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Labour turmoil as experienced Councillor quits

The media has reported today that experienced Councillor Ruth Potter has quit Labours ruling Council Cabinet in York. The decision comes only 6 months after she took up the post and against a background of increased criticism of Labours cavalier attitude towards consultation and expenses.
Labour cabinet members in York have already run up a £3750 bill for travel and hotel expenses in just 5 months.
1. Alexander £1,213.20
2. Gunnell £1,009.20
3. Simpson Laing £596.90
4. Crisp £518.20
5. Looker £295.35
6. Potter £67.50
7. Merrett £25.40
8. Fraser £24.30
• Total £3,750.05

The figure far exceeds anything claimed by leading Councillors over the last 10 years. It includes the now infamous visit to the Britain in Bloom awards ceremony, at the £119 a night St Andrews hotel in Scotland, by not one but 2 Labour Councillors. They were accompanied by 3 officials. Wouldn’t have been so bad if Cllrs Looker and Crisp had actually done anything to support the Britain in Bloom entry but it was all done and dusted by the time they took office.
Biggest individual claim came from Cllr Gunnell who handed over £954.00 of taxpayers money for the privilege of attending “The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy Annual Conference”.
Meanwhile Cllr Alexander has been to roving the country at taxpayers expense. Trips to Leeds, London, Birmingham, Wakefield, Halifax, Durham, Sunderland, Scarborough, Doncaster, Thirsk, Skipton and Huddersfield have added up to an eye watering £1213 bill for taxpayers. He was even accompanied to Lewisham by Cllr Looker as they apparently both needed to see a “mobile phone service for reporting graffiti”.
Meanwhile Cllr Crisp has visited Blackpool twice. Something that leading Councillors from York managed to avoid during the previous 10 years!
NB. Cllr Alexander has defended the claims saying that Cabinet members have sometimes paid travel costs “including international flights” themselves. We await with incredulity details of which international destinations the Cabinet have been visiting….. and why!

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Christmas posting dates

Beat the Christmas rush and make sure you get your Xmas parcels signed, sealed and delivered in time for Christmas day. This means:
.Getting your standard parcels posted by Wednesday 14th December
Your second class and recorded signed items in by Saturday 17th December
Your first class recorded signed for items in by Tuesday 20th December
.
Avoid having a nightmare before Christmas by being organised and using the special delivery service, which offers delivery before Christmas if you post your items by:
.Thursday 22nd December, or
Friday 23rd December with a Saturday guarantee
.
Christmas overseas

For those of you with family or friends on further shores then keep in mind that international delivery in time for Christmas has a tighter schedule! (The reindeer have to travel further, you see):
.Airmail services to South & Central America, Caribbean, Africa, Middle East, Asia, Far East (including Japan), Australia and New Zealand must be made by Monday 5th December
Get your parcels in by Friday 9th December for Eastern Europe, USA and Canada
Get your parcels in by Monday 12th December for Western Europe

Property prices in Westfield York

Property values in the Westfield area are fairly stable at present but it is still possible to buy a bargain

Land Registry recent sales
The table below lists the most recent transactions recorded by Land Registry.
Postcode Address Price
• YO24 3JR Otterwood Lane £157,500
• YO24 3JP Otterwood Lane £185,000
• YO24 3NN Invicta Court £100,000
• YO24 3JB Tedder Road £179,000
• YO24 3LT Foxwood Lane £131,500
• YO24 3FE St Josephs Court, Tedder Road £113,000
• YO24 3LN Bellhouse Way £125,000
• YO24 3HE Askham Grove £330,000
• YO24 2SF Allendale £163,500
• YO24 2XW Helmsdale £165,500

Discounted property for sale
Below are properties for sale where the asking prices have been reduced
Address Type Beds Price Listed On Reduction
• Otterwood Lane Semi-D 3 £157,995 13-07-2011 10%
• Foxwood Lane Flat 2 £105,995 15-08-2011 8%
• Huntsmans Walk Detached 3 £175,000 22-09-2010 12%
• Westfield Place Terrace 3 £157,500 27-07-2011 6%
• St Stephens Road Terrace 3 £130,000 18-05-2011 5%

Other property for sale
The list below shows what is currently on the market for sale
Address Type Beds Price Listed n
• Otterwood Bank 3 £179,950 15-04-2011
• Otterwood Bank Detached 3 £207,500 28-02-2011
• Eaton Court Semi-D 2 £127,500 26-08-2011
• Morrell Court Terrace 4 £134,950 19-05-2011
• Bellhouse Way Detached 4 £199,950 03-09-2011

Property for rent
Address Type Beds Rent (pcm) Listed on
• Slessor Road 3 £695 26-08-2011
• Tedder Road Detached 3 £775 30-09-2011
• Huntsmans Walk Detached 3 £725 04-10-2011
• Cranfield Place Semi-D 3 £675 06-10-2011
• Ryecroft Avenue Detached 3 £795 13-10-2011

Ebooks and York Libraries


With Amazon heavily promoting their new EBook reader (Kindle), we think that the York Library service were right to press on with their download service.

However, at present – unlike in the USA – the Kindle is not one of the supported devices serviced by UK libraries.

A variety of formats can, however, be downloaded to PC and mobile devices. There are two ways to access the service.

If you’ve got an Android phone, an i-phone, or an ipad, you can go to your app store and download the Overdrive app. Using the app is very easy. You’ll need to find York Libraries from a list of libraries all over the world, then you can start downloading e-books and audio-books straight to your device.
The other way to access the service is to use the internet browser on your home computer or mobile device to browse to yorklibraries.lib.overdrive.com.

The web site http://www.york.gov.uk/leisure/Libraries/24hour/elibrary/ gives more details.

We forecast this as a big growth area over the next few years so the Council needs to make sure that it remains on the cutting edge of this new technology.

Shopping in York

In the absence of a Local Development Framework (LDF), individual planning applications in York are judged on their merits. Precedent is important and some weight can been given to emerging planning policies. These include the documents which may support the LDF when it has passed through the Public Inquiry stage next year.
Recently the government has given local authorities more powers to make planning decisions based on local factors.
It is perhaps not surprising then that there is a raft of apparently conflicting advice from consultants on what the effects additional retail sales areas in different parts of the City might have on the “market” as a whole.
Clifton Moor (circa 44,000 sq m net) is one of the largest retail parks in the country. It has the strongest market shares in the more bulky goods categories including ‘furniture, floor coverings and household textiles’, ‘DIY/Decorating’, ‘domestic appliances’ and ‘electrical entertainment’
Monks Cross Shopping Park (circa 27,250 sq m net) dominates in the clothing and footwear category
The Tesco Extra food store in Askham Bar in the largest food store in the City of York with a turnover of around £53.1m.
Professionals divide shopping into 3 categories:
• Convenience – Mainly food and day to day disposables
• Services – cafés and takeaways, banks, dry cleaners, post offices hairdressers etc
• Comparison – electrical, homeware, furniture, gardening, clothes,etc
It is the last category that is currently generating the most debate about development in York. Controversy is focused on the plans for the John Lewis, Marks and Spencer and Community Stadium development at Monks Cross.
The last objective study by Grimleys consultants – was published in 2008 to inform the LDF build process. In 2008, although talks were underway on where a new Community Stadium might be located, neither a site nor a means of funding it had been found. Thus the Grimley study was an objective one and was not tied to a particularly development philosophy.
The report concluded that “in the future growth rates of 1.5-2.5% pa seem likely to be achieved for comparison goods shopping”. They also said that the York City centre is “buoyant” reflecting in relatively high rent prices and a long list of national retailers seeking space in the area”.
York’s main competitors for shoppers are Leeds and Harrogate.
Grimleys estimated by 2012, there would be capacity (spending power) to support an additional 9,245 sq m net of comparison goods floor space, increasing to 31,361 sq m net by 2017, 56,254 sq m net by 2022 and 95,742 sq m net by 2029.
The only significant retail area currently with planning permission is Hungate with a floor space of 4,155 sq m
This compares with the ill fated application by Land Securities early in the last decade for 21,367 sq m at the Coppergate/Piccadilly site (which was later sold to Centros when the planning permission was refused by a government inspector).
The planning application for this key City Centre site had been vigorously opposed by “dark green” campaigners (who opposed any development on the Castle car park which they felt should be grassed over), those who thought the development would spoil the streetscape near Clifford’s Tower and even by some City centre traders who feared that the “focus” of shopping would move (away from the streets where their shops were located).
At Monks Cross, Marks and Spencer want to provide 11,148 sq m of new shopping space (80% comparison). The Coppergate M & S outlet – together with the existing 2 small outlets that they have at Monks Cross – would close. There would be major investment in their highly successful Parliament Street store.
John Lewis, who currently don’t have a store in York, are seeking 9290 sq m. of retails floorspace at Monks Cross
The Planners first choice for development is always city centre sites. There are none of sufficient size to satisfy the needs of M & S and John Lewis, and which are “ready to go”.
Coppergate is still in the planning stage (with a fragile planning history), Hungate is too small and York Central (the land behind the station) is too expensive to develop at present (there are enormous costs in moving existing users, dealing with contamination and providing access infrastructure).
So there is demand for more retail space in the City, the sequential test of location has been met and – critically- the investment funding has been secured.
Either the City wants to seize investment opportunities like this or it will lurch from one period of indecision to the next. The loser will be the shopper and – in the end – the resident and all traders.

PARAPROSDOKIANS

Here is the definition:
“Figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected; frequently used in a humorous situation.”

“Where there’s a will, I want to be in it,” is a type of paraprosdokian.

Here are some more.

1. Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience..

2. The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it’s still on my list.

3. Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

4. If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.

5. We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.

6. War does not determine who is right – only who is left.

7. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

8. Evening news is where they begin with ‘Good Evening,’ and then proceed to tell you why it isn’t.

9. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.

10. A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk, I have a work station.

11. I thought I wanted a career. Turns out I just wanted the monthly cheque.

12. Whenever I fill out an application, in the part that says, ‘In case of emergency, notify:’ I put ‘DOCTOR.’

13. I didn’t say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.

14. Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.

15. Behind every successful man is his woman… behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.

16. A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory.

17. I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn’t work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.

18. You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.

19. Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.

20. There’s a fine line between cuddling and holding someone down so they can’t get away.

21. I used to be indecisive. Now I’m not so sure.

22. You’re never too old to learn something stupid.

23. To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.

24.. Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.

25. Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

26. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

27. A diplomat is someone who tells you to go to hell in such a way that you look forward to the trip.

28. Hospitality is making your guests feel at home, even when you wish they were.

29. I always take life with a grain of salt. Plus a slice of lemon, and a shot of tequila.

30. When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water.

York Wheel back?

York Wheel


Council officials are recommending that planning permission be given to installing a 53 metre diameter observation wheel in front of the Royal York Hotel. It would be in place on a temporary basis until January 2013.
The Wheel was removed from its previous home at the Railway Museum because the operators claimed that low footfall – particularly during the winter months – made it uneconomic.
Plans to put the Wheel in locations at St Georges Field and then, later, to the rear of the Art Gallery came to nothing 12 months ago.
The site at the Royal York is sure to be controversial with fears from some Westgate flat residents that they will be “overlooked”.
However it is the impact on York’s historic walls and streetscape that will cause most concern.

Labours missing thousands

There has been some comment in the media over the last few days about York Labour Council candidates financial links to Labour.
Reproduced below are the amounts admitted by their candidates for election manifesto costs when they submitted their Council election expenses returns in May.
The UNISON invoice for a “donation in kind” (printing the Labour election manifesto) is also reproduced.
The question remaining to be answered is what happened to the rest of the donation if it wasn’t used by their candidates?
We’ll publish next week details of the “declarations of interest” made by Labour Councillors in June.

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Unison invoice for Labour manifesto printing work