Council blames the “complexity” of the selected design for the
A Council report published today reveals that the cost of the Centre of Excellence for Disabled Children will increase from the originally budgeted figure of £4.3 million (January 2018) to an estimated £5.9 million.
This comes after the Council, In April 2018, had agreed to increase
the proportion of the costs which would be funded by borrowing
£1.1 million of the increased costs will come from a Health service
grant with the rest being transferred from the education budget.
It appears that some features of the building are being “value engineered” out of the design.
The centre is being built on the site of the Windsor House elderly
persons home. The neighbouring Lincoln Court independent living building is
also being modernised and extended at the same time.
While both projects have been welcomed, concerns have been expressed about traffic congestion and parking issues in the area.
The impact of the developments on open space and sports facilities in the neighbourhood have also been criticised.
Details of the new budget allocations are being kept secret by the Council. It is unclear whatpromised features in the building may now be omitted.
The meeting to consider the budget increase is taking place on 18th June.
NB. Refers to Condition 4 – Boundary Treatments. Proposed Site Plan Condition 7 – Slight amendments to car parking arrangements. Proposed Site Plan Condition 8 – Electric Car Charging Points. Proposed Site Plan Condition 16 & 17 – Bats & Contamination.
Residents warned the York Council that local roads in the Ascot Way/Kingsway West area were too narrow to accommodate heavy construction traffic.
Despite these warnings, the planning committee approved plans for the demolition of Windsor House but failed to specify any highway improvements.
The foolishness of that decision was highlighted on Friday when
two very large trucks made their way from the site onto Kingsway West.
They failed to observe the agreed one-way system forcing other vehicles to mount the footpath and verge.
The traffic plan – regarded by many residents as inadequate – was published on 8th May. (Click here to read).
It was clear yesterday that it will be impossible for
construction traffic and other larger vehicles, like buses, to pass each other
on the twisting roads.
Several other conditions were imposed on activities on the site (click here). Most have still to be implemented.
Car parking is now at an even greater premium with whole of the
Windsor House/Lincoln Court site cordoned off.
The problems have arisen only a few days before residents will
be given an opportunity to quiz contractors on their plans.
The “drop in” meeting will take place at the Hob Moor School Children’s Centre (Green Lane) at 3:30pm on Wednesday 5th June.
There is still no news on the Council’s plans to provide an alternative play facility to replace the Multi User Games Area which will be lost when construction work starts. It had been hoped that by now, permission would have been granted for a new pitch to be provided on the nearby Thanet Road Sports Area.
There is also a major question mark about the costs of the “Centre of Excellence for Disabled Children” which will be constructed on the Windsor House site. A Council meeting on 18th June(click) will hear that additional funds are required to sustain the project.
It looks like there are more problems ahead, as the York Council tries to let contracts to establish a new “Centre of Excellence for Disabled Children” (CEDC) and a major expansion of the Lincoln Court independent living building.
A year ago, the Council said that it would need to invest £4.3 million in the CEDC. They later revised their budgets and agreed to borrow an additional £330,000 to fund the centre.
A £4.7 million contract was awardedin February to Sewell’s. It was said to cover work at both Windsor House and Lincoln Court.
Now papers released
yesterday suggest that there may be a significant increase in the costs for the
project. Officials are expected to make a case for extra investment at a meeting
taking place on 18th June. A note in the
Councils Forward Programme says, “A
value engineered exercise has been undertaken and further funds are required to
ensure there is an adequate contingency. This needs to be done within this
timeframe in order to meet the requirements of external health funding”.
The meeting will take place after the local elections in May
so it is anyone’s guess what will now happen to the project.
A cost drift has also occurred on the Lincoln Court side of the project. Earlier this month officials admittedthat the cost had soared from £1.9 million to £4.8 million.
The Lincoln Court project is still mired in controversy. The planning approval is being referred to the Secretary of State for consideration for calling in. The move stems from objections from local sports organisations and residents who want to see the existing all-weather play area moved to Thanet Road. The play area would be lost under the Council’s current proposals.
There are also concerns about access arrangements for the buildings both during building works and afterwards. A case has been made for a private (pedestrian) access to be made available to the adjacent school car park. So far, the Council has turned a blind eye to the suggestion, reinforcing concerns about traffic congestion and parking problems on Ascot Way
Both the CEDC and Lincoln
Court modernisation have attracted widespread local support. It is a change
that lack of attention to detail and poor consultation arrangements seem to be hindering
The Councils Executive discussed the planned extension of the Lincoln Court independent living building yesterday. They agreed to progress the scheme and included a requirement for an alternative all weather games area to be provided in the ward.
It will be up to the planning committee at its meeting tomorrow (Wednesday) to include a condition requiring that the new facility is provided before the existing MUGA is demolished.
It emerged at the meeting that 14 of the remaining 19 tenants have now accepted offers of alternative accommodation. When the remaining 5 will be offered, and accept, a suitable alternative remains in doubt. The adjacent Windsor House building, which is empty, is already suffering vandalism and there is a concern that the whole site could become a magnet for anti social behaviour.
The Council is negotiating with the school to allow builders plant to access the site from the school side. There have been major problems getting large items of plant into the Lowfields site where roads are of a similar width to Ascot Way.
It has yet to be confirmed whether an (pedestrian) access will be retained from the school site when the redevelopment has been completed. This is considered to be essential to provide overflow parking capacity given that only 16 spaces are being provided on the Ascot Way frontage.
Sadly members of the executive failed to probe why the new apartments have been described, in successive Planning Committee reports, as “extra care” units.
No doubt residents will get more clarification tomorrow
Hedges are being ripped out by contractors in preparation for the start of building works at Windsor House and Lincoln Court.
The new disabled centre, which will replace Windsor House, does have planning permission. It is understandable that developers Sewells will want to remove the hedges before the bird nesting season starts.
Work to the rear of Lincoln Court is more controversial. A planning permission granted in December was found to be flawed. This forced the Council, to submit a new application which has yet to be determined. It has attracted a lot of objections including a significant one from Sport England.
It is therefore premature to undertake work in that area.
Copies of the Lincoln Court planning application together with details of objections can be found byclicking here
Contractors removing hedge from school playing field boundary
Hedge to side of Windsor House has already been removed