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York North West development – transport arrangements published (but hidden from residents)

York North West development site

The Council will be deciding next Monday the location of the new roads and footpaths that will be needed to access the major York North West (YNW) development site (see site plan above). They are also set to endorse a “Transport Masterplan” which will detail the investment needed in infrastructure across the City to accommodate the addition movement of people and vehicles. These proposals will include changes to the A1237.

The Council has not, however, made public the Transport Masterplan leaving residents to draw their own conclusions and making it impossible for them to make representations before the meeting.

However some details of the councils preferred access routes area now clearer.

Establishing appropriate site access is key to the regeneration of the York Central site (the land behind the station). This is due to the site being bounded by live rail lines. It is currently accessible only via Leeman Road.

Public consultation results - York central access options

Previous modelling work indicated that given the scale of development envisaged at York Central, two new all-mode accesses would be required to the site, alongside some use of the existing Leeman Road accesses and new or improved pedestrian and cyclist routes. A new all-mode access should be created from the A59 Poppleton/ Holgate Road (where 4 options were considered) , and a second from Water End (near Millennium Green).

There are two options being looked at further.
• To use Chancery Rise (near the entrance to the former Carriage works) with the road offset away to protect the Cleveland Street play area and nearby homes. Estimated cost is £9.1 million. The junction with Holgate Road would probably incorporate a roundabout.
• To access from the open space at Holgate Business Park. The nearest residential properties are at Renshaw Gardens. Costs have been put at between £7.2 and £22.7 million (!)

A mini roundabout option is being considered for the Water End access junction.

It is likely that the A59 (Poppleton Road) access will be provided first.

The Council looks set to carry out its threat to close Leeman Road near the Marble Arch bridge. The Queen Street bridge could also be demolished at a cost of £5.5 million.

Possible access routes into York Central

Cycle and pedestrian link routes to the British Sugar/Manor School site have also been published.

A pedestrian bridge over the Harrogate railway line to the Business Park and then onto Poppleton Ings will be provided at a cost of around £500,000.

Another route is planned linking the site to the City centre. Costs are put at around £1 million.

So hopes of a discrete transport link along the side of the railway line look to have been abandoned.

Those hoping for a Maglev or Monorail link were always likely to be disappointed, but some form of light rail option did for a time seem more likely. Sadly that now looks a long way off.

British Sugar site - possible access routes (pedestrian)

Industrial action – Wednesday 30 November

This is the information available at 17:30 on Tuesday 30th November. See the Councils web site for updates

Headteachers will advise pupils, parents and carers of the detail of any school closures that are required due to industrial action.

Schools expected to be open:

Primary Schools
• Burton Green Primary School
• Carr Infant School (nursery closed)
• Headlands Primary School
• Ralph Butterfield Primary School
• St. Mary’s CE Primary School
• St Wilfrid’s RC Primary School

Schools planning a partial opening (Parents will be advised of specific details):

Primary Schools
• Badger Hill Primary School (open for Year 2)
• Carr Junior School (open for Year 4)
• Danesgate Community
• Derwent Schools (open for Key Stage 1 only)
• Dunnington Primary School (open for Reception, Years 1,2,5 and 6, closed for Years 3 and 4)
• Heworth CE Primary School (closed for class 1 and class 4, open for classes 2,3 and 5)
• Lakeside Primary (1 class closed in Year 2)
• Our Lady Queen of Martyrs RC Primary School (Open for pupils attending Hamilton Drive site with the exception of Year 3, Windsor Garth site closed to all)
• Poppleton Ousebank Primary School (open for reception, Years 1 and 2) (The nursery and Years 3-6 will be closed)
• Rufforth Primary School (Open for Key Stage 2 only)
• St Barnabas CE Primary School (Year 4/5 class and Year 6 open)
• St. Lawrences CE Primary School (Open for Nursery, Reception, Years1,2 and Year 6)
• Westfield Primary Community School (6 classes closed – final details to be confirmed)
• Woodthorpe Primary School (7 classes open 6 classes closed)
• Wigginton Primary (Class R and Class 45J open all day. Classes 1D and 34PR open for the morning only, Classes 6B and 56Br open for the afternoon only)

Secondary Schools
• Archbishop Holgate’s CE School (Years 12 and 13 open only)
• Danesgate Community
• Fulford School (Year 11 open only)
• Huntington School (Years 7,12 and 13 open only)
• York High School (open for Year 7. Year 11 will be able to go in and do individual study in the library and ICT areas)

Schools expected to be closed:
Primary Schools
• Acomb Primary School
• Archbishop of York’s CE Junior School
• Bishopthorpe Infant School
• Copmanthorpe Primary (but Year 6 residential trip will go ahead)
• Clifton Green Primary School
• Dringhouses Primary School
• Elvington CE Primary School
• Fishergate Primary School
• Haxby Road Primary School
• Hempland Primary School
• Hob Moor Oaks and Hob Moor Primary School
• Knavesmire Primary School
• Lord Deramore’s Primary School
• Osbaldwick Primary School
• Naburn Primary School
• New Earswick Primary School
• Park Grove Primary School
• Poppleton Road Primary School
• Scarcroft Primary School
• Skelton Primary School
• St Aelreds RC Primary School
• St Georges RC Primary School
• St Oswald’s CE Primary School
• St Paul’s CE Primary School
• St Paul’s Nursery
• Stockton on the Forest Primary School
• Tang Hall Primary School
• Wheldrake with Thorganby CE Primary School

Secondary Schools
• All Saints RC School
• Applefields School
• Burnholme Community College
• Canon Lee School
• Manor CE School
• Millthorpe School
• The Joseph Rowntree School

This information is subject to change.

Mobile speed camera locations – Wednesday 30 November and Tuesday 6 December 2011.

North Yorkshire Police will be carrying out mobile safety camera enforcement on the following roads between Wednesday 30 November and Tuesday 6 December 2011.
 A64 east-bound carriageway Bowbridge Farm Tadcaster
 A64 west-bound Carriageway, Bowbridge Farm, Tadcaster
 Ryecroft Avenue, Acomb, York
 Temple Lane, Copmanthorpe, York
 A1036 Tadcaster Road, York
 A1237 Monks Cross, York
 North Lane, Huntington, York
 Strensall Road, Huntington, York
 Ox Carr Lane, Strensall, York
 The Village, Stockton-on-the-Forest, York
 York Road, Haxby, York
 New Lane, Huntington, York
 A64 Malton by-pass Malton east and west-bound
 A64 Seamer by-pass Scarborough
 A64 Seamer Road, Scarborough
 A64 between Whitwell Hill and Barton Hill
 A64 between Barton-le-Willows and Jinnah
 A171 Jugger Howe opposite Springhill Farm
 B1460 Castle Road, Whitby
 A171 south of Scaling Dam
 A169 Whitby to Pickering Road near to Goathland
 A169 Whitby to Pickering Road at High Horcum
 A171 North of Whitby at Kempston Rigg
 A171 Mayfield Road, Whitby
 Stoney Haggs Road, Scarborough, south-bound and towards Seamer Road
 A170 Scarborough to Thirsk Road at Snainton
 B1257 Helmsley – Stokesley, Road Newgate Bank
 A19 Crathorne
 A170 at Scawton Moor
 A170 Eastgate Pickering
 A170 Wilton
 A1039, Filey Road at Flixton
 A1039 Filey Road at Flixton
 B1427 Queen Margarets Road, Scarborough
 B1249 at Staxton Wold near Staxton, Scarborough
 A165 Reighton by-pass between Sands Road and Hunmanby Road
 B1249 Foxholes to County Boundary
The mobile safety cameras will be in operation at the above sites at various times during the dates stated. Cameras will not be in use on the above routes all day, every day. The above locations were accurate when this news release was produced.

Liberal Democrat Danny Alexanders view on Chancellors statement

Today’s Autumn Statement has been delivered in incredibly difficult and uncertain economic times. But as Liberal Democrats, Nick, myself and the Ministerial team have worked hard to ensure the Autumn

Statement as a package of measures remains true to our party’s values and to the commitment we made to the British people when the coalition was founded. Every decision has been informed by our desire to help to people working hard to make ends meet in difficult times and to put the economy on the right course for the long term.

Getting the economic fundamentals right is crucial. Throughout Europe, countries are being held to ransom by their bond markets. Their failure to take firm control of their spending has had catastrophic consequences. But our resolve to pay down the deficit is sheltering households and businesses across the country from the worst impacts of this storm.

Before the General Election, British long term interest rates were roughly equivalent to Spanish and Italian ones. Now they are much lower. It doesn’t just mean the cost of government debt is cheaper, it keeps mortgage rates and business borrowing costs down too.

These benefits of economic credibility have been secured by the Coalition’s firm resolve to tackle the terrible economic legacy left by Labour. Meanwhile, not only has Ed Balls failed to learn from Labour’s past mistakes, he is also ignoring the sobering evidence from the Eurozone. Labour wants to spend more, borrow more and increase debt – just at the point where we see that countries that borrow more end up in a state of crisis.

In tough times, it’s even more important to ensure that every penny of public money is well spent. As Liberal Democrats we have pressed for resources to be prioritised towards offering practical help to those that need it most and towards investing in infrastructure and social mobility to rebalance our economy

Liberal Democrat policy being delivered in Government has already secured income tax cuts for people on low and middle incomes and action to tackle youth unemployment through the Youth Contract announced by Nick last week. The Autumn Statement goes further – offering help with fuel duty, rail fares, and extending care for 2 year olds so it now reaches 40% of children. It has also increased in the bank levy to ensure they continue to pay their fair share.

Most important, the Autumn Statement secures further investment for the long term – delivering an extra £5bn in capital spending on projects across the country, an extra £1bn to the Regional Growth Fund, and a credit easing package of £20bn to secure cheaper access to finance for small businesses.

This is a package we as Liberal Democrats should be proud of – in difficult times for everyone, working together as a coalition we are taking action to protect the British economy from the storm around us and build a better, more sustainable economy in the future

Government “go ahead” for 2 new park and ride sites in York

The Chancellor has given the go ahead today in his Autumn Statement for the 2 new park and ride sites which form part of the Access York congestion busting project.
One site will be at Askham Bar where the existing facility will be replaced by a new car park with double the capacity.
An additional site will be provided on the A59 near Poppleton. This part of the project also involves increasing the size of the A59/A1237 roundabout and is expected to have the same effect, in freeing traffic flows, as a similar recent improvements at the A19 junction.
The Access York programme was started by the Liberal Democrat led council in 2008.

25% reduction in York Museums Grant proposed

Improvements to Castle Museum planned

The transfer of the management of the City’s Museums and Art Gallery to an independent Trust has been one of the success stories of the last 10 years.

Attendances have almost doubled and a major refurbishment of the Yorkshire Museum took place last year.

There are now plans in hand for a major remodelling and expansion of the Art Gallery which could see it closed to the public for over a year. Improvements will extend to include a reshaping of the Museum Gardens to the rear of the building.
The work would be completed in 2015.

Major changes are also scheduled for the Castle Museum.

“Real people” will be introduced into Kirkgate in April 2012.

The second Castle Museum project is to open up the green and riverside areas behind the museum, comprising the medieval Castle, the River Foss and Raindale Mill. This will enable a walk way along the river, a flexible event space, an area promoting wildlife conservation, and the area next to the Mill having a suitable 19th century garden added. Visitors will also have the opportunity to see areas of York Castle that are currently ‘out of bounds’ that will be interpreted. This project will be completed by April 2012.

The third and most ambitious part of the Castle Museum project is to create new gallery spaces across the whole of the first floor of the Debtors Prison. The project is called 1914 and will look at how life changed during the period 1914-1918 due to the impact of the First World War This project will open in spring 2014.

Against that background the Council is now planning to cut their grant to the Museums Trust by 25%.

The Trustees have responded by offering to take a 20% cut recognising the need to be as self sufficient as possible in difficult economic times.

Haymarket car park in York to close

Former ambulance station site at Haymarket. Part of the plot which could be sold on

The Council seem intent on bringing forward the sale of the Hungate site which includes the Haymarket car park.
A council report is recommending that archaeological works be extended prior to the site being put on the open market. The work is expected to cost around £100,000 and will be funded by borrowing.

Officials claim that there have been several enquiries about using the site – which was originally intended to house the new Council HQ – for offices or a hotel.

The asking price for the site if the Council, is to break even will be over £4 million. It is a matter of opinion whether the best consideration for the site is likely to be obtained in what are still difficult economic times.

NB. The Haymarket car park has capacity for 102 vehicles (compared to 145 at Union Terrace). The Council announced at the weekend that it favoured a policy of reducing the number of car parking spaces available in the City centre.

6% – 77% increases in Council charges

77% increase in Guildhall hire cost

One area where the Council is acting promptly is to increase the fees that residents face. Although decisions on major income generators like car parking charges are yet to be made, anyone wanting to borrow a library book which is not available locally will now have to pay £8-50.

• That charge compares to a typical Amazon Ebook download charge of around £3.

• Room hire charges at the Central Library (Marriott Room) will increase to £63 per hour.

• At Acomb Explore Library room charges could be as much as £47.25 per hour

• A 77% increase will take the cost of hiring the Guildhall to £150 for a morning weekday, rising to £170 at weekends. Even 2 hours in a hired committee room wills set back residents £40.

• Research time at the archives will be charged out at £6-00 per ¼ hour.

• It will cost £6-50 to hire a tennis court while bowlers face a 20% hike to £3-00 per hour. A season ticket will be £73-50

• Football pitches will set teams back £89-25p

• A 300 sq yard allotment plot will cost £95-00 a year

• Pavement café owners will pay £550 for a license next year.

• Basic cycle training for a child will cost £16

• Silver tours at the Mansion house rise by an eye watering 18% to £10 per person

One piece of good news is that Dial and Ride tickets are frozen at £1-90 (pass holder £1-00) single and £3-70 (£1-90) return.

York Councils £22 million budget challenge

Public toilets under threat?

It’s about this time of year that the overall budget numbers for the forthcoming financial year become a little clearer.

A Council report suggests that the new Labour administration – which got off to a slow start – is struggling to come up with a balanced budget. Their main problem as been indecision over social care costs – the result, in the main, of increased numbers of elderly people in our City.

The Council budget is also under pressure from inflationary costs such as energy tariffs and it must also find money to deal with the increased costs of waste disposal.

There are some wage costs and a pension deficit (the latter over and above what has prompted some workers to threaten strike action on Wednesday)

Central government is offering £1.8 million to the Authority to avoid what otherwise would be a 2.5% increase in Council Tax levels. Labour are dithering about whether to accept the offer. If they don’t then the money would go elsewhere (although the money would only have the effect of delaying an increase until 2013/14)

The last LibDem Council found over £21 million in savings during the current year. Front line services were protected.

Now Labour need to find economies of £12 million this year. If they follow their counterparts in West Yorkshire they will be considering shutting facilities such as public toilets, children’s centres and libraries while road and building maintenance programmes could be axed.

Time will tell

York Fairness Commission – “Increase Council tax by 6%, stop repairing the roads and don’t let residents have a say on neighbourhood improvements”

Of course the writing was on the wall for this Labour initiative as soon as it was revealed that one of their former Councillors was to chair the “Fairness Commission”. Ruth Redfern is a former Labour MPs aide and most recently was employed by the Labour appointed QUANGO Yorkshire Forward.

Not surprising therefore that the “Commissions” interim report is so predictable and biased.

It may not be quite as bad as the “Beautiful City” report of 2010 which relied almost entirely on anecdotal comment from the usual advocates of bus stations, boat building on the Ouse and river taxis.

But it does fall into the trap of regurgitating the same stats that Councillors have struggled with for over a decade.

York is a relatively wealthy City but some of its residents are less well off than others. That is a fact, although not a particularly surprising one.

So the last council took action.

It maintained and increased the amount of investment that was made in care for the elderly and people with disabilities.

This involved an increase in expenditure in every year since 2003 – without exception.

Innovative projects like the one in Kingsway sought to address those issues faced by communities that were identified by (it has to be said) fairly crude national indicators of “deprivation”.

Deprivation in this case was effectively any neighbourhood (IMO) which had a large number of elderly people dependant on the state pension. The more success that the Council had in ensuring that people received the benefits that they were entitled to, the worse was the “deprivation” score.

But not to worry, there was an issue to be addressed and progress was made.

So now the “Fairness Commission” tells us that in order to focus more money on inequality issues, basic services such as highways maintenance should be cut back while the ward committee improvements budget should be centrally allocated (and to fewer parts of the City).

Not content with this they suggest a 6% increase in Council Tax levels and this at a time when central government is offering the City £1.8 million to freeze tax levels for another year.

That could make a lot of difference to large numbers of people in York who face genuine hardship as a result of higher energy prices and – in some cases – lower real terms income levels.

In the longer term, they are looking to eliminate the subsidy paid to the Theatre Royal and Visit York – the tourism body that helps to sustain 10,000 jobs in the City.

Some of the proposals would require national legislation – they want, for example, to introduce a “tourist tax”.

Some are bizarre – they advocate that the Council should pay staff a “living wage”. Since when were council employees amongst the poorest in society? All benefit from the minimum wage legislation anyway.

They want a “youth card” which would attract retailer discounts ( yet it is already available with YoZone card)

There are recommendations in the report that few would disagree with.

Some, although not original thinking by any means, could attract cross party support. They include proposals to:
• Put benefit advisors where they are most easily accessible to users
• Continue and expand work to reduce the living costs/bills of those in greatest need (e.g. through energy efficiency measures and tackling fuel poverty).
• Ensure economic development strategy and activity focuses on the quality and accessibility as well as the quantity of jobs, and on inclusion as well as growth.
• Deliver a programme of action that tackles barriers to work (e.g. child care).
• Encourage the creation of „green jobs‟ in sustainable industries (already started by the last Council).
• Make training and employment opportunities for young people a priority and radically expand the number of apprenticeships on offer (an initiative announced by the Coalition government last week).
• Work together with and support the voluntary sector more closely and extensively.

But a document that pretends to “help” in a budget setting process and which does not include a single figure indicating the cost of the alternative plan is one that is at best a distraction, or at worst counter-productive to addressing fundamental issues about how public services can be sustained in the future.

The Commission admits to spending over £18,000 directly on coming to their conclusions.