Dismay as elderly residents told they must quit their homes for 12 months

Council apology for Lincoln Court tenants

Lincoln Court

The council has apologised to Lincoln Court tenants ahead of a £1.4m scheme to improve and extend the independent living scheme.

While the modernisation of the independent living scheme on Ascot Way had been generally welcomed, tenants had been assured that the necessary modernisation work – which includes the provision of new double glazed windows – could be completed while they remained in their flats.

Now the Council has reversed the assurances that were given during the consultation meetings earlier in the year.

Other aspects of the work are also proving to be controversial.

The amount of car parking being provided is inadequate.

No rear access is being provided to the new development which would have offered access to overflow parking at the school as well as a route for emergency and delivery vehicles.

Planning Councillors acted against the wishes of Sport England in agreeing to demolish the all weather games area (MUGA) without providing a replacement. This omission likely to be the subject of a formal complaint

The Council statement reads, “Following detailed design work and site surveys to modernise and enlarge Lincoln Court, the project’s contractor and health and safety specialist has advised it would not be safe for any of the work to be completed while the building remains occupied.

As the landlord, the council has taken the difficult decision that all Lincoln Court tenants must be moved to suitable, alternative accommodation for the duration of the work. All tenants have received an apology from the council for this unexpected disruption.

Tenants, the executive member for housing and a ward councillor attended a meeting with staff this afternoon. This will be followed by one-to-one conversations with each tenant about their needs and preferences for alternative accommodation.

Michael Melvin, interim corporate director of health, housing and adult social care at City of York Council, said:

“We apologise to all our tenants for this unexpected and disappointing level of disruption. Moving everyone to safe and suitable alternative accommodation by the end of May 2019 is now our priority.

“While 10 new homes will be added to the scheme, and the building improved for the long-term benefit of older people in the city, we regret the degree of upheaval the present tenants will face.

“In addition to today’s meeting we have written to all tenants within the scheme and are going beyond our legal obligations to support them through this time. We have offered tenants the option of moving on a permanent basis, or to return to Lincoln Court when the refurbishment is completed.

“We will also provide practical and financial support, and will arrange and pay for every tenant’s move. This will include moving their belongings and bringing their new home up to the decorative and furnished standard of their flat at Lincoln Court.

“We are committed to making the process as well-supported as possible. Additional staff will work to find tenants alternative accommodation that best matches their needs and preferences regarding location and setting.”

With the requirement to relocate tenants established, the council is taking the opportunity to review the current design of Lincoln Court to ensure the best possible layout and accommodation to create an independent living scheme fit for the future”.

Major changes on Ascot Way & Hob Moor school playing field agreed

Council planning report was wrong on Lincoln Court extension claim

Lincoln Court. Work has started on replacing windows. Concerns about parking

Plans to provide a centre of excellence for disabled children, modernise & extend Lincoln Court and move part of the Hob Moor school playing field were approved last night.

Generally, the improvements will be welcomed.

Unfortunately, the planning committee failed to recognise and act to deal with the cumulative effects that these developments – coupled with others previously agreed – will have on transport systems in the Kingsway estate.

Embarrassed Council officials, at yesterday’s planning committee meeting, were forced to admit that the 10 additional units planned at Lincoln Court were not “extra care” beds as claimed in the Council report.

Instead they will be similar in function to the sheltered flats which form the existing development.

The distinction is a major one as extra care beds imply a much higher level of care need while the occupiers of conventional sheltered flats are more likely to own cars.

They will need somewhere to park them.

The committee declined to require that a rear entrance be provided to the new site. This would have permitted greater integration with the adjacent Hob Moor Oaks school which caters for children with disabilities and might have been used to address overflow car parking, delivery, emergency vehicles access and other transport concerns.

Nor was the committee prepared to even ask transport officials to review the cumulative impact that planning decisions are having on the Kingsway area.

It is difficult not to conclude that the Councils leadership is prepared to casually dismiss the wishes of a community which has lacked leadership since the local resident’s association folded 5 years ago.

The relatively beleaguered inhabitants of the area – amongst the poorest 10% of the population in the country according to some government statistics –  are viewed as less likely able to “raise a stink” than might their “middle England” counterparts in other parts of the City.

 Consequently, the Council has felt able to ignore their legitimate requests for improvements that have been tabled in response to successive development consultations.

Petition calls for Kingsway area road improvements

Andrew Waller who is backing the petition

A petition has been handed to the York Council demanding that roads in the Kingsway West/Ascot Way area be improved before there is any additional development in the area.

At the moment the only access to the estate – which contains over 600 homes – is via the section of Kingsway West lying between Danesfort Avenue and Ascot Way.

Residents point to congestion problems for buses, emergency vehicles, bin wagons and delivery lorries.

The numbers of off-street parking spaces has been criticised. Residents feel this will get worse following a decision to demolish garages on Newbury Avenue.

The petition was prompted by an announcement that the Lincoln Court sheltered housing building would be expanded. In addition, the adjacent Windsor Hose site will become a centre of excellence for disabled children.

The principal route into both  these developments would be along Kingsway West and Ascot Way.

Campaigners have called for a service road access to be created from the adjacent Hob Moor Oaks school site where many of the disabled children spend their school hours.

The future of the Multi User Games Area (MUGA) on Kingsway West is also under threat as officials are understood have targeted it for use as a building compound

The petition reads;

“We the undersigned request the York Council to undertake the following improvements prior to any further building work starting in the Hob Moor area

  1. Improve the access road along Kingsway West/Ascot Way, removing, where necessary, the grass verge
  2. Provide dropped kerbs or lay-by parking where this doesn’t already exist
  3. Provide alternative, modern, children’s play facilities before any existing provision is removed”.

The petition is being backed by local Councillor Andrew Waller.

The planning applications are expected to be considered by the Council at a Planning Sub Committee  meeting taking place on 6th December starting at 4:30pm

Planning application for new electricity sub station on Ascot Way causes sparks.

Proposed sub station site

A planning application has just been received by the York Council which would see a sub station built on land next to garages on Ascot Way.

It is causing concern as it would mean that the adjacent rear entrance to Hob Moor school could become very narrow and dark.

There are safety issues that will have to be addressed if this does go ahead (it is required to service the nearby disabled children’s centre project)

The application can be viewed by clicking here 

 

Weeds over grow path in Windsor Garth

Weeds growing through footpath on Windsor Garth near Sandown Close. We’ve reported the problem but it seems to be another area that has been missed off this years treatment programme

Time of year gullies need to eb checked fro blockages. We’ve asked for those on the little Green Lane footpath to be cleared of leaves

We’ve asked for the Gale Lane/Holgate beck to be cleared of detritus and undergrowth before the winter

UFO are behind schedule in reinstating concrete drives on Stuart Road

Verge and path on Foxwood lane still showing signs of damage following broadband excavations near 12 months ago

One bonus has been the renewal of the flagstones at the Hamilton Drive West bus stop. We asked for these to be done on safety grounds last year

New litter bins have been rolled out to several streets including this one on Kingsway West

We’ve asked for the garage area off Windsor Garth to be tidied up.

 

Another sports facility to close in Westfield?

Kingsway West all weather football pitch

Council officials are pressing for the neighbourhoods only Multi User Games Area (MUGA) to be permanently closed

The MUGA is located off Kingsway West and was provided at the same time as the Hob Moor school was rebuilt in 2004. It was hailed as one of the community facilities that the PFI funded new build school would unlock. It proved to be the only causal use facility provided on the campus, with other facilities like the nursery later closing.

Initially the MUGA was to have been located within the school perimeter fence. It would have been secured by caretaking staff when not in use. Following pressure from the PFI contractors the MUGA became a stand-alone facility accessible outside school hours.

It satisfied the demand for “kick about” facilities to the east of Gale Lane.

Initially it was successful with detached youth workers staging events there. However, the then Labour controlled Council shredded the youth service following budget cuts in 2013. The organised use of the MUGA ceased. Calls for the Ward Committee to fund events there failed to get off the ground.

An experiment in leaving the area open resulted in arson damage to the all-weather surface which was never repaired. The service access gate was also damaged and not reinstated by the Council.

It is now little used and often strewn with litter and detritus.

Council consultation card Sept 2018

Yet there is still a demand for play and sports facilities for use by children in the area. The nearest alternative is the Energise (Better) sports centre on Cornlands Road which is run on a commercial basis.

Typically the cost of hiring an all weather pitch for a match is around £50.

Now officials are consulting on replacing the MUGA with other structures. They suggest wooden climbing frames, tree planting and better lighting.

There is a demand for better play facilities in the area but not at the expense of existing sports facilities.

We have already seen the Our Lady’s sports field developed and more recently plans have been approved to build on the football pitch at Lowfields. The Hob Moor school playing field will be reduced in size and an application to build on the Acomb Bowling Green is being considered by the Council.

Officials promised that, as part of the Lowfields scheme, pitches on Chesney’s Field would be levelled and upgraded. But the football season* has started without any sign of improvement.

The Council acknowledge that there is already a deficiency in sports and green space provision in the Westfield area. The Councils own Local Plan identifies the existing shortfalls as 4.98 ha of outdoor sports facilities, 6.02 ha of children’s play and 2.86 ha of young persons facilities.

Life expectancy in the Westfield ward is lower than in other parts of York. This is partly put down to unhealthy lifestyles.

Council run consultation exercises were discredited by the Lowfields fiasco. Rather than asking people to record a vote in favour or in opposition to multiple options, the exercise depended on narrative responses.

These were easy to manipulate by official’s intent on justifying a particular outcome.

This must not happen again.

There is a demand for “off the streets” activities for young people. Facilities like the MUGA – if well maintained and promoted – can make a difference. The plans for the new children’s centre on Ascot Way could also unlock the potential for better play facilities for younger children.

But all age groups need to be catered for.

*NB. The Beagle FC beat Cawood 4-0 in their Chesney Field encounter on Saturday

York Council sports and open space need assessments

Latest planning applications for the Westfield Ward

Plans could bring more traffic problems to Ascot Way

Below is the latest planning applications received by the York Council for the Westfield ward.

Full details can be found by clicking the application reference

There are two linked applications, which could have a major impact on the Green Lane/Kingsway West/Ascot Way part of the Westfield ward, published this week.

In effect part of the existing Hob Moor School playing field will be built on because of a plan to provide a centre for disabled children on the site currently occupied by Windsor House.

A compensatory school sports field will be provided on an area of land, adjacent to Hob Moor, which is currently left in a natural state. Improvements to the remaining nature reserve are promised.

The most controversial aspects of the children’s centre plan relate to traffic, parking and the development timetable.

Contrary to expectations, all traffic will access the children’s centre site via Ascot Way.

An (unconvincing) traffic assessment report says this can be accommodated on the existing highway network. The reports appear not to consider the fact that Kingsway West is a “no through road” and that existing bends in Ascot Way already make it difficult for wide vehicles to pass each other. Despite this, officials talk of several mini buses accessing the new development each day. Mini buses already access the adjacent parking areas at the school. They are adequate to meet the needs of the new centre.

The Council’s transport consultants also appear to have a romantic view of the ability of the number 24 bus service to accommodate additional demand. No attempt has been made to provide a more suitable (off street) bus stop on Ascot Way.

Only 15 parking spaces will be provided at the Children’s Centre, which will employ 42 staff.

The applications are silent on the timetable for development.

Residents have already said that it would be wrong for building works to be taking place at both this site and the nearby Newbury Avenue garage site development at the same time. Plant and lorries from two sites would further damage an environment that has yet to recover from the extended development at Hob Stones and recent “broadband” excavations.

The establishment of the centre of excellence for disabled children is a worthy idea, but the implications ion the surrounding community need to be understood and resolved before any planning permission is granted.

A separate planning application for changes to Lincoln Court is expected shortly.  Both should be considered together by the planning committee as they are interdependent.

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Hob Moor Community Primary School Green Lane Acomb York YO24 4PS

Creation of new area of playing fields, wetland areas and timber walkways, erection of fabric shelter over outdoor class space

Ref. No: 18/01475/GRG3 

Nature area and new football pitch

—–

Windsor House 22 Ascot Way York YO24 4QZ

Erection of part single storey part two storey centre for disabled children and their families following the demolition of existing care home with associated parking, access and landscaping works (includes part of Hob Moor School site)

Ref. No: 18/01467/GRG3 

Disabled children’s centre site plan 2

Disabled children’s centre site plan 1

——

Representations can be made in favour of, or in objection to, any application via the Planning on line web site.  http://planningaccess.york.gov.uk/online-applications/

NB. The Council now no longer routinely consults neighbours by letter when an application is received

Newbury Avenue garage demolition approved. No plans for better parking

Inadequate parking causes obstructions for buses and deliveries

The planning committee have approved the plan to demolish 28 garages in Newbury Avenue. They will be replaced with 5 bungalows.

The committee declined to impose a condition requiring the developer to contribute towards the provision of alternative off street parking provision in the area.

Some of the garages have not been let for several years following a decision by the housing department to leave them empty. This has already exacerbated the parking situation in the Windsor Garth area.

The only hope for more parking provision now rests with the use of a small delegated ward committee budget. However this would provide only a handful of spaces (on lay-bys situated on Windsor Garth) and it could be the autumn before the work is started.

The Kingsway area has been poorly treated by the York Council in recent years. It has only just begun to get over the extended (nearly 3 years) build period for the Hob Stone development. Roads are still showing signs of the effects that heavy building wagons had. Damage to speed tables has been very pronounced. 

Residents living in the area will be viewing with apprehension the possibility that the redevelopment of the Windsor House site could take place at the same time as the Newbury Avenue building works.

On the basis of yesterdays planning committee decision, they cannot look to that quarter for any support in addressing transport and planning problems in the area.

 

Newbury Avenue development – planning recommendations published

Inadequate of street parking in Windsor Garth

Anger as parking problems not addressed by York Council officials

Council officials are recommending that plans to build on the garage site on Newbury Avenue are given the go ahead.

The issue will be discussed at a planning sub committee meeting taking place on 3rd May.

On the previous day (10:15am Wednesday 2nd May), Councillors will be visiting the site. They will no doubt be able to see the parking problems which already exist in the area.

Residents may attend both meetings and can register to speak at the committee meeting. To do so residents should telephone York 551088 before 5:00pm on 2nd May.

Grassed areas have already been damaged by vehicles and plant

The officers report is negligent in at least one way. Objectors have pointed out that the loss of 28 garages – and with them an equivalent number of off street parking spaces – will have a major impact on congestion and parking problems on the estate.

The report offers no response to this concern.

There are already problems when large vehicles and buses try to access the narrow roads. The problems have got worse since the Council stopped new lettings at the garages while the overspill from the Hob Stone development has also hit the Windsor Garth area.

Now the Council is also threatening to redevelop the Windsor House site on Ascot Way. Again it has given little thought to the parking problems that will emerge both during building works, and afterwards.

It could mean that major building works will take place within the next year at both sites at the same time – a recipe for transport chaos with the only available access to the estate being the relatively narrow route  from Kingsway West.

Grass damaged by parked vehicles

Some objectors to the Newbury Avenue plan have demanded that alternative off street parking spaces be provided before demolition starts. They have pointed to several sites where the provision of matrix protection on grassed areas would provide an option while retaining the green appearance of the estate.

Currently an increasing number of vehicles are being parked on these grassed areas anyway – resulting during periods of  wet weather in unsightly damage which is expensive to repair.

NB. Efforts are being made to form a new Hob Moor Residents Association in the area. The residents group will focus on opposing the Councils plans for the estate and will seek additional investment to address existing problems.

The old Kingsway Area Residents Association (KARA) was disbanded about 5 years ago.

Plan for disabled centre in Ascot Way faces £350,000 financial hurdle

A report being presented to a Council meeting next week says that the cost to taxpayers of developing a Centre of Excellence for Disabled Children and their families in Ascot Way will be more than expected.

An additional £350,000 will have to be borrowed to finance the £4.3 million project.

This is mainly the result of a lower than expected valuation of The Glen Short Breaks centre which is to be sold to help pay for the new development.

When originally suggested, the expectation was that the Glen site would be sold for £1,250,000. It is this figure that has reduced and produced the funding shortfall.

Annual repayments (principal plus interest) on the borrowing are expected to be around £195,000 a year.

The news comes a day before an open meeting to discuss the project is being held at Windsor House (see below)