Acomb War Memorial restoration – deadline looms

Acomb War Memorial – Civic Trust notice

According to the York Civic Trust, restoration of the stonework on the Acomb War Memorial should be completed next week.

They promise, in a poster attached to the (ugly) security barriers which currently protect the monument, that their work will be completed “before the middle of October”.

They promise that a remembrance ceremony will take place on 11th November – the 100 year anniversary of the end of the First World War. St Stephen’s Church confirm that they will be holding a service of remembrance, part of which will be held at the Acomb War Memorial on 11th November.

Progress on other commemorative work in the memorial gardens has been slow.

The Westfield Ward Committee promised to fund the provision of a path, from the entrance to the memorial, in an attempt to make access for disabled people and wheelchair users easier. The work has not yet started.

The Ward Committee also promised to fund “crown thinning” of some of the trees on the site in an attempt to encourage flower growth. Reducing the amount of vegetation would also have the effect of improving visibility into the gardens, making anti social behaviour less likely.

The Council sign – which prohibits alcohol consumption on The Green – is only just coming back into view as the leaves fall.

Sadly the rotten fence posts which were left in the gardens a few weeks ago are still there despite being reported to the council for removal.

So a lot still to do.

Dumped rotten fencing in memorial garden

Well camouflaged alcohol prohibition notice

York Remembers: Tommy statue supports Armed Forces and mental health charities

York is supporting the national ‘there but not there’ appeal to raise £15 million for Armed Forces and mental health charities with its own tommy statue.

In Westfield, Councillors have been consulting on installing a “Tommy” figure (on a temporary basis) next to the War Memorial on Acomb Green.

The tommy art installation has seen silhouettes of First World War ‘tommy’ soliders appearing at locations across the country, including at the Tower of London and on the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.

The installations are a poignant reminder of the 888,246 British and Commonwealth soldiers – 1447 men and women from York – who died and of those who survived but suffered physical and mental scars. The silhouettes will tour the nation until Armistice Day to raise funds for a new charity called Remembered.

York’s tommy statue has been placed outside the customer entrance to West Offices, Station Rise.

The statue is part of York’s commemorations to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War. The city will host over 70 events, projects and exhibitions as part of a programme of events called York Remembers: lifting the shadow of the First World War.

The official programme for York remembers: Lifting the shadow of the First World War is available online at www.york.gov.uk/WW1Commemorations

The money raised from the tommy statues will be shared evenly between The Royal Foundation: Heads Together, Walking With The Wounded, Combat Stress, Help for Heroes: Hidden Wounds, The Commonwealth War Graves Foundation and Project Equinox: Housing Veterans.

For more information on the there but not there campaign visit www.therebutnotthere.org.uk/

In Westfield residents have giving their views on how the Acomb War Memorial gardenson The Green could be improved.  

Work is progressing on repairing the stonework on the Acomb War Memorial itself. The work, being undertaken by the Civic Trust, is expected to be completed by 11th November.

In a survey local Councillors asked what other improvements might be made.

The most popular suggestion was the provision of an interpretation board. This will be pursued if a sponsor comes forward. The cost would be around £1500.

The second most popular suggestion was the extension of the paving to form a path to the memorial from the entrance. At the moment access for wheelchair users is awkward.

Also popular was a proposal to crown thin the trees on the site. This would allow more sunlight into the garden and prompt more flower growth.

Both these suggestions are being followed up with the intention of the work being funded by the ward committee.

Tow other suggestions are under review.  The WW1 Centenary “Tommy” figure  (a silhouette of a soldier on perspex being promoted by the Royal British Legion) was intended only for a temporary display to mark the end of WW1.

Provision of a centenary seat attracted concerns from some residents who thought that it might become focal point for anti social behaviour.

 

Crooked Brewers seek licence on Acomb Green

The licensing application for a new pub on Acomb Green will be heard on 30th August. The Crooked Brewing company want to open between 11:00am and midnight, 7 days a week.

Although there are already take-aways (and, nearby, another pub) in the Greenside House block, the area is predominantly residential in character

The operators have agreed to conditions including the installation of CCTV and that alcohol will not be served after 11:30pm

The main objections to the proposal relate to there being an adequate number of alcohol outlets in Acomb already.

We doubt that late night pubs are necessary to meet demand across the whole of the week. Weekends may be different.

However, the company does seem to offer something new and could complement the efforts being made by other traders to improve the shopping and leisure experience available in the Front Street area.

Details of the background papers for the hearing can be viewed by clicking here

Acomb War Memorial challenge

The York Civic Trust have confirmed that the restoration work that they plan to do on the Acomb War Memorial will be restricted to repairing and cleaning the stonework. Some of the lettering on the monument will also be repainted. The work is partly being sponsored by the Trust with a contribution from the City of York Council. The work is being managed by volunteers.

The scope of the refurbishment falls short of level of work which residents had hoped could be achieved before the Centenary of the end of WW1 which takes place on 11th November.

The original specification for the upgrade had included items like;

  1. Lopping some of the overhanging tree branches to allow more sunlight into the area (and thereby encourage plant growth)
  2. Extending the paving (which currently ends near the entrance) so that wheelchair users could access the memorial
  3. Provision of an interpretation board
  4. The possible provision of a commemorative public seat ( https://www.davidogilvie.com/ww1-seat )

The “Friends of Acomb Green” are hoping to have a fund-raising event shortly but, if more work is to be commissioned, in the time available, it is likely that Council and Ward committee funding will be required.

Acomb War Memorial restoration faces competition from Scarcroft School

The York Civic Trust has announced a “peoples vote” which will decide which of 5 City Enhancement projects will get the “go ahead”.

Generally we think that involving people in making choices like this is a good thing. However we had been led to understand that the York Civic Trust had already agreed to lead on the restoration of the Acomb War Memorial.

It appears not, as it is one of 5 schemes now competing for “peoples” votes.

Thus doubt has been cast on a scheme which it was intended should be completed by the November anniversary of the end of World War One. A local group (WW1 Acomb) had been set up to lead on local commemoration activities but had stood down from the War Memorial project when the Civic Trust said that they had adopted it. 

The five schemes competing for votes, which vary wildly in cost, are:

  • Acomb Green: Conservation and repairs to the War Memorial
  • Monk Bar: Reinstatement of portcullis to working order
  • Monk Bar: Conservation of Ice House
  • Museum Street Water Fountain:
  • Scarcroft School: Reinstatement of timber finial posts to bell tower

More details can be found here http://yorkcivictrust.co.uk/home/city-enhancement-2/peoples-choice-award/

The vote closes at 5:00pm, 25th June 2018

We think that the City Enhancement Programme is one of the best initiatives that has taken place in the City in recent years.  However the organisers perhaps need to reflect on the need to make decisions in a timely way and to encourage participation from all parts of the City.

53% of road drains found to be blocked in York Council survey

£5 million cost to upgrade whole system

Considerable concern was expressed in 2015 when it was discovered that large areas of highway were flooding during wet weather. Many residents complained that the reduced  gulley cleaning service – introduced by the last Labour led Council – was inadequate. The City has over 42,000 gulleys.

In 2016 and 2017 there were major surface water problems in several parts of York.

The led the new Councillor – Andrew Waller – responsible for surface water drainage systems to institute a review of standards.

The initial findings of the comprehensive survey into the effectiveness of drainage systems will now be presented to a meeting next week

The report says,

“To date more than 35,000 of the 43,690 known gullies have been logged, investigated and cleansed as part of the capital funded investigation process, a flood risk assessment process has been previously carried out to ensure key assets have been prioritised.

53% of all assets were found to be blocked but significant work has ensured the majority of the system investigated to date is operating effectively, however more than 900 assets will require wider engineering works to ensure they can operate effectively”.

With many gullies now cleared, the report goes on to say,

“Subsequent heavy rainfall events have given rise to reduced numbers of complaints and reports of localised flood incidences, this is a clear indication of the success of this process, however, significant rainfall such as experienced on the 23rd August this year can still overwhelm a well maintained and operable drainage system as their design capacity would be compromised”.

The findings of an investigation into surface water ponding on Acomb Green is included in the papers (see below)