Residents anger over Council plan to remove security railings

Local residents in Lowfields are objecting to plans to remove the railings which protect their garden boundaries.

The plan by the Council to replace the railings was first revleaed on tyhis site at the weekend.

According to their Facebook site, the Lowfields Residents Action Group is leading a campaign to get the Council to consult neighbours on their plans.

Their main concerns are about the appearance of a new fence, its impact on the natural environment, damage to existing landscaping and the money which would be wasted if the existing railings – which are in good condition – were junked.

Separately the Council has announced today that it will commence construction work on the site in two weeks time.

It is writing to residents telling them about a consultation meeting which is taking place next week and which will involve the Wates building contractors

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The Residents Group has responded saying, “We think this is pretty short notice for a consultation event.

The letter includes an evasive reference to “Yorspace” who we understand are still struggling to find funding for their communal living site.

It also pointedly doesn’t admit that the Council have failed to find a developer for their proposed elderly persons care home.

Nothing more either, on the public buildings (Health Centre and Police station) which seem less and less likely now to happen.

This means that there is no chance of building work on the whole site being finished within 2 years”.

Have your say on proposed modifications to York’s Local Plan through 6-week consultation

From Monday 10 June, York residents, businesses and other interested groups will get the chance to comment on additional evidence and proposed modifications to the city’s Local Plan.

Planning inspectors have asked for the six-week consultation period before examining the plan at public hearing sessions later this year.

The consultation will ask for comments on the following additional evidence and modifications, including:

  • removing housing site allocations at Queen Elizabeth Barracks, Strensall and Land at Howard Road, Strensall),
  • formally revising the Objectively Assessed Housing Need (OAN) from 867 to 790 dwellings in York each year for the duration of the plan. 
  • amendments to the greenbelt boundary have also been proposed, in order to take into account recent changes such as planning decisions in York and the removal of the Strensall Barracks site.

To have your say, visit www.york.gov.uk/localplan. The consultation will end at midnight on Monday 22 July 2019.

Hard copies of all of the consultation documents will also be available in West Offices, Station Rise and York Explore Library. The main consultation documents will be available in all libraries and Explore Centres in York.

The removal of site allocations – totalling 550 dwellings – follows a recent visitor survey commissioned by City of York Council, supported by Natural England, which highlighted that there would be significant effects on the integrity of the Strensall Common, a protected site, if the proposed housing sites adjacent to the Common remain in the Local Plan. 

The reduction in the housing need figure reflects updated national projections for population and housing growth which forecast lower growth than was previously projected. The additional Green Belt Topic Paper Addendum provides further detail on why and where the proposed green belt boundary has been drawn.

The Planning Inspector has asked for the consultation as they consider these issues to be fundamental to what they are examining the soundness and legal compliance of the plan. This will give all interested parties the opportunity to comment on the proposed changes prior to the hearing sessions.

The Inspectors have directed that the consultation is open to the general public for a period of six weeks and has also advised direct consultation with the Ministry Of Defence, which owns the barracks, and Natural England.

The consultation will only look at these specific modifications and not other aspects of the plan such as the other proposed site allocations. All aspects of the plan will be examined by the Inspector during the subsequent hearing sessions. 

All the representations received during the consultation will be processed and sent to the planning inspectors, who have committed to holding the public hearing sessions as soon as possible after that.

You can read all correspondence with the Planning Inspectors at www.york.gov.uk/localplanexamination

York’s Local Plan

The Local Plan is a framework to guide and promote development, and to protect the quality of York’s unique historic, natural and built environment. The document sets strategic priorities for the whole city and forms the basis for planning decisions; it must be reviewed at regular intervals to be kept up to date.

York’s Local Plan was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate in May 2018.  For more details on the process and progress to secure a Local Plan for York, visit https://www.york.gov.uk/localplan

Minster changes take step forward

A refined set of plans which would see significant changes in the area around  York Minster have been published.

A copy of the prospectus can be downloaded from this link

The proposals are both ambitious and respectful tot eh heritage of both the Cathedral itself and the surrounding City.

They include a new “Queen Elisabeth Square” adjacent to the west end of the Minster. This is a welcome move towards the pedestrianisation of Duncombe Place. A vehicular access route – which will apparently still accommodate the Railway museums “Disney” train – has been retained.

The role of Deans Park as a quiet part of the City centre has been respected.

Likely to be more controversial – with the devil being in the detail – are plans for new buildings in the area where Constantine currently sits. The Roman will be rehoused further down Deangate, where he will be joined by a statute of Queen Elisabeth II

 A separate Deangate cycle track is planned ending the present shared space arrangement with pedestrians. Access only restrictions will be enforced ending the visits of parents to the entrance to the Minster School. They will have a separate drop off point at the end of Duncombe Place. The school itself will get enhanced facilities.

St Williams College will be brought back into use – not before time – and will accommodate Minster office staff. It is an old building, with an arcane layout, so good look to them with that.

The existing Church House administration offices will be converted into flats which will be rented out.

There are plans to develop the Deanery garages as residential accommodation for workers.

That may not suit everyone and there are some potentially awkward interfaces with the surrounding community. The new square, for example, doesn’t seem to make the best of the possible linkages to Stonegate.

But overall the proposals represent good progress and are being progressed in an inclusive way which reflects well on their authors.

Responses to the consultation can be made via this link The consultation closes on 16th June 2019.

York Station front – 1,500 public consultation responses

Councillors will receive an update on the York Station front project and be asked to approve the submission of a planning application and the progression of the scheme to detailed design when they meet on Thursday 29 November.

The York Station front project aims to revitalise and re-imagine the historic station to ensure it is a fitting and prestigious gateway into York.

The project has had significant public interest, with nearly 1,500 responses during the extensive public consultation. This has lead to design changes for Executive to now consider.   Permission to enter into land acquisition negotiations with stakeholders and landowners is also requested.

York Station consultation leaflet

The York Station front masterplan has four main aims:

  • create new public spaces and a more inclusive, pedestrian-friendly experience
  • create an improved setting for the City Walls and other heritage buildings in the area
  • make it easier to change between modes of transport
  • keep vehicles and pedestrians apart

If approved, it is proposed that the planning application based on the amended masterplan will be submitted soon after.

Changes to the masterplan following the consultation include:

  • Moving the cycleway on Queen Street to reduce conflict with on street parking spaces
  • Providing safe access for cyclists to the station from the west-bound carriageway
  • Provision for a suitable system for managing rail replacement buses
  • Incorporating appropriate counter-terrorism measures that are sympathetic to the station setting

The station masterplan is based on eight key features which work together to improve how the space is used in front of York Station. It is dependent on removing Queen Street Bridge to create extra space, which would then be used to separate vehicle and pedestrian access, create new open areas and reveal long-hidden views of the City Walls.

Executive takes place on Thursday 29 November from 5.30pm and is open to members of the public or is available to watch live online 

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Extra time to give views on Fossgate improvement plans

Residents and businesses now have an extra week to give us their views on proposed plans to improve Fossgate, on of York’s most loved and vibrant shopping streets.

People have until midnight, Sunday 21 October to tell us their thoughts on the plans. They can do this by visiting www.york.gov.uk/fossgate or in the foyer at West Offices.

Fossgate is set for a £500,000 investment, and the council wants your views on measures to enhance and attract more visitors to the vibrant, distinct street in the heart of York.

Earlier this year, the council changed the direction of traffic along Fossgate, significantly reducing the amount of through-traffic along the street.

The council has been engaging with businesses, residents and the wider city to refine the plans which include:

  • Relaying the road surface and repaving the Yorkstone paths, replacing any tired or broken parts
  • Creating more attractive junctions at both ends of Fossgate, and widening the narrow footpaths at the Pavement end
  • Introducing new wider ‘built-out’ sections and street furniture like bike stands, benches and possibly trees
  • Introducing new ‘speed tables’ and crossing points

You can view the proposals and have your say online at www.york.gov.uk/fossgate or in the foyer of West Offices, Station Rise, YO1 6GA

York Minster plans changes to the Precinct

Pedestrianisation of Duncombe Place back on the agenda

York Minster is consulting on plans for the area surrounding the Cathedral. 

The Minster authorities are preparing a masterplan to explore how the Precinct could evolve in the future to meet the changing needs of its community and visitors. The Minster Chapter recognise that it is a sensitive and complex area of the City and its future care must be planned for carefully.

The intention is that the masterplan will be adopted as part of the City’s planning policy. It will provide the Minster with a clear strategy for the next twenty years and will be used to secure funding for individual projects.

The Minster is working with the City of York Council, Historic England, a wide range of stakeholders and the community to get the best plan in place. It is at a very early stage. An exhibition in Deans Park explains what they hope to achieve through the masterplan process.

Residents and visitors are being invited to give their ideas, suggestions and thoughts.

You can download the full masterplanning PDF here

Your can take the online survey and provide feedback here

or if you prefer, print the survey here and send back in via post to Masterplanning, Church House, 10-14 Ogleforth, YO1 7JN

The consultation will run until midnight on Saturday 30 June.

This is a welcome initiative from the custodians of York’s best known landmark.

The City can’t stand still and some proposals – including the pedestrianisation and paving of Duncombe Place – are long overdue.

However, the devil (him again) will be in the detail and not everyone will share the Chapters view that Deans Park should be a more lively place. An “oasis of calm” in a busy world might get more votes!

Finding funding for the public infrastructure works is likely to be a particular challenge 

Still there is room for improvement and most would be delighted if the historic St Williams College building was brought back into use. 

York central consultation leaflets dumped

Disappointing to see so many “York Central” consultation leaflets left in the foot-wells of flats in the Kingsway West area. Not a very effective way of spending taxpayers money.

Problems also with graffiti, broken glass, and detritus in the same area. All reported to the Council for attention.

“Festival of York Central” exhibition – Dates announced

The York Central Partnership is launching the ‘Festival of York Central’ and calling on the people of York to join the conversation around the site and help shape this part of the city for future generations.

An exhibition exploring the emerging masterplan for the development is at the centre of the festival, and will be open to the public from the 21 March to 27 April 2018, in The Gallery at the National Railway Museum.

Accompanying the exhibition, My Future York are organising a wide programme of events, under the My York Central project. This will include walking tours, workshops and speaking events, to further capture the needs and ideas of York residents and explore the challenges that York Central faces. The full programme of events and timings will be available at www.myyorkcentral.org.
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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.

Oakhaven replacement plans on display this week

Last year, care company Ashley House won a contract from the City of York Council to design, build and operate an “extra care” sheltered housing complex at the site of the old Oakhaven care home on Acomb Road.

Oakhaven site

No planning application for the project – which is running over a year behind schedule – has yet been submitted but according to the Councils web site initial plans are being unveiled this week.

Drawings will be on display at Acomb Explore Library on Front Street from Thursday March 1 to Thursday, March 8.

A public event is also being on Thursday, March 1 from 4pm to 7pm at York Medical Group, 199 Acomb Road, York.

The site has been hit by controversy in recent years with the adjacent police station being threatened with closure. It was initially thought that that site would also be incorporated into the new development.

In addition, the nearby Carlton Tavern pub narrowly avoided an attempt to replace it with a new care home. That controversy is still ongoing.

The expectation for residents will be that a holistic plan for the whole neighbourhood will emerge quickly.

Oakhaven was closed by City of York Council in late 2015, as part of its plan to close authority-run homes which it says are out-of-date, and not up to modern standards.

The new “state-of-the-art” development will provide 56 apartments for older people, and will include a lounge and dining room serving hot meals.

People can also view the proposals or comment online by clicking here or via email  to OakhavenDevelopment@york.gov.uk.

The consultation is only open until 8th March