Lloyds bank in Acomb still open for business

Lloyds Bank in Front Street

Some good news from Acomb with an announcement that the York Road/Front Street branch of Lloyds bank will remain open “until further notice”.

The bank – the last branch in Acomb – was due to close in June.

The decision may help with post pandemic regeneration efforts in the Front Street commercial area.

We suspect that the closure has only been delayed but the decision is a welcome one nevertheless.

Bishopthorpe Road closure set to continue for at least 2 months

Another behind closed doors decision by York Council

With almost breath taking arrogance, the York Council has issued a statement saying that the closure of the southbound lane at Bishopthorpe Road shops will continue for another 2 months.

There has been no debate about other options and a large petition – which asked for the road to be reopened – has been ignored.

No report on the success or otherwise of what the Council describes as a “trial” has been published.

One of the earliest criticisms of the scheme was that the Council had failed to identify how the success or otherwise of the project would actually be judged. It simply referred, rather loftily, to social distancing and government policy.

In reality, the array of bollards has made little difference to social distancing while the contraflow bike lane has introduced another, unwelcome, hazard for cyclists. There has been no consideration of opening up parallel routes (Darborough Street/Cherry Street & St Benedict’s Road) which would at least have provided a much shorter diversion

Bishopthorpe Road lane closure. Petition calls for lane to be reopened.

Nor has the opportunity been taken, during a relatively quiet period, to test an off peak pedestrianisation of the shops area between 10:30am and 4:00pm. Such a scheme would also have aligned with the governments policies while also providing much more room for social distancing. The impacts both economic and on transportation would have provided some real food for thought.

Too late now though, as imminent road works in the Nunnery Lane area are set to cause even bigger traffic congestion problems with the bus services one likely early victim. Works on the nearby South Bank flood alleviation scheme (subject to a planning committee decision next week) will further add to transport woes in the area.

Not content with increasing pollution levels on Scarcroft Road the new diversion via the City centre will add over a mile to some journeys.

The Council says that residents can Email them with their views. The address is Bishrd@york.gov.uk

We doubt that many will bother. Rather the pressure for the Council to adopt an open and inclusive approach to decision making will mount. The Council leadership needs to move out of its bunker mentality and start to re-engage with the local community.

Kent Davison Selina Meyer Gary Cole GIF | Gfycat

We saw in 2015 what happened when a particularly stubborn administration tried to force the Lendal Bridge closure on an unwilling population.

The same will happen again unless polices and attitudes change and change quickly.

Minster FM future in doubt

Minster FM – Apps on Google Play

It looks like Minster FM – York’s local commercial radio station – may be replaced by a national feed from something called “Greatest Hits Radio”.

Leaving aside whether the nation might now have a surfeit of popular music channels, such a move would be bad news for the City if it were to lose such an important source of independent local news.

The Minster FM team, more than any other local broadcast, newspaper or digital channels, has been supportive of community groups. That support and publicity would be badly missed.

The coronavirus scare has been problematic for all media businesses which are reliant on advertising income. We suspect that there may be more bad news in the pipeline.

Even the non advertising dependent BBC is not without its problems. The Cummings plan to change the way that license fee income is generated is the most obvious.

If the “Greatest Hits Radio” plan is just to pad out the 24/7 coverage with some periods of nationally sourced music, then so be it.

But the local news, and the stations business/community support work, needs to be sustained in some way.

If it isn’t, then there will be pressure to provide a replacement service using a digital channel.

New restrictions for vehicles on Micklegate to be introduced from 10 December

Micklegate Bar

City of York Council is introducing new restrictions on Micklegate from Monday 10 December, to prevent vehicles travelling outbound from the city and reduce the impact of traffic on the historic bar walls.

A statement from the York Council says,

“A call for the outbound closure of Micklegate Bar was debated by councillors at a Full Council meeting on 19 July. Following this, a report was taken to a transport and planning decision session meeting on 13 September, to take these proposals forward.

This has paved way for an experimental Traffic Regulation order (TRO) to be introduced for a maximum of 18 months, during which time the changes could become permanent.

The TRO will help determine the benefits of restricting vehicles in Micklegate and will allow the local community and businesses the opportunity to experience the changes before making representations.

During this 18 month period, there will be an outbound road closure only (cycle access will be available in both directions). This means the road will be open to inbound traffic through Micklegate Bar from Blossom Street/Nunnery Lane/Queen Street.

Signage will be installed at Micklegate Bar, with temporary information signs placed on all approaches”.

During the debate on the plan concerns were expressed about increased traffic congestion on alternative routes. Some traders feared a reduction in “drop in” trade.

The Council has also announced major road works on the alternative inner ring road route which passes the railway station. It is expected that the Queen Street bridge will be demolished as part of that programme of works.

For more information about the scheme, a report from the decision session on Thursday 13 September can be read at: http://democracy.york.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=738&MId=10859 “

Residents and staff at Morrell House to be consulted on closure plans

Morrell House, Burton Stone Lane

Residents, their relatives and staff at one of City of York Council’s older people’s homes – Morrell House – are being consulted on the option to close the home, as part of plans to modernise accommodation for older people in the city.

The plans look to address the needs of York’s growing and ageing older population, by providing modern facilities which allow high quality care and quality of life, but also increasing the quantity of accommodation available.

It also aims to make the best use of the city’s existing extra care housing, making it more accessible for people with higher care needs by increasing the support available at each venue and by replacing out-dated older people’s homes, with more modern accommodation.

Significant progress is being made to deliver over 900 new units of accommodation with care for older people across York with both private and public sector investment.

This progress includes the £4m extension of Glen Lodge, providing 27 new homes, which was completed last year and work being done to build a care home at the Burnholme health and wellbeing campus.

This and plans to extend Marjorie Waite Court with 33 new homes are just some of the schemes taking place across the city which will bring much needed improved accommodation for older people to the city.

Martin Farran, corporate director for health, housing and adult social care at City of York Council, said:

“Whilst residents, their families and staff at Morrell House are rightly proud of their home, we recognise that there is a need for more modern accommodation for older people.

“We understand that this consultation process can be an unsettling one and will be working closely with the residents, their families and staff to make sure they have the support and advice they need.

“Our focus remains on supporting our residents. The actions we take now will ensure that they – and future generations – will have the best possible quality of life, with greater access to modern accommodation across the city.”

Residents, their relatives and staff have already been informed of the proposals. Over the next six weeks residents and relatives will be consulted on their views and any preferences they have about where they would like to move to should the home be closed.

The results of the consultations will be presented to the Executive on Thursday 26 April.

Liberal Democrats call on the MOD for greater clarity regarding Queen Elizabeth and Imphal Barracks

Imphal Barracks

The Liberal Democrats are, once again, calling on the MOD to provide greater clarity regarding the closures of Queen Elizabeth and Imphal Barracks, in order to provide assurances to those affected in the community.

Cllr Andrew Waller, Liberal Democrat Councillor and Interim Deputy Leader of City of York Council, has written to the Secretary of State to seek urgent clarification on the potential impact of non-military personnel and employment in the city.

Both barracks are valued by the City and many residents are proud of York’s connection with the armed forces.  With the planned closures in place, local communities have questioned the future of the sites and the personnel associated with them.

Although decisions regarding military personnel are currently underway; the Liberal Democrats are requesting assurances to be given for other staff in the barracks, such as civil servants, so that they can remain in York and not

Andrew Waller

be removed from the local community.

Cllr Andrew Waller said:

“York is proud of its relationship with the armed forces and residents place great worth on the contribution both barracks make to the community.

The closures of Queen Elizabeth and Imphal barracks have significant and negative implications on the City of York, the people within those communities and on jobs connected to the barracks.

It is for this reason; I have written to the Secretary of State, Gavin Williamson MP, to request clarification and assurances from the MOD on the future of non-military personnel at these sites.

In my capacity as Interim Deputy Leader, I have also offered assistance, where possible, to help ensure civilian staff have suitable sites and office accommodation to remain in York.”

Council confirms closure of Woolnough House elderly persons home

Woolnough House

 A Council statement reads, “as part of our drive to improve the quality and choice of care for older people in the city, we are consulting with residents of Woolnough House on its future.

Residents, their relatives and staff at one of City of York Council’s older people’s homes – Woolnough House – are being consulted on the option to close the home in late 2017, as part of plans to modernise accommodation for older people in the city.

The plans seek to address the needs of York’s fast-growing older population, by providing modern facilities which allow high quality care and quality of life. It also aims to make the best use of the city’s existing extra care housing, making it more accessible for people with higher care needs by increasing the support available at each venue and by replacing the council’s four out-dated older people’s homes, with more modern accommodation”.

The news comes as work nears completion on 25 new extra care apartments and two bungalows at Glen Lodge in Heworth.

Each of the council’s older people’s homes was assessed against a number of criteria to determine which homes should be consulted on for closure first.

Three older people’s homes – Grove House, Oakhaven and Willow House – closed in the past 17 months as part of the programme.

Micklegate Bar closed from June

Micklegate Bar

As part of a £1.5 million restoration scheme to preserve and protect York’s medieval city walls – announced by City of York Council last month – road closures will be needed in Micklegate to allow the restoration works to be carried out safely.

The scheme will involve replacing Micklegate Bar’s roof and guttering by stripping this all back, replacing the timberwork and installing stainless steel strengthening ‘shoes’ to roof beams.

Two new walkway gates will also be installed. This will allow the Henry VII Experience museum to remain open when the bar walls themselves are closed. During the works both stairways allowing people access onto the walls will remain open to pedestrians at all times.

Micklegate retailers and businesses were consulted in advance about the works and invited to attend meetings with the council. Letters were also sent to all premises in the area.


Residents anger over York Library closures

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

The York Council is being heavily criticised by residents for not notifying local media about today’s library closures.

Although the closure – which is allowing staff to have a conference about the pending privatisation of the service – is mentioned on the Councils web site, many users have not noticed it.

Some are obviously seething after wasted journeys.

They are venting their disappointment by writing advice about good communications on the closure notice that has been posted on the library door today.

The privatisation move – which we believe does not enjoy widespread support either from staff or customers – is the brainchild of Cllr Crisp. Her report to tomorrows Council meeting also pointedly omits to mentions todays closures.

NB. User numbers at 14 of York’s 15 libraries has reduced since Cllr Crisp took responsibility for them.


The Council is also saying that its electronic “report it” system may not be working this week.