Community centre faces 50% hike in Rates
Further detail has emerged of the new Business Rates that will be payable in Acomb and elsewhere in the City.
Generally, valuations have increased by around 10% although there are very wide variations.
This means that most shopkeepers in the area will pay more than they currently do when the valuations are introduced next year.
Examples of valuations – which can be found on the government web site by clicking here – are shown in the table below.
The figures quoted do not indicate the actual amount which is paid. A multiplier – which changes each year – is applied get the actual amount to be paid.
Still there are some shockers on the list not least the huge hikes in rates for the Community Centres in Chapelfields (+50%) and Foxwood (+17%). Charities do get relief on their rate payments but the changes are difficult to understand against a background where some businesses, like Ladbrokes bookmakers, will enjoy reductions of around 7%.
Elsewhere Liberal Democrat Councillor Sue Hunter has backed the idea of a new investment scheme for Front Street and called on the council “to give Acomb the support it deserves”.
A recommendation for a “wider renewal and reinvigoration scheme” was agreed by York’s Executive Member for Transport & Planning at a meeting yesterday in response to petitions presented by Lib Dem councillors in Acomb and Foxwood.
Over the summer, Cllr Sue Hunter organised a petition signed by over 800 residents calling for action to fix pavements in Front Street to help those who use wheelchairs and mobility scooters, and support the local shopping area. Meanwhile, Cllr Sheena Jackson organised a petition calling for improvements to the pavements around Foxwood Shops.
In response to the petitions, it was agreed that standard repairs will continue and that further work is carried out to appraise the possibilities for a wider renewal and reinvigoration scheme for both locations and a report prepared for the Executive Member for Economic Development and Community Engagement. (more…)
The council is inviting local residents and interested parties to have their say on plans for Burton Stone Community Centre and proposals for new community facilities.
The discussions come two years after the, then Labour controlled, Council announced that the centre was to be leased off.
At an open meeting on Tuesday 29 March, City of York Council will set out how other areas of the city have seen communities benefit from redevelopment of out of date buildings. The first stage of consultation will focus on residents’ local needs for community venues and suggestions for future development of the site.
Cllr Andrew Waller, Executive Member for the Environment said: “The council has given a clear commitment to the residents of the Clifton area that there will continue to be a community base in their neighbourhood. Last July, the council restored £70,000 to support council run community centres to show our commitment. We are now launching a consultation with existing user groups and local residents to discuss a long-term plan so that they have facilities fit for the 21st century.
“Community facilities have an important role to play in local neighbourhoods and in this first stage of consultation we want to understand local residents’ needs for community space. This is a vital step in developing fit for purpose options for the area, which can be sustained in the long term.
“We would therefore encourage any interested residents to come along and give us their views and suggestions for use of or development of this site.”
Users and representatives from current user groups, including societies, charities and sport, fitness and wellbeing groups have been invited to a separate consultation meeting.
Whilst Burton Stone Community Centre will continue to be operated by the council for the next 12 to 18 months, its condition is deteriorating and maintenance will drain resources. The council is therefore keen to work with the local community to find a long-term solution which will make best use of available funds.
Further information is available online at www.york.gov.uk/burtonstonecc . The open consultation meeting takes place from 6.30-7.30pm at Burton Stone Community Centre, Evelyn Crescent on Tuesday 29 March. Residents who wish to comment can also email their views to Andrew.email@example.com or send them to Andy Laslett, City of York Council, at West Offices by Tuesday 31 May.
The report on how part of the grants for local Community Centres could be reinstated has been published.
The centres affected are located in Foxwood, Chapelfields, Bell Farm and Heworth.
A fifth – the Burton Stone Centre – was to have been sold off to a third party operator but this has fallen through. It continues – at least for the moment – to be run by Council employees, but without a volunteer user committee.
The Community Centres running cost grants (which totalled £140,000 in 2013) were stopped last year by the then Labour run Council.
It had been hoped that the new Council, having made £70,000 available to support the centres when it met in July, would allow for the reinstatement of some caretaker roles.
In turn this would have allowed the centres – which otherwise depend entirely on volunteers – to increase their opening hours.
A report to a meeting taking place next week offers three choices for the use of the funding. They are:
- The Council could retain the £70k budget with no direct grant funding to the voluntary management committees. The budget would be used to maintain the condition of the five premises enabling funds to be directed to those buildings which have the greatest identified repair and maintenance requirements.
- The Council could split the £70k equally across the five centres, offering them a £14k direct grant each.
- A combination of options A and B to provide some direct grants, whilst retaining some of the budget for the Council to contribute to the repair and maintenance liabilities. A sinking fund would also be established to allow a planned approach to asset replacement.
Option (c) would reinstate only a £4000 a year grant to each of the five centres. See below for details
The rest would be syphoned off to pay for maintenance work at the buildings which are still owned by the Council. As landlord the Council would be responsible for these repairs anyway.
There is a suggestion that an “apprentice” be appointed – at a cost of £10,000 – to monitor the project.
Some people already feel that there has been too much interfering by Council officials in the work of the voluntary committees which work tirelessly to run the centres. Officials seem to want to weigh volunteers down with “service level agreements” and commitments which are simply too onerous for spare time volunteers to feel comfortable with.
We hope that “no strings” grants of at least £20,000 a year can be agreed for each centre. To allow for forward planning they should be guaranteed for the duration of at least the present Council (i.e. until 2019)
A decision on the grants will be taken at a meeting on Thursday, 3rd December, 2015 4.30 pm at West Offices. Residents may make written representations to the meeting and/or may register to attend in person and speak. (Telephone – (01904) 552062 Email firstname.lastname@example.org)
One of the key policies of the new coalition Council was the restoration of grants to Council owned Community Centres.
The centres (Foxwood, Chapelfields, Bell Farm, Heworth and Burton Stone/Clifton) lost their grants under the last Labour administration and there were fears that some would close.
In July the new Council identified £70,000 to help underpin the centres. The voluntary groups currently running the centres have managed to kept them open until now.
The Council had been expected to allocate the total budget to individual centres on 14th September but unexplained delays have dogged the process since then.
Now it appears that the Councils Environment Executive member (Andrew Waller) has been debarred from making the decision which had been scheduled to be taken in November.
Instead Deputy Council Leader Keith Aspden will agree the allocations on 3rd December.
The is still hoped is that enough money will be made available to allow a part time caretaker to be appointed at both the Foxwood and Chapelfields centres.
The revised York Council budget, to be discussed at the Council meeting on 16th July, allocates £70,000 to York’s 4 Community Centres.
The money is expected to be used to employ part time caretakers with the intention of increasing opening hours.
The move comes after the Council abandoned the centres in April and asked volunteers to take them over.
The Housing department has been criticised for failing to support community centres on the west of the City.
It was revealed that 75% of money offered by Jewson’s for improvements to the 5 centres in the City was allocated to Tang Hall.
York is to continue its digital journey following an announcement that a number of Community Hubs will receive free WiFi in spring 2015.
The WiFi installation is funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), as part of York’s status as one of 22 SuperConnected Cities and is the latest step in City of York Council’s Digital City campaign.
The free WiFi will be available to residents and visitors while they are in public space. The provision will allow events and seminars to take place and will also help residents communicate with relatives and friends digitally.
WiFi will be installed in the following Community Hubs:
- 68 Youth Centre
- Bell Farm Community Centre
- Burton Stone Community Centre
- Castlegate 29
- Clarence Street 30 (Sycamore House)
- Clementhorpe Community Centre
- Clements Hall
- Foxwood Community Centre, Bellhouse Way (due on 25th February)
- Melbourne Centre
- Moor Lane Youth Centre
- Oaken Grove Community Centre
- Priory Street Community Centre
- Sanderson Court Community House , Bramham Road
- Tang Hall Community Centre
- Poppleton Road Memorial Hall
Users of the Burton Stone Community Centre have joined their counterparts in Foxwood, Chapelfields and Bell Farm in criticising Labours plans for the future of their facilities.
A petition from the York Coronary Support Trust is being considered at a decision meeting on 27th November. The petition expresses concerns that the Council plan, to outsource the management of the centre, could lead to the organisation’s 4 fitness sessions each week being interrupted.
As at other community centres around the City, Labour are planning to eliminate all support subsidies by 1st April 2015.
In the case of Burton Stone, the centre will in future by predominately used to provide “a day activity programme for over 60 adults with a learning disability and/or autism between 9:00 – 5:00 Monday & Friday”.
New LibDem Councillor Andrew Waller has been leading the campaign to have Council grants to the City’s community centres restored.
A grant of £15,000 a year to each would allow a part time caretaker to be employed, raising the possibility of increased opening hours and hence community use.
Most York Community Centre rely heavily on volunteers to manage and sustain them.
With concern growing over threats to voluntary groups using the Burton Stone Community Centre, Westfield LibDem candidate Andrew Waller has called for the grants to local community centres to be reinstated.
In the Westfield area, both the Foxwood and Chapelfields community centres have seen their grants cut by the Labour Council.
Both centres are now relying entirely on the work of volunteers.
The committees at both centres are working very hard to keep them open but, in the long term, both would benefit if an annual grant of £15,000 was reinstated.
This would allow them to employ a part time caretaker and expand use of the facilities.
Former Labour Leader David Scott claimed on Thursday that “There is not one member of this (Labour) Cabinet I would offer a proper job to, not that many of them know what a proper job is”.
The £14,000 a year that these, apparently ineffective, Cabinet members draw in salary payments would be better spent on sustaining local community centres.
Room 217 has opened its doors for the first time to provide housing and support services right into the heart of the community.
Situated on Lindsey Avenue, Holgate, the office forms part of a parade of council-owned shops. With two interview rooms, a small kitchen and a larger, flexible space for a variety of uses, this space breathes new life into a previously a vacant shop unit.