Weed killing contract list – York Council checking which areas need to be included

Weeds on back lanes will be cut promises Council

The York Council is looking to appoint a new contractor to undertake its weed killing programme this year. The authority was heavily criticised last summer when many areas became overwhelmed with weed growth. It later turned out that’s many roads and other hard surfaced areas had been missed of the contract list.

Now the Council is saying that all “adopted public highways” will be treated at least three times this year. Depending on the weather, there is a possibility of a fourth application of weed killer.

Treatments should start in March or April.

A map of adopted highways is available to view

A map of adopted highways can be found here

Unfortunately, many hard-surfaced snickets, leisure paths, garage forecourts, play areas and school boundaries do not form part of the adopted network (although they are council owned land). Many of the worst affected areas last year fell into this latter category.

Now local Councillors are being asked to carefully check that the treatment lists for their wards are complete. Residents might be wise to let their local representatives know of any problem locations.

The contract will include the test use of non-chemical methods of weed control.

The Council says it will use additional resources to inspect the results of weed treatment.

A percentage of streets in each ward will be inspected following each treatment and the City of York Council expect to see evidence of die back of the majority of weeds in each street inspected within 10 days and any re‑treatment necessary to achieve this standard shall be at the Suppliers expense, within 14 days of receiving written instruction from the Contract Manager and the Supplier must bear all costs of any such re‑treatment”.

This does look to be a positive response from the Council. Hopefully the anomalies on the treatment list can be sorted out and a diligent contractor appointed to undertake the work.

Guildhall contract – further details

York Guildhall

The cost of the redevelopment contract for the Guildhall has been confirmed as £15.4 million. This covers only construction work.

To this must be added supervision, legal and fitting out expenses.

The contract was awarded to Vinci Construction on 16th September 2019.

It is expected that the total will be around £20 million but with substantial annual running costs.

The main use will be as a serviced office location although some Council use will be retained.

Contract awarded to begin shaping the York Central site.

A road, access bridge and rail link essential to the development of York Central have moved a step closer with the announcement that City of York Council has selected John Sisk & Son as construction partner to deliver infrastructure to open up the site.

York central

The contract, the first to be awarded, is for a detailed design review which will lead to a Reserved Matters planning application, due later this financial year.

The approved plans for the York Central site include proposals to build up to 2,500 homes, and a commercial quarter creating up to 6,500 jobs adding a £1.16 billion boost to the economy.

John Sisk & Son will work with the council and partners to refine and finalise the design of the first phase of essential infrastructure for the access bridge, the spine road and the NRM rail link. This will inform a decision by Executive to proceed with a costed construction programme for York Central enabling infrastructure.

Cllr Keith Aspden, Leader of the council, said; “The delivery of York Central is a once in a lifetime opportunity to build much needed affordable homes and new public spaces, attract better paid jobs, and create sustainable transport links for the city.

“We look forward to working with the York Central Partnership to secure further improvements to the scheme and with Sisk to begin this essential first phase of work in preparing the York Central site for development.”

Ian Gray, Homes England on behalf of York Central Partnership, said: “This is a really exciting and important milestone towards the delivery of our ambitious plans at York Central. 

“A lot of hard work has been put in by York Central Partnership to get this far and this contract demonstrates our commitment to delivering the ambition and vision for the site.”

Paul Brown, Managing Director, UK Civils at John Sisk & Son, said:

“We are delighted to have been selected by the City of York Council to work with the stakeholders on this exciting project and to progress the design of some of the key enabling infrastructure. This is a project of huge ambition which will transform underused land in the centre of York into vibrant and distinctive residential neighbourhoods, cultural spaces and a high-quality commercial quarter. We are really excited to be able to bring our broad range of experience and commitment to a collaborative approach to the project.”

The budget necessary to commission this work was agreed by Executive in July 2019.

The York Central Partnership (YCP) members, Homes England, Network Rail, the National Railway Museum and City of York Council, have been working collaboratively for the past four years to develop proposals to unlock the potential of the brownfield site.

The partnership has secured planning approval, subject to the finalisation of the S106 agreement, for its outline planning application and assembled a potential £155m funding package for infrastructure works.

This includes £23.5m of a total of £37.2m from the West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund and Leeds City Region Growth Deal, which will also fund the ambitious plans to transform the front of the railway station.

The West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund has been part-funded through the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Growth Deal, a £1 billion package of Government funding to drive growth and job creation across the Leeds City Region. The aim is to create around 20,000 new jobs and add £2.4 billion a year to the economy by the mid-2030s.

City of York Council has also received a Local Growth Fund contribution of £3.1m, from York, North Yorkshire and East Riding LEP and has agreed to borrow £35m to be repaid using retained business rates from the York Central Enterprise Zone.

The council’s £77.1m bid for the government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund is at an advanced stage, with a decision expected in the autumn.

Weed control contract details revealed

A local Councillor has obtained details of the weed control contract that the York Council has with a Harrogate company.

Many complaints have been lodged about the poor appearance of streets in and around York this summer.

Weed control contract 2019

The contract includes a list of all the streets that should be treated Click here to download. It also specifies the quality standards that should be achieved.

Although it  is a long list, it appears that local Councillors weren’t given any chance to check that it was complete before the contract was tendered early in the spring.

While some weeds have been cleared from the gutters near the A59 junction with Station Road, the nearby underpass has not been treated

The contractor is required to treat car parking areas, back lanes, the City Walls and underpasses on the A1237. Paths should be treated up to the adjacent boundary wall.

One potential area of concern is responsibilities on trunk roads with the A59 a particular issue.

A copy of the contract can be downloaded by clicking here.

Residents have resorted to applying weed killer themselves to one traffic island. They will monitor how quickly the weeds are killed. Elsewhere on Station Road, Poppleton, and on the traffic islands nearby, there is little evidence of treatment by the Council’s contractors.

We hope that Councillors and residents will check their local neighbourhoods and report any weeds that have not been treated.

Before next summer, there should be a review of routes and working practices on this contract.

The Council should make this, and other street level public service contract specifications, available on their “open data” web site.

Weed killing contract in York is worth £135,000

Details of the York Council’s highway weed killing contract have been published. They can be found on the public contracts register (click)

An extension clause means that the contract, which started on 1st May 2019, could continue for as long as 3 years. It is held by Adrian Morrison of Harrogate.

The volume of weeds in gullies, on paths and surrounding street furniture has produced a high level of complaints this year.

While the weather has a major influence on weed growth, lack of supervision of the contract is now a major issue in many neighbourhoods.

Independent Councillor Mark Warters has gone as far as calling for the work to be done “in house”. Failing that Parish Councils might be asked to supervise any work.

Mark Warters intends to apply weed killer to a particularly badly infested road in his ward as a way of demonstrating that improvements can be made and quickly.

Other Councillors should follow his lead.

York weed killing contract

So now the £34.28 million York Libraries contract has been let

A Council official has used his delegated powers to let one of the City’s largest ever leisure contracts. The supplier is confirmed as the current Library management company. The decision was delegated on the basis that the tender received was within the agreed budget. In reality it wasn’t and the Council subsequently had to hike its contribution during its recent budget meeting.

No details of the terms of the contract or the expected outputs have been published. The decision was taken at a “behind closed doors” meeting on 1st March. The Council had however already announced that the contract had been let on 19th February!The old contract was due to terminate on 31st March 2019.

While we hold the York Explore team in high regard – a recent independent report gave them a good review in comparison with libraries in other City’s https://t.co/9R3KnthqUF – we are less than convinced about the transparency of the process used by the Council

The degtails released so far by the Council are reproduced below.

“On 21 June 2018 the Council’s Executive agreed key aspects of the service specification for a new contract for library and archive services. It was agreed that the term of the contract would be 15 years with an option for a 5 year extension.

Authority was delegated to the Director of Children, Education and Communities authority to:

? Develop and implement the procurement framework in line with the terms of the Executive report, and

? Award the contract at the end of the process provided that the price is within budget

Two bids were received. These were rigorously assessed. The financial assessment was undertaken by a team of officers from Corporate Finance. The quality assessment was undertaken by a team of officers with expertise in the relevant areas, supported by two external experts, former heads of libraries and archive services respectively.

The assessment of the bids was on the basis of 60% quality and 40% price.
Neither bid as submitted was deemed to be compliant since neither was assessed as being deliverable within the Council’s affordability limit.
The Competitive Procedure with Negotiation (CPN) under regulation 29 of the Public Contract Regulations 2015 was then used within a second bidding round. This procedure was selected as the best option for CYC to assess the minimum additional resources required to secure the contract in line with our specification and within the original timetable.

Both bidders agreed to take part in the CPN on the basis that an uplift in the affordability limit may subsequently be agreed by the Council. A revised affordability limit was set for round 2, in agreement with the Director of Resources, at £2.432m per annum for years 1 to 4, reducing to £2.232m for years 5-15, a total budget of £34.28m over the 15 years of the contract.

The procedure allowed CYC officers to meet both bidders twice before a second tendering phase commenced in order to provide feedback to each bidder on why their bid had been rejected so that they could subsequently make changes to their bids to make them compliant for round two.
The second tender stage was conducted between 14 and 28 January 2019 and both bidders submitted bids.

The highest scoring bid in terms of quality was that submitted by Explore Libraries and Archives Mutual Ltd. This was also the lowest priced bid.
Budget Council on 28 February allocated additional resources commensurate with the increased affordability limit set out above.

The tendered price is now, therefore, within budget and the contract can be awarded to Explore Libraries and Archives Mutual Ltd.”