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Dithering on Cornlands Park security

One of the park entrances which could have been locked at night

The developers of the new bungalows on Cornlands Road have made £7452 available which could be used to secure the adjacent Cornlands Road park at night. The plan to improve security was a Liberal Democrat initiative and dates back to 2009 when anti social behaviour levels peaked.
Public consultation, undertaken by the Council in February, revealed 90% of local residents favoured the scheme which would also have involved providing railings round the outside of the park.
Later there may have been improvements to the park itself including new play equipment.
Originally it had been proposed to divert the public right of way which crosses the park but council officials favoured using a “gating order” instead saying that it would have the same effect.
Now the Council is backtracking on its promise, with the new Labour Councillors for the area dithering on dealing with anti social behaviour issues.

More deaths or spend an extra 2 minutes on a journey?

The York Council has a good track record over recent years in reducing the numbers killed or seriously injured on our roads.

Road accidents in York click to enlarge

Recent decisions though suggest that someone has taken their eye off the ball.
The foolishness of devoting up to £1 million on signing a citywide 20 mph speed limit has already been highlighted.
But a recent Council report, which looked into the implications for reintroducing a left turn, general traffic lane at the Water End/Clifton Green junction, revealed no serious accidents had taken place on or near there since the cycle path was introduced.
Yet the Council has decided to consult on spending at least £15,000 changing this safe layout into one where accidents are – on the basis of professional advice – more likely to happen.
It is an example of a political party pandering to popular sentiment in order to get cheap votes ………….and then lacking the courage to admit they were wrong.
Although there are delays at this junction at peak times, they have reduced since additional capacity was provided at the A19 ring road junction a few months ago. More relief will come when the A59 junction is improved.
For much of the day Clifton Green has free flow traffic conditions and some further refinement of traffic light sequences, particularly on Saturdays, could bring about more improvement.
But surely there is no case for digging up the road again.

Clifton Green

Westfield Security patrols scrapped

Labour have blocked the appointment of a new Community Ranger patrol contractor. After 10 years the mobile security patrols have disappeared from Westfield’s Streets.
Residents are not even being given the opportunity to vote for the continuation of the patrols as the option does not appear on this years Ward Committee ballot paper which was delivered to householders a couple of weeks ago.(Instead there are a plethora of applications for grants to organisations many of which don’t even have a presence in the area).
Time and time again security and action to reduce crime levels have topped residents priority lists. The resulting action – including the Ranger patrols – has been a drop in crime to record low levels.
Now that progress is being put in jeopardy as Westfield is dragged down to the same level as Wards like Heworth where patrols were scrapped, by the Councillors there, a few years ago.
The last Ranger contractor went into administration at the beginning of the year and Council officials were asked to find a local replacement. The main duty of the Rangers – who patrolled the area in vehicles fitted with mobile CCTV cameras – was to secure vulnerable locations such as playgrounds at nightfall. Many of these areas are now being left open with vandalism and late night noise a growing issue.
This is a very short sighted policy and it is little short of outrageous that residents are being denied the chance to vote for continuation of the patrols. Sadly it appears to be another example of the current regimes indifference to residents views.

Westfield security patrols being launched in 2001

American Courts

These are from a book called Disorder in the American Courts, and are things people actually said in court, word for word, taken down and now published by court reporters that had the torment of staying calm while these exchanges were actually taking place.

ATTORNEY: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning?
WITNESS: He said , ‘Where am I, Cathy?’
ATTORNEY: And why did that upset you?
WITNESS: My name is Susan!

ATTORNEY: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
WITNESS: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.

ATTORNEY: Are you sexually active?
WITNESS: No , I just lie there.

ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis , does it affect your memory at all?
ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
WITNESS: I forget..
ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?

ATTORNEY: Do you know if your daughter has ever been involved in voodoo?
WITNESS: We both do.
WITNESS: We do..
WITNESS: Yes , voodoo.

ATTORNEY: Now doctor , isn’t it true that when a person dies in his sleep ,he doesn’t know about it until the next morning?
WITNESS: Did you actually pass the bar exam?

ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the 20-year-old, how old is he?
WITNESS: He’s 20, much like your IQ.

ATTORNEY: Were you present when your picture was taken?
WITNESS: Are you shitting me?

ATTORNEY: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
ATTORNEY: And what were you doing at that time?
WITNESS: Getting laid.

ATTORNEY: She had three children , right?
ATTORNEY: How many were boys?
ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?
WITNESS: Your Honor, I think I need a different attorney. Can I get a new attorney?

ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?
WITNESS: By death..
ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?
WITNESS: Take a guess.

ATTORNEY: Can you describe the individual?
WITNESS: He was about medium height and had a beard
ATTORNEY: Was this a male or a female?
WITNESS: Unless the Circus was in town I’m going with male.

ATTORNEY: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?
WITNESS: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.

ATTORNEY: Doctor , how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?
WITNESS: All of them.. The live ones put up too much of a fight.

ATTORNEY: ALL your responses MUST be oral , OK? What school did you go to?

ATTORNEY: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
WITNESS: The autopsy started around 8:30 PM
ATTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?
WITNESS: If not, he was by the time I finished.

ATTORNEY: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?
WITNESS: Are you qualified to ask that question?

And last:
ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?
ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law.

Home truths

A recent Shelter report on house rental levels, which suggested that prices in York were the highest in the region, has been seized upon by some Labour spokespeople as a rod with which to beat the government.
In reality they are trying to draw attention away from their threadbare local polices on housing.
They inherited from the last LibDem administration a level of homelessness in the City which was much improved from 2003. The provision of additional social housing units, including the first new Councils homes to be built in the city for 20 years, had played a part in dealing with this serious issue

Homeless figures for York. click to enlarge

The current controversy centres around the rent levels charged by private landlords. These have been restrained for several years by the maximum level of Housing Benefit (Local Housing Allowance) that can be paid. The maximum subsidy payable by the government is limited with the precise level dependant on local market conditions.
In 2010 the new Coalition government indicated that there would be a ceiling put on the maximum allowance payable for a property. The weekly maxima were:
• £250 a week for a one bedroom property (including shared accommodation)
• £290 a week for a two bedroom property
• £340 a week for a three bedroom property
• £400 a week for a four bedroom property
Average rent levels in York fall far below these limits. The government (correctly) argued that taxpayers should not have to, in effect, subsidise private landowners who could be raking in huge profits by exploiting local housing shortages.
For many years, there has been a maximum that the government would pay depending on family circumstances. Taking as an example a couple with 2 children who would be entitled to claim for a 3 bedroomed house. The maximum entitlement in York would be 137.31 per week. This is the same as in the Leeds area while the neighbouring Harrogate area is higher at £155.77 a week. Few families qualify for the full allowance.
The allowance is set by sampling the rent levels in the area. 655 rents levels were sampled in York. Prices ranged from around £100 to £200 per week. The rent levels were slightly higher in Harrogate.
There may be a case for updating these figures although professionals say there has been little change in rent levels for most types of properties in most areas of the City over the last couple of years. One exception is for properties near the Universities where rent levels of £90 per week for a single room in a shared house have been reported (a rip off which does require some action by local MPs)
A claim is being made is that York rental levels are now comparable with those found in London. This is nonsense with average rents in much of the capital being over £300 a week for 3 bedroomed properties. However rent levels in York now seem to be on a par with Harrogate.
In York at the moment the cheapest 3 bedroomed house available to rent is advertised at £156 per week (a house in Nursery Drive). So a family with a (very) low income would have to find £20 a week to rent this property.
In Harrogate a 3 bedroomed terraced house is advertised with a similar £156 price tag.
The real solution to the housing problems faced by those on low incomes is to increase the supply of social housing. Over 200 additional homes for rent were provided by the Council and Housing Associations in the City last year.
Typically the weekly rent on a 3 bedroomed Council House these days in York is around £80.
All Council homes had been modernised by the time that the Liberal Democrats left office locally in May.
NB. Brand new 2 bedroomed bungalows on Cornlands Road are available for private rent for £650 a month.

New bungalows to rent on Cornlands Road

It must be true…it was in the newspaper

Commenting on a complaint from a Mr. Arthur Purdey about a large gas bill, a spokesman for North West Gas said, “We agree it was rather high for the time of year. It’s entirely possible Mr. Purdey has been charged for the gas used up during the explosion that destroyed his house.”
(The Daily Telegraph)

Irish police are being handicapped in a search for a stolen van, because they cannot issue a description. It’s a Special Branch vehicle and they don’t want the public to know what it looks like.
(The Guardian)

A young girl who was blown out to sea on a set of inflatable teeth was rescued by a man on an inflatable lobster. A coast guard spokesman commented, “This sort of thing is all too common”.
(The Times)

Mrs. Irene Graham of Thorpe Avenue, Boscombe, delighted the audience with her reminiscence of the German prisoner of war who was sent each week to do her garden. He was repatriated at the end of 1945, she recalled. “He’d always seemed a nice friendly chap, but when the crocuses came up in the middle of our lawn in February 1946, they spelt out ‘Heil Hitler.'”
(Bournemouth Evening Echo)

Labour Councillor in address muddle?

I see that Joe Riches is still claiming on the local Labour web site that he lives in his Holgate Ward in Stamford Street. A few weeks ago he rang me to say that he had moved into the Westfield Ward. Seems that he doesn’t intend to tell his colleagues about the change?
& thanks to the anonymous resident who tipped us off about the Labour Councillor who apparently appeared on the electoral register at two different addresses (in different wards) in April. This is being investigated.

click to enlarge

Acomb Green sports sessions announced

Free multi-sport sessions will be kicking off Friday 28 October, 10am to 12noon on Acomb Green.The fun sessions encourage young people who aren’t usually very active to jump in and have fun. Sessions are free of charge for young people aged five to 18 years. All children under eight must be accompanied by an adult. No booking is required and all abilities are welcome