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Adult Education Awards

Adult learners have been praised for their commitment and achievements in York this week, at the first Adult Education Awards ceremony to be held in the city for almost 10-years.

The awards ceremony ties in with the national Adult Learners’ Week (12 -18 May) and saw almost 100 people from across the city celebrate their success throughout the year. Continue reading

20 mph speed limit – the unanswered questions

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The report on proposed City wide 20 mph speed limit has now been published. It can be found here. http://tinyurl.com/York-20-mph

Residents wishing to submit written representations – or who wish to register to speak at the meeting – only have until 12:00 noon on Monday 21 May to do so (Email – laura.bootland@york.gov.uk).

The report confirms an intention to implement a 20 mph speed limit across western York over the next year. Some major roads including Wetherby Road and Tadcaster Road might be excluded from the restriction. Local streets which form the majority of the residential road network will be included in the roll out. All other classifications, A, B and minor roads, which form the more strategic or through routes will generally be excluded.

20 mph signs would be erected at the entrance to each street with repeater signs every 300 metres. The costs of the scheme are put at £500,000 with an extra £100,000 allocated for more traffic calming.

The Council intend to recruit a “20 mph project manager” Continue reading

York Community Stadium plan “go ahead”

This afternoons Planning Commitee meeting has given approval to the application to build a new Community Stadium at Monks Cross. The application was approved by 11 votes to 4.

The development will mainly be funded from the proceeds of a neighbouring development which will see a John Lewis and a Marks & Spencer (homeware) store constructed.

The decision comes after a lenthy 8 hour committee meeting. The scheme attracted support from LibDem and Labour Councillors while Tory and Green representatives opposed the plan.

The plan may still be “called in” by central government for review.

York tennis aces train for Special Olympics

A team of four tennis aces from York have been selected to serve for Great Britain in the 8th German Special Olympics National Games on 21 May 2012.

The four learning disabled players, Laura Campbell, Matthew Wreglesworth, Emma Lindsay and Cameron Long, who train at York Tennis Club, Shipton Road under coach Bev Cairns will compete against German and Swiss tennis teams in singles and mixed doubles. Continue reading

Monks Cross 2

So what are the objections to cross subsidising the new stadium, community facilities and athletics centre (which is to be located on Hull Road) from the profits of a commercial development involving new stores for John Lewis and Marks and Spencer (homeware).

Essentially there are two.

The first relates to traffic generation.
There are fears of increased congestion near Monks Cross even prompting some Labour Councillors to favour charging for shopper parking at Monks Cross to deter car borne access.

The answer to this objection rests in history. In 1997 a traffic study concluded that York would be gridlocked within a decade. Draconian measures to deter car use were advocated by some. Although car parking charges were dramatically increased in the early part of the last decade, traffic patterns did not generally accord with projections. Some residents opted for different transport modes (cycling, public transport) but the main change was in the time of day that people chose to make their journeys. “Rush hours” spread into a 2 hour period. Traffic levels peaked and have been stable in the City for nearly 5 years now. The grid lock has not materialised.

At Monks Cross the same will happen. Drivers do not deliberately head for locations where they face long delays. They choose their journey times carefully. York is unlike many of its competitors in that it is relatively compact. The park and ride journey from Monks Cross to the City centre usually takes less than 15 minutes. Travellers will opt for the quickest way of getting to their destination.

The second concern relates to the business which may be taken from York City centre shops by the magnet effect of the John Lewis and Marks and Spencers stores.

Marks and Spencer has already decided (before the Monks Cross development was floated) to close its Coppergate store. Like it or not, bulky items are more often than not now bought at locations easily accessible by private transport or through the internet. Inevitably this means a reduction in City centre sales.

John Lewis may have considered a City centre location a decade ago when the Coppergate 2 development was a possibility but times have moved on and their commitment is to Monks Cross. If that fails, then he focus of their investment is likely to switch to the new Leeds shopping developments. Continue reading

Labour close Burnholme

The Labour controlled York Council’s “Cabinet” decided to close the Burnholme School last night.

One of the problems of single party “Cabinets” is that decisions often appear to be taken before the meeting starts making it frustrating for any residents who attend the meeting hoping that their representations will influence a vote.

What should happen is that controversial decisions should be called in to a “scrutiny” committee which includes opposition Councillors. A meeting would then be held at which both sides of the argument could be articulated by experienced Councillors before a recommended way forward is decided.

Any recommendation from a scrutiny committee is not binding on the Cabinet but it does ensure an open debate.

Whether that happens – there are a couple of days during which a proposed Cabinet decision can still be called in – may depend on the willingness of the Labour Councillors who represent the area around the Burnholme school to seek to exercise the option.

York Community Stadium Project & Planning

Community Stadium

Thursday sees what could be the final act in a saga which goes back over nearly a decade. In 2003 the York City Football Club came within a few weeks of losing its Bootham Crescent home. Only the hard work of the present Directors of the Club saw it raise an unlikely £2 million loan from the Football Foundation which eventually saw ownership of the ground returned to the Club.

However one proviso was that a new stadium had to be provided within a 10 year timescale.

Whether the Stadium project should have taken until this week, to reach a critical decision time, is open to discussion. But we are where we are now.

Initially the football club led in the search for a suitable site. What became clear though was that the preferred choice of many supporters (Bootham Crescent) was simply not large enough to generate the kind of non match day income that a successful club will be dependant on.

The Council took on a leading role in 2007 and invested in a project team. Continue reading

20 mph speed limit report withheld.

A Council report, which is expected to recommend that a 20 mph speed limit is introduced throughout York, may not be published on the Council’s web site until Thursday.

This gives anyone wishing to make representations, to the decision meeting which is due to take place next Monday, virtually no chance of making their views known.

It is the latest in a series of attempts by the Labour Council to avoid open debate on controversial issues.