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A bridge too near?


First walk across new Scarborough Bridge, York ahead of next month’s opening following £4.4m upgrade

The new bridge is the first over the River Ouse in York city centre for 138 years

Unfortunately it does little for cyclists travelling from, and to, the Leeman Road area who still face an unpleasant journey through the black tunnel of Marble Arch (which lacks a waterproof membrane). It remains a major obstacle to the development of the York Central site.

Scarborough bridge cycle track with train!

The first steps across the new Scarborough Bridge, York, were taken during a site visit today (Tuesday 19 March) to see how the £4.4m scheme to boost access for people travelling by bike or on foot between the train station and the city centre is progressing.

The new bridge has been delivered in partnership by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority through its £60m CityConnect programme aimed at encouraging more people to cycle and walk, City of York Council, and York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership (YNYER EP).  The bridge is due to open to the public next month (April).

Scarborough Bridge has been closed to the public since the end of January to allow for ongoing construction works, including the old footbridge being lifted out by rail crane to make way for the new, wider and more accessible shared use bridge. 

More than 3,000 people crossed the old footbridge daily, despite access issues. 

At 65-metres long the new bridge is three times as wide at 3.7metres, increasing access to more people.  It had to be lifted into place in four separate parts due to its size.     

Improvement works also include step-free access with ramps as well as new external steps leading to the riverside paths.

On the southern side a new path on the top of the embankment will mean people can travel directly between York Station and the new bridge, providing a traffic free scenic route to the city centre.  The new bridge will be accessible even when in flood. 

The original bridge was designed and built by Robert Stephenson in 1845. This first iteration saw the walkway placed between the railway tracks and was accessed by internal steps.

When York Station was moved in 1873-5 the bridge was updated to make it suitable. This is when the old footbridge was installed and, until recently, had remained largely unchanged for the last 144 years.

For more information about the Scarborough Bridge scheme visit www.york.gov.uk/scarboroughbridge

New ‘Local Offer for care leavers’ launched in York

Young people in York who have left care and those preparing to leave care can now find out what help and support they’re eligible for at a glance thanks to the launch of a new ‘Local Offer for care leavers’.

City of York Council has launched the online document to make it easier for young people to access the help they’re entitled to, including a range of support with accommodation, education, training and employment, developing life skills, health, mental health, and relationships.

The local offer highlights the City of York’s aspirations for care leavers and
following changes nationally, care leavers can now access support until they are 25 years of age, compared to 21 previously.

The Local Offer for Care Leavers was written and designed in partnership with members of York’s care leavers’ forum;  ‘I Still Matter’.

Young care leavers from the group, said: “‘We think the Local Offer for Care Leavers is really important because it ensures that care leavers are aware of their rights and entitlements, and gives them the relevant information to be able to create their own futures, whilst knowing where to go for support and advice”.

For more information about the support available visit www.york.gov.uk/LeavingCare or email pathwayteam@york.gov.uk or call 01904 555389

Waste material mountains growing on Lowfield site

The local residents action group has protested about the policy for storing excavated materials on the Lowfield development site. Mountains of waste are gradually growing on the Green Lane boundary.

Residents say they were promised consultation on the strategy for dealing with excavated materials. If they were to be stored on site – in preparation for reuse later in the building phase of the work, then assurances were needed about their short and long term effects on drainage in the area.

Waste materials piled 8 metres high on Lowfields site

Now several neighbouring residents are looking out onto 8 metre high piles of concrete rubble.

Concerns were also recorded about the effect that the work would have on the local ecology.

Verges being damaged

A lorry visiting the site today damaged verges near the site entrance.

This has led to renewed appeals for better advanced notice of deliveries and their likely impact on “on street” parking.

Lincoln Court update

The Councils Executive discussed the planned extension of the Lincoln Court independent living building yesterday. They agreed to progress the scheme and included a requirement for an alternative all weather games area to be provided in the ward.

It will be up to the planning committee at its meeting tomorrow (Wednesday) to include a condition requiring that the new facility is provided before the existing MUGA is demolished.

Windsor House is already being vandalised

It emerged at the meeting that 14 of the remaining 19 tenants have now accepted offers of alternative accommodation. When the remaining 5 will be offered, and accept, a suitable alternative remains in doubt. The adjacent Windsor House building, which is empty, is already suffering vandalism and there is a concern that the whole site could become a magnet for anti social behaviour.

Large delivery lorries are ruining roads in Lowfields. Similar concerns about Ascot Way

The Council is negotiating with the school to allow builders plant to access the site from the school side. There have been major problems getting large items of plant into the Lowfields site where roads are of a similar width to Ascot Way.

It has yet to be confirmed whether an (pedestrian) access will be retained from the school site when the redevelopment has been completed. This is considered to be essential to provide overflow parking capacity given that only 16 spaces are being provided on the Ascot Way frontage.

Large plant on Lowfields site. Working hours planning condition being breached?

Sadly members of the executive failed to probe why the new apartments have been described, in successive Planning Committee reports, as “extra care” units.

No doubt residents will get more clarification tomorrow

“Make it York” reports financial progress

The Make it York organisation, which is partly funded by York taxpayers, is reporting that it has made a £140,714 profit so far this year.  That is £71,900 above budget expectations

They currently have a balance sheet surplus of £330,000

The organisation reports that it had a successful Christmas and claims “continuing strong performance from Shambles Market, City Centre Activities and Visit York Membership”

No detail is provided on the Shambles market performance.

The brief report to a “shareholder “ meeting also says that the “York Pass” initiative has been less successful than hoped.

Looking to the future the report says, “MIY currently runs or facilitates a range of events which animate the public realm and make the city vibrant and interesting for visitors and residents. There is scope though to use the “stage” provided to do, and to facilitate, a great deal more, the ultimate objective being to ensure a daily “wow” factor

York’s biggest jobs fair is back.

Anyone looking for work or wanting support into training or employment are welcome to York Jobs Fair on Wednesday 20 March 2019.

From 10am to 2pm at the York Railway Institute (RI), Queen Street, around 70 employers, training providers and career advisors including John Lewis, Hiscox and Work With York are expected along with some 700 visitors.

Funded and organised by City of York Council in partnership with Job Centre Plus, this free event brings together employers, employment support agencies, and education and training providers to offer local people over 4000 job opportunities, career information and advice.

 

Criminal record checks on York taxi drivers

Council releases latest figures

The York Council is reporting that 917 (93.2%) of York Taxi drivers have successfully completed their Disclosure and Barring (DBS) checks. The checks were introduced to reassure passengers that drivers were “fit and proper” to hold a licence. A committee report goes on to say;

  • “There are 14 (1.4%) drivers with checks in progress with the DBS.
  • There are 22 (2.2%) drivers with whom we are checking ‘positive’ results. Please note that the DBS process flags all previous convictions and other matters which we may already be aware of.
  • Some 18 (1.8%) of drivers have indicated their intention to surrender their licence as they are no longer driving.
  • There are ten (1.0%) drivers who we have been unable to contact or begin the process for good reason (for example because they have a long-term illness) &
  •  three (0.3%) drivers are refusing to co-operate”.

A report to the same meeting – which is taking place tomorrow (Monday) attempts to deal with the issue of UBER drivers operating in York. Last year the Council refused to grant a licence to UBER to operate locally. The issue now concerns UBER drivers, with licences are issued by other authorities,
are still serving the City .

UBER

The report says that the Council is satisfied that having regard to the independent Legal Opinion, the settled legal position remains as follows:

“Provided the three licences required in relation to a private hire vehicle (operator, vehicle and driver) have all been issued by the same authority, then the private hire vehicle (PHV) can undertake journeys anywhere in England and Wales. That is irrespective of where the journey commences, areas through which the journey passes and, ultimately, the area where the journey ends”.

An alternative legal opinion has been provided by local taxi operators.

Pretty much a “BREXIT” style stand off then which only leads to confuse potential customers.

Busy week for the York planning committee

Big planning decisions in York

York Central

York Central

The largest proposal concerns the land to the rear of the railway station. Known as “York Central” redevelopment of the area has been on the cards for nearly two decades. It has finally reached the planning application stage. The report recommends that the plans be forwarded to the Secretary of State for endorsement. The plans have attracted some opposition, but the economic and social welfare of the City depends on making some progress on the site now. Hopefully some of the ill judged ideas such as having only one-way traffic through the Marble Arch tunnel can be changed at a later stage.

Lowfields

‘dozer wrecks playing field

There is already a lot of local disquiet about the way that the Council are implementing their plans for this area. Many of the comments on the “Save Lowfields Playing Field” Facebook page are from disgruntled local residents who, even at this early stage, point to conflicts between lorries and parked cars, muddy roads and the ripping out of trees and hedges.

They are asking that the new parking spaces promised for Tudor Road be constructed before the existing parking lay-by is lost as an access road is constructed.

Yorspace proposed development plan, Lowfields

Further along the road, the Yorspace” application has been heavily criticised by local residents. The main concerns related to the lack of affordable units proposed on the site, the impact on the natural environment including inappropriate boundary treatments, security concerns relating to the adjacent public snicket access to little Tudor Road, the proposal to remove the railings which protect adjacent properties,  inadequate car parking provision  and the impact that overspill parking by residents, families and visitors could have on neighbouring streets and the height of the buildings.

Council officials have revealed that they have approved 5 outstanding conditions, for activities on the building site, despite several objections.

Lincoln Court

Lincoln Court.

The Council has made an embarrassing series of mistakes on the proposal to extend this independent living building. Even now they have published papers which imply (wrongly) that the new apartments  will be classified as “Extra Care” units. It has had plenty of time to clarify that issue.

There is some hope now that the future of the adjacent games area will be secured. Local Councillors are understood to have taken the initiative to discuss moving the facility to the local rugby club ground. If so, that would be a good solution to a problem which has also raised concerns from Sport England, and the resident’s association.

Other applications

All applications are recommended for approval