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Coronavirus York updates; 6th August 2020

Deaths and test results

Although no figures have been published at City level, national statistics indicate that the percentage of people testing positive for coronavirus antibodies is around 6%. This does not include tests undertaken in hospitals or care homes.

The same source says that the number of positive virus test results in Yorkshire rose during the last few days of July.

The overall death toll from COVID-19 in York remains at 169.

There have been no further Hospital deaths in the City today. There has been another positive test result bringing the total to 928

York residents thanked for supporting independent businesses

A recent campaign run by City of York Council with Make It York and Indie York highlighted the lengths the city’s independents are going to create a safe, welcoming experience for customers.

As a part of this initiative, York Kind case studies, which have highlighted how different independent retailers are adapting and responding to the pandemic, have reached over 115,000 people online, with 4,000 people showing their support, by liking or sharing the stories.

Keith Aspden, Council leader, commented:

“It’s been inspiring to see the resilience and compassion with which our communities have responded to the crisis. Our local business community have worked hard to reopen safely, so it’s great to see so many people supporting the creative, independent businesses which make our city so unique.

“By shopping locally not only do we support our small and independent businesses and the staff and suppliers who rely on them, but also directly invest in our local communities at this challenging time.

“As we welcome residents back to the city and our shopping areas, we are continuing to put the safety of residents and visitors at the forefront of our reopening efforts, and by working with businesses across the city we are establishing and promoting social distancing measures. So please do continue to shop local to support our amazing local businesses and remember to stay safe whilst doing so.”

Johnny Hayes, Chair of Indie York:

“It was great to be involved in the #YorkKind campaign, shining a light on the efforts of our members to bring life back to the city and provide the products and experiences which York residents have been missing. We invite people to come and enjoy something to eat in August at our independent restaurants and cafés who are participating the in the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.”

Talking Points offer face-to-face appointments online

A new way for residents to have conversations about how to live their lives independently and well is opening up this week.

Following lockdown in March, Talking Points have been unable to operate. Now, new online video appointments and drop-in sessions are available. Through these, residents can talk with City of York Council’s adult social care team, face-to-face and in a safe but effective way.

As before lockdown, residents can choose to book an appointment with a member of the adult social care team on a given date and time or, they can opt to join a drop-in session and wait for a private conversation.  

As usual, residents will be able to access information, advice and support from adult social care staff as well as find out more about local activities, support and resources.

This new scheme has been successfully trialled with a number of carers who were already familiar with the pre-lockdown Talking Points. It uses a secure system widely used by the NHS called Attend Anywhere. People wanting to use the system, can get familiar with it at https://www.york.gov.uk/VideoAppointments .

The drop-ins will be available on Wednesdays and Thursdays between 10am-12 noon and 2-4pm.They will take place just like the former drop-ins, but people will enter a virtual waiting room via https://www.york.gov.uk/VideoAppointments#dropin . There, they will simply ‘wait’ in the virtual lobby for a contact worker to be free when they can meet them face-to-face online.

People who contact adult social care and for whom a video appointment with a member of the adult social care team would be helpful, will be emailed a date and a time and a weblink to a virtual waiting room. In that waiting room, the resident’s details will be checked to ensure they are the individual who is expected. Once that’s confirmed, they will be invited to join the worker online, and each can see and hear the other. Adult social care workers will continue to be available on the usual number at 01904 555111.

Cllr Carol Runciman, Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care, said: “Feedback from those taking part in the trial is that these online conversations are an easy, convenient and secure way for residents to get the information, advice and support they need.

“Important appointments can be kept online while protecting residents, their carers and families as well as our staff. It also enables people to meet virtually, so that we can give the best possible advice and support for them to lead the lives they want.”

Flooding report – February 2020 wettest on record

£4.9 million cost for pumping station to protect Fordlands Road area.

It cost the City of York council £180,000 to respond to and recover from the floods which took place in the City in February.  This was the wettest February on record, with the most flood warnings issued in any one day across England. Rainfall fell on already saturated ground increasing the impacts.

The Council will consider a report on the problem at a meeting next week.

There is some debate about the apparently conflicting advice issued by local agencies and the information included on government river gauge web sites.

Generally flood defences held well although there were issues in the Fulford/Fordlands Road/Germany Beck area. A separate report on flood prevention plans for that area can be read by clicking here.

The preferred option would include the construction of a £4.9 million pumping station. If funding for the project can be found the work could start on construction next summer.

The meeting will also consider the latest Environment Agency report on its flood prevention works programme

Environment Agency Work Programme 2020

Bootham Crescent redevelopment set for approval

Planning application to be determined on 13th August

Council official are recommending that planning permission be granted to build 93 houses on the site of York City Football Clubs existing stadium. The Club is expected to move to a new stadium at Monks Cross later this year.

Proposed housing layout

The development, which has been in the pipeline for over a decade, will comprise 12 one bed, 33 two bed, 37 three bed and 11 four bed properties. Of these 18 (20%) will be classed as “affordable”.

The plans incorporate a heritage proposal agreed with Historic England which acknowledges the significance of the football ground over the last 90 years.

It consequently incorporates the following elements that will give distinctive character to the development and evidence the site’s past use –

  • A memorial garden and a retained section of the west stand. The retained section of terrace along with evidence of the location of the centre circle within the landscaping will allow for orientation and evidence of the previous layout of the site.
  • The ‘proposed flag location’ annotated on the site plan relates to the flag present at the football ground (in a similar location). Historically the flag was lowered gradually towards the end of the game.
  • The west brick boundary wall, which predates use of the site by the football club will be retained (it will be lowered removing the blockwork).

The report goes on to say,

The retained terrace and tunnel will provide a lasting legacy of the stadium and create a focal point for memory and orientation. The location of the retained terrace and tunnel matches the desired position on the halfway line at the midpoint of the Popular Stand and in front of the POS. The precise length of the section will be determined by conservation, engineering and health and safety considerations but is not expected to exceed 6m.

The preferred location for the memorial garden is around the base of this
structure to provide discreet location for remembrance. The side walls of the terrace could be used to support memorial plaques etc, while caskets and ashes could be buried at the base of the walls. Some existing metal fencing and gates in the Popular Stand could be appropriated to secure the perimeter at the top of the terrace and ends of the tunnel. Similarly, the
wooden picket fence in front of the Popular Stand should be reclaimed to border the memorial garden.

Centre circle

The idea of recreating the centre circle in the middle of the POS is applauded, it would be in alignment with the retained section of terrace and provide a further place for orientation.

Flagpole

The flagpole was originally located between the south-east corner of the pitch and the stadium entrance. It is suggested that the new flagpole is erected as close as possible to this original location, and that it flies a replica of the club flag as a permanent and symbolic reminder of fans’ allegiance to Bootham Crescent. Its proposed location does not exactly match the original position, but it is as near as possible in the proposed layout. Ideally, like the centre circle, it should be slightly further south and east, closer to the new entrance.

Any development will not take place until both the football and Rugby Clubs have moved to the – much delayed – new stadium. Commissioning work there is still apparently held up by the after affects of the pandemic. Social distancing regulations currently make it impossible to stage large scale trial events there, an essential prerequisite for stadium certification.

Details of the planning committee report can be found by clicking here

York Central Partnership welcomes confirmation of £77.1m funding to unlock homes, jobs and public spaces

….as Labour reveal plans to stop the project

Nicksplat Rugrats GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Labour have “called in” the decision to move forward with the York Central development. It casts new doubt on a project which has yet to receive detailed planning permission.

Labour cite post pandemic economic concerns as one of the justifications for shelving the project. They also question the conditions attached to the governments £77 million investment in the plans (see below). They apparently believe that the ambitions of the “House of Lords” have not been accommodated.

Meanwhile, the York Central Partnership has welcomed the government’s confirmation of the £77.1m funding to help to unlock the homes, better paid jobs and community spaces on the brownfield site.

The Minstry of Housing, Communities and Local government has written to the City of York Council to confirm the arrangements for the funding, which will be awarded to Homes England and Network Rail as the major landowners on the site. Under the arrangement, City of York Council will be reimbursed for the money it has committed to keep the project moving.

The funding is a major piece in a £155m funding package put together by the council working with fellow York Central Partnership members Homes England, Network Rail and National Railway Museum to fund the infrastructure works to unlock the brownfield site. The first phase of this work will include the access road bridge and spine road through the site, a pedestrian bridge on Water End and a rail link to the National Railway Museum.

Councillor Keith Aspden, leader of City of York Council, said:

“This is fantastic news for York. Our early investment and continued commitment, even during the pandemic, was essential to secure this investment.

The funding is a vital step to unlocking a £1.16bn boost to our economy, and delivering a new generation of jobs and hundreds of affordable homes, when York needs it most.

The York Central Partnership is delivering where decades of proposals have failed. Our shared vision for an ambitious development which delivers cleaner, greener growth and a fairer economy in York underpins the entire project, and we will keep playing our part to make York Central deliver for the whole city.

It’s also yet another important milestone following outline planning approval last year, funding agreements with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and the York and North Yorkshire LEP.

This is the result of a lot of hard work by the York Central Partnership, and further demonstration of our commitment to an ambitious scheme which will give York the jobs and homes it needs as the outline planning application for York Central includes proposals to build up to 2,500 homes, including affordable homes, and a commercial quarter creating up to 88,000m2 of high quality office space. “

It also includes:

  • pedestrian and cycle route provision into and through the site
  • low levels of parking spaces
  • high sustainable design standards built into the design guide
  • around £15m developer contributions to deliver the sustainable transport infrastructure ensuring more bus passengers, cyclists and pedestrians.

This £155m funding package also includes £23.5m of a total of £37.2m from the West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund and Leeds City Region Growth Deal, which will also fund the ambitious plans to transform the front of the railway station.

The West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund has been part-funded through the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Growth Deal, a £1 billion package of Government funding to drive growth and job creation across the Leeds City Region. The aim is to create around 20,000 new jobs and add £2.4 billion a year to the economy by the mid-2030s.

City of York Council has also received a Local Growth Fund contribution of £6m from York and North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership and agreed to borrow £35m to be repaid using retained business rates from the York Central Enterprise Zone.

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

Coronavirus York updates; 4th August 2020

Deaths and test results

An additional death was recorded in a York Care home on 28th July. It was the first Coronavirus care home fatality since the 14th July and brings the cumulative total to 78. The figures are supplied retrospectively by the Care Quality Commission to the Office of National Statistics (ONS)

The cumulative number of Coronavirus deaths registered in the City now stands at 169. The figures provided by ONS cover the period up to 24th July

There have been no more local hospital fatalities notified today

There have been no additional positive test results

Controversial change to parking arrangements in York

Small car ResPark discount to be scrapped.

Smart EQ fortwo length x width x height

The Council is set to abolish the short car parking discount introduced almost 20 yeas ago. The discount was introduced in order to encourage residents to use smaller cars.

In turn, this freed up more kerb space for other drivers in areas where space is usually at a premium.

Ford Tourneo Custom L2 measures in mm

If the change is agree, users of cars like the Smart (2.7 mtrs long) will pay the same charge as could be levied on Bentley (5.5 mtrs) or mini bus drivers.

There will be a low emission discount although the Council continues to ignore the problems faced by electric vehicle owners who have limited charging options.

As is now usual with the current Council, there has been no consultation on the proposed changes.

There are some less controversial plans which form part of the “Parking Services digital improvements”. These include the introduction of virtual permits and car park cashless payment systems.

Proposals are to be brought to the Executive Member for Transport Decision Session on Tuesday 11 August.

Other changes proposed include:

  • Virtual permits which can be managed by resident via an online portal, with alternative options for customers without internet access;
  • Cashless trial at Marygate car park alongside introduction of the new pay on exit system;
  • Extension of operating hours at Piccadilly car park (until 8pm)in line with the longer opening hours of the footstreets;
  • Renaming of Piccadilly car park to Coppergate Centre car park to provide a better and unique identity to this key Council asset;
  • Update to Traffic Regulation Order for some permits to better represent customer requirements, such as introducing parking permits solutions for guest houses, AirBnBs and other holiday lets;
  • Update Parking discount criteria to make this consistent with other Council Services;
  • Residents paying for parking permits at the council’s Customer Centre will no longer be able to use cash to support the prevention of COVID-19 contamination. The same will apply for Penalty Charge Notices once a solution has been put in place

Proposed changes, if accepted, will go live at the end of the year