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Refuse collection “best Council service”

Street light removal on Front Street has been criticised by residents

We’ve had a big response recently to the “grumble sheets” which are circulated as part of our Focus newsletters.

When asked which were the most satisfactory public services provided in the area, refuse collection came out top.

This was closely followed by the bus service, rather contradicting criticisms made by some in the local media.

Street lighting also polled well although there was a lot of criticism of the Council’s decision to remove, and not replace, the 2 lampposts on Front Street near the junction with the car park entrance.
Residents were least satisfied with snow/ice clearance although this must be a hangover from last year as we have had – so far – one of the mildest winters on record.

Public Service rankings (Westfield ward)
1. Refuse collection
2. Bus service
3. Street lighting
4. Street cleaning
5. Grass cutting
6. Road surfaces
7. Policing
8. Footpath surfaces
9. Tree/hedge maintenance
10. Snow/ice clearance

We also asked residents to list their complaints about services.

The most complained about service was the amount of litter on some roads. In our experience reports of litter problems have been dealt with promptly by the Council.

Potholes in roads and footpaths have seen the biggest rise in complains over the last few months. The Council are rumoured to be considering a big cut in road maintenance activity during the next 12 months, so things may get even worse. It would be a short-sighted policy as potholes left unfilled are subject to greater frost damage – and eventually cost even more to repair.

Biggest number of complaints
1. Litter or detritus
2. Potholes on road or path
3. Overgrown hedges or trees
4. Other (resident specified)
5. Graffiti or vandalism
6. Faulty street lights

Problems with public services can be reported via this web site (see “report a problem” right)

For the over 50’s

York’s first Eng-AGE 50+ Activity Day will take place on Monday 13 February at Energise, Cornlands Road.
Designed to showcase a number of different sports and activities, the event is open to everyone over 50 who is interested finding out more about what is available in York.

Taster sessions on offer will include circuits, aerobics, bowls, table tennis, aquafit, Zumba Gold, pilates, tai chi, badminton, and swimming sessions. There will also be group beginner runs, Nordic walking taster sessions and health walks all setting off from the centre, and specialised classes such as Neurological Pilates and Chair Based Exercise. Participants are able to try as much or as little as they like!

The day celebrates the first anniversary of the launch of City of York Council’s Eng-AGE programme, which aims to encourage people over 50 to become more active and which has seen the introduction of new classes in York in a number of different sessions. It is hoped that this event will give more people the chance to try new activities and discover something which they enjoy and then want to continue every week somewhere in York.

Catriona Sudlow, organiser of the event and City of York Council’s Older Peoples Physical Activity Officer said: “Over the past year since our Eng-AGE programmes were launched we have had a fantastic response to our sport and fitness sessions. People over 50 have enjoyed taking part in activities such as Tai Chi, Zumba Gold and Badminton. We hope that this day will attract and inspire even more people to live active lifestyles and we can show them that there are so many different ways in which they can keep fit and healthy across the city.”

Eng-AGE also promotes the benefits of exercise for people over 50, which can include improved sleep, stronger and more toned muscles and improved posture, co-ordination and balance. Exercise can also help reduce falls and keep individuals happier, healthier and more independent for longer.

The Activity Day opens for registration at 9.30am and finishes at 4pm. Prices are £3 for a half day and £5 all day, which includes a cup of tea or coffee mid morning and mid afternoon.

For more information and to register for the event please contact Catriona Sudlow on 01904 553377 or visit www.york.gov.uk/Eng-AGE

Anyone for tennis?

City of York Council’s Energise sport and leisure facility is serving up a new range of tennis coaching classes to suit all ages and abilities.

Anyone who wants to get fit, lose weight or just have fun is invited to take part in the Cardio Tennis classes.

The sessions are mainly focused on a cardio workout therefore no previous tennis experience is required.
Energise is also offering outdoor junior coaching sessions which are great for developing tennis skills for players in a fun and friendly environment. The classes are suitable for children of all abilities.

All the sessions take place on Saturday morning and are delivered by qualified instructors. Junior lessons £3.50 per week; Adult Cardio lessons £5 per week.

For more information and to book a place contact Matt Ward on info@icanplaytennis.net or 0788 226 7971

Consultation on road layouts for new Park & Ride sites

People who live, work and travel in and around Askham Bar will be able to comment on plans to change the road layout for the new, extended Park & Ride.

Since £22 million government funding was awarded late last year for City of York Council’s Access York project to improve traffic flow and access to the city, detailed designs to support the planning applications granted in 2009/10 have been developed.

As part of the plans, the oversubscribed Askham Bar Park & Ride site will be rebuilt with 1,100 spaces behind the Tesco supermarket off Tadcaster Road. The outline designs of the new access junction south of Sim Balk Lane are ready for local residents, businesses and road users to view and comment on from 30 January until 24 February.

Funding has also been granted for a brand new 600-space Park & Ride site at Poppleton Bar off the A59. The project also includes a proposal to upgrade the A59/A1237 roundabout and provide bus priorities along Boroughbridge Road. These changes aim to reduce delays at the most congested location on the ring road, and to improve bus journey times into the city. Public consultation on the detail of the road layout changes in the A59/A1237 area will start on 6 February and details will be issued shortly.

The Askham Bar Park & Ride proposals can be seen at www.york.gov.uk/askhambar
Responses can be emailed to accessyork@york.gov.uk or posted to Tony Clarke, Transport Programme Manager, City Strategy, City of York Council, FREEPOST (YO 239), York, YO1 7ZZ.

Displays of the designs will be held at Dringhouses Library and at 9, St. Leonard’s Place from 30 January to 24 February during normal opening hours. There will also be a staffed exhibition at the Askham Bar Park & Ride site on Tuesday 7 February from 8am to 7pm.

The proposals will also be presented to the Rural West Ward Committee at Howell Hall, Copmanthorpe on Wednesday 8 February (pre-meeting surgery starts at 6:30pm)

Leaflets describing the proposals will also be distributed to local residents.
All comments on the plans must be received by 24 February 2012.

Vital witness sought in York robbery investigation

Detectives in York are appealing for a vital witness to come forward following a robbery in the city.
A small hatchback drove directly past the scene of the incident and officers believe that the driver of the vehicle will have seen what happened.

At around 2.30am on Friday 27 January 2012 a 32-year-old man from Wirral, Merseyside, was attacked by two men outside Marks & Spencer’s loading bay on Piccadilly.

The men assaulted him in the middle of the road and stole his Blackberry and some cash before running off in the direction of the Travelodge at Postern Gate.

The victim was taken to York District Hospital for treatment to facial injuries sustained during the incident. He has since been discharged.

Officers, who have been reviewing CCTV footage and making enquiries in the area, are appealing for anyone who witnessed the robbery to come forward.

Detective Constable Julie Carter, of York CID, said: “This was a nasty incident which has left the victim with a quite serious facial injury.

“I am appealing to anyone who witnessed the incident itself or was in the Piccadilly area of York around the time of the robbery to contact the police or Crimestoppers with information.

“It is particularly important that the driver of the vehicle who drove past the incident as it happened gets in touch as they may have information which could help the investigation.

Anyone who can help the investigation is urged to contact North Yorkshire Police on 101 – select option 2 – and ask for DC Julie Carter or York CID.

Alternatively, Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111, quoting reference number 12120013679.

Rebecca Taylor to suceed Diana Wallis MEP at European Parliament

Rebecca Taylor

Rebecca Taylor will replace Diana Wallis as one of Yorkshires Liberal Democrat MEPs at the end of the month.

Rebecca Taylor was born and raised in Todmorden, West Yorkshire and went to University in Sheffield and Leeds.

Rebecca is a specialist in EU health and food policy and has worked for health professionals, patient groups and the pharmaceutical industry. “I am passionate about access to healthcare and I believe that EU cooperation in health has the potential to bring great benefits to the Yorkshire & Humber region.”

No tax for those earning less that £10,000 pa

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A fairer tax system, putting money back in the pockets of ordinary people, was demanded by Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg today in a major speech which has already received positive reaction from across the political spectrum.

The centre-piece of the speech was a call for the Coalition to move further and faster on introducing a £10,000 income tax allowance, taking millions more out of income tax completely and saving working people £700 per year on average.

This would be paid for by increasing the amount of tax paid by the very richest and blocking Conservative moves to cut the top tax rate.

Cheap booze not the answer.

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On the face of it the Councils Leaders attempt, to allow more choice for landlords in who they get their beer from, is fairly harmless.

Choice is often an important factor for customers and our pubs have been having a thin time of it during the recession.

The successful ones have diversified. Good food and entertainment are keeping user numbers up.

Publicity stunts involving local personalities staggering round serving pints of beer may also have a role to play.

But cheaper booze could increase the threat to the health of many vulnerable residents.

It also impacts on local taxpayers who often have to pick up the bill for alcohol fuelled disorder and the police and NHS response.

Everyone is a responsible position needs to make their position absolutely clear on the need to limit alcohol consumption to sensible levels.

Large increase in small businesses starting-up in York

According to new figures out this week even more small businesses have started up in York than ever before.

The latest data taken from a national BankSearch survey shows a 9.2 per cent increase on new businesses starting up in the city during 2011 compared with the previous year.

Out of all 15 Local Authorities in the region, York sits among the top three for the largest percentage increase from 2010.

Local Authorities % change from 2010
1.Kirklees 11.4 % more
2.Selby 11.2% more
3.York 9.9% more
4.Calderdale 3.2% more
5.Leeds 2.9% more
6.Craven 2.9% more
7.Ryedale 2.4% more
8.Hambleton 1.8% more
9.East Riding of Yorkshire 1.6 % more
10.Bradford 1.4% more
11.Harrogate unchanged
12.Richmondshire unchanged
13.Barnsley 2.8% fewer
14.Wakefield 2.6% fewer
15.Scarborough 1.2% fewer

Simon Williams, North Yorkshire Regional Chairman for Federation of Small Businesses, said: “Setting up and running a business can be a daunting prospect, and it is a lot of hard work. But it is also one of the most rewarding things that you can do and can be one of the most positive changes someone can make for themselves and the community they live in. We are delighted that so many in York are taking the step. These are the people that we should champion – the Real Life Entrepreneurs”

The total number of businesses starting-up in York in:
2008 = 1,119
2009 = 1,266
2010 = 1,511
2011 = 1,661