined £478

City of York Council has  prosecuted a second individual for blue badge misuse who was directly identified from a council campaign.

Council civil enforcement officers and Veritau – the company that investigates fraud on behalf of the council – offered a two-week amnesty in July for the return of expired badges without question or fear of legal action being taken.

Once the amnesty passed, proactive ‘enforcement patrols’ were carried out across York in August and November. Enforcement officers and investigators checked badges on display to confirm that they were still valid, that the badge holder was present and using the badge. Where misuse was found, penalty charges were issued as well as criminal investigations instigated.

During the course of Veritau’s investigation Mr Balsham was interviewed under caution. He admitted that his mother, the badge holder, had not been with him and that he knew he could only park on double yellow lines if the badge holder was with him. Mr Balsham stated he parked on Blake Street because he was visiting a nearby tea room.

Mr Balsham had also made two appeals to his parking ticket which had implied his mother had been with him when it was given.

The investigation concluded with Mr Balsham pleading guilty to all charges at York Magistrates Court on 13 February 2018. The court gave him a fine of £40 and he ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £30 and court costs of £408.


A blue badge should be handed back to the council if:

· It has expired

  • · The badge holder is no longer eligible to use one
  • · It is a replacement for a badge lost or stolen and the original has since been found
  • · The badge is so damaged or faded that the details are not clear
  • · The badge holder has died.

So, who will win the Holgate by election tomorrow?

Blocked gullies have been reported in the Holgate area

It would probably be true to say that the Council by election taking place in the Holgate ward tomorrow – following the resignation of local Labour Councillor Sonja Crisp – has failed to excite much interest in the City. The election result will make no practical difference to the balance of power on the York Council and “all out” elections are little more than a year away.

So local issues have understandably preoccupied local campaigners.

Labour will be delighted to see the chaos that has descended on the Tory party leadership at both local and national level. The publicity has diverted attention away from the fact that 3 of the 15 Labour Councillors elected in 2015 have subsequently resigned. 30% is an unprecedented rate of attrition.

The Conservatives disappointed many observers by quietly dropping their colourful, and Portuguese born, Holgate spokesman preferring a youthful former University student instead. He is the only candidate who doesn’t claim to be local to Holgate.

Good work by the LibDem team saw flooding reduced at the the Holly Bank Grove access to Hob Moor

Labour’s Kallum Taylor struggles with an unfortunate legacy. Labour’s current team of 3 Councillors have hardly set the ward on fire with their actions. Chunks of money delegated to be spent in the area remain in the Council’s coffers while, in the absence of regular inspections of public service standards, parts of the ward now look distinctly run down. Taylor blundered by claiming “I use the same services, shops and streets as everyone else in Holgate, and am affected by the same local problems”. He’s only been living in the ward for a few weeks since moving into the area from Fulford Road. That may mean that the cashiers at Iceland and Aldi will be seekingr counselling, but it did look like an opportunistic comment.

Had he said that he had moved into the ward so that he could monitor the standard of public services in the area each day, then he would have had more credibility.

Still, he is apparently the goalkeeper for Poppleton football club – skills that may come in handy when trying to avoid own goals from the John – “run railways via a worker cooperative” – McDonnell section of his party.

In most elections, since Local Government reorganisation, the battle for Holgate has been between Labour and the LibDems. This pattern was interrupted in 2015 when local and parliamentary elections took place on the same day. National issues were uppermost in people’s minds. This also led to a much higher turnout at 66%.

Given the time of year, a turnout of little more than half that percentage can be expected to vote tomorrow.

Labour have been criticised for not opposing the closure of Acomb Police Station

Perennial Green Party Candidate Andreas Heinemeyer, makes up the quartet of hopefuls. His previous election attempts have so far failed to induce exhaustion in those employed to count the votes

The LibDem candidate is the only woman in the field. With emancipation reaching its centenary this month, it would be fitting if Emma Keef saw off the boy’s club.

She is likely to win or lose based on the effectiveness of her campaign in the Lindsey Avenue and Leeman Road areas. The previous LibDem win in 2003 owed a lot to the votes of Council tenants and those living in the terraced areas

Emma Keef will at least expect to raise the LibDem vote back to its usual level of about 30%.  With Labour hoping for 40%, the difference may be down to tactical voting and differential turnouts.

The result should be known at about 11:00pm

What’s on in York: JORVIK Viking Festival @ York Minster

Feb _17Minster

The Minster :

Thu 15 Feb :

10.00am – 3.00pm :

£2.50 with standard admission.

Make your own Viking-style decoration to take home in the stunning surroundings of the Chapter House inside York Minster.

Inspired by the Anglo-Scandinavian stone carvings in our Undercroft Museum, your keepsake will help you look the part throughout a fun and educational week in York!

Need some more inspiration? You can also meet the Vikings right here too! Handle authentic and replica Viking artefacts, learn how to play a Viking board game, and discover more about the mystery that is York Minster during the Viking period from our resident ‘Vikings’.

£2.50 per child for craft activity, with standard admission.

Admission ticket lasts for 12 months. Family 12-month ticket from £10 (valid for up to 4 children visiting the Minster with 1 adult). FREE admission to Minster for York residents with proof of residency (York Card, DVLA License, utility bill).

Macbeth, the North, and 1066 with Justin Hill

Feb _16Justin Hill

York Explore Library :

Fri 16 Feb :

3.30pm – 5.00pm :

Adult £6.50 Conc. £5.50

The events of 1066 are often seen through the prism of what happened in the south of England.

However, the events that lead to the Norman Conquest happened here, in the North, in the struggle between the real-life historical figures of Duncan, Macbeth and Earl Siward. In an illustrated talk, bestselling author Justin Hill recounts this little-known story, which is just as bloody and compelling as the Shakespearean play.

To book ticket please click here.

For more information please visit The Jorvik Viking Festival website.

What’s on in York: The Queens of the Conquest, with Joanna Courtney

Feb _16 Queens Of The Conquest

York Explore Library :

Fri 16 Feb :

10.00am – 11.30am :

Adult £6.50 Conc. £5.50

Think you know the story of 1066? Think again….

Joanna Courtney’s ‘Queens of the Conquest’ series explores the lives of Edyth of Mercia, Elizaveta of Kiev and Mathilda of Flanders in their own quests to promote their homeland, support their husbands and, ultimately, to become Queen of England.

Explore the events leading up to the end of Anglo-Saxon England from a female perspective with Joanna at this special and intriguing talk.

To book ticket please click here.

For more information please visit The Jorvik Viking Festival website.

Could an apprentice help your business grow?

City of York Council is calling on businesses in the area to find out how the new funding for apprenticeship training could help their business up skill existing staff or hire new staff ahead of National Apprenticeship week running from 5-9 March.

Employers from across the city will be showcasing high quality apprenticeship vacancies at York’s ninth apprenticeship recruitment event, organised by the council-led York Apprenticeship Hub.

The event on Thursday 8 March will see over 400 young people meet with recruiting employers and existing apprentices to find out information about alternative routes through Level 3 qualifications and university.

Cllr Keith Orrell, Interim Executive Member for Economic Development and Community Engagement, said: “If your business is looking into apprenticeships, or you are not sure what the apprenticeship reforms or apprenticeship levy means for your business, then this event can help your business find out more. Our apprenticeships team will be on hand to help with any queries.”

Over 100 apprenticeship vacancies will be promoted covering business and finance, construction, retail, hospitality, digital & IT, engineering, law, childcare & intelligence. Exhibiting employers include: Nestlé, PureNet, City of York Council, the Armed Services, Fera Science Ltd, Network Rail and many more.

To either meet with training providers or someone independent from the council-led York Apprenticeship Hub team, or to exhibit your apprenticeship vacancies at the event, please contact the apprenticeship team on or 01904 553732.