York playgrounds to get overdue refurbishment

…but there is a catch

The York council plans a £250,000 make-over of playgrounds in York. Their plans will be discussed at a meeting next week. The initiative is welcome, but the timetable produced means that improvements in our parks will not be evident until late next year.

Many of York’s playgrounds are poorly maintained with litter, weeds and dog fouling common problems

Standards in many parks and playgrounds have declined in recent years. They have been an easy target for Council expenditure cuts. As a result, it has been left to volunteers to undertake minor refurbishment work while items of broken equipment have often remained unusable for months on end.

The Liberal Democrats – who are now part of the leadership of the Council – advocated for many years that at least one piece of equipment at each major playground should be renewed each year. This would have ensured that there was something novel to engage children’s interest on a regular basis while avoiding the whole-scale decline, and eventual expensive renewal, of complete play areas.  This approach seems set to be abandoned by the new Council leadership.

We agree with the report, which has been written by officials, when it says “Whilst the number and geographical spread of equipped playgrounds is therefore generally good, their play value is more varied. This reflects their age and sporadic local and national investment that has been available”.

The report promises an “audit” of all playgrounds with a view to identifying “urgent investment needs e.g. replacement swings, seats, surfacing repairs”. The budget for this work will be £150,000. The report lists the qualifying play areas but omits some such as the one  in Dickson Park on Tedder Road.

More controversial, is an allocation of £100,000 as a “challenge fund” for larger refurbishment schemes. One feature of these is that matching funding will be expected from parishes or social housing providers. In theory the fund will be available in non parished areas but the examples of fund raising quoted in the report (Poppleton, West Bank Park) refer to typical “Middle England” neighbourhoods where fund raising for new amenities is relatively easy.

It’s potentially bad news for areas like Westfield (the statistically poorest part of the City) which also has a high proportion of under 16’s in its population

The area has suffered badly as a result of recent Council decisions which have seen the removal of open spaces, sports facilities and the multi user games area at Kingsway West and Lowfields.

It seems that it may also be last in the queue for improved play facilities.

West York still blooming in autumn sun

There is lots to admire before the seasons change in west York. Much voluntary effort has gone into making our community colourful this year

Acomb Wood offers a delightful opportunity for a stroll thanks to the hard work of the Friends group
Volunteers help to clear litter from the Foxwood Park. Lets make their job easier by doing our bit
Flower tubs around the Foxwood area are maintained by volunteers

The Foxwood Residents Association will be supervising the planting of more spring bulbs tomorrow. There will be an increased number planted in Dickson Park

Also in Dickson Park, the Residents Association will be discussing, at their meeting on Wednesday, the planting of additional trees. A suggested layout has been provided by the local TREEMENDOUS charity. The meeting, which commences at 7:00pm, is open to all residents who live in Foxwood

Tree planting plan for Dickson park

Taking back control

Residents are increasingly being forced to take direct action to cut back the weeds and branches that are impeding roads and footpaths in York.

Some Parish Councils are planning to spray or otherwise remove the weeds that have have blighted many parts of York this summer.

The Kexby Parish Council are understood to be considering paying a local farmer to spray the paths and gullies on the A1079.

Weed growth near Kexby has prompted action from the local parish Council and City Councillor Mark Warters

In parts of west York, which don’t have Parish Councils, residents associations are forming action groups aimed at getting the streets cleaned up.

Weeds on back Beaconsfield Street/Front Street were reported 3 months ago. They have not been treated and have grown to the point where they are obstructing access.
Some of the weeds have been cut back but they have revealed a major accumulation of rubbish. The Council has been asked once again to clear the vegetation and detritus
Insecure rubbish storage arrangements exacerbate the problems on back Front Street.
Thorn bushes obstructing the Tithe Close snicket were reported to the Council 3 weeks ago. No action was taken.
A residents action team have trimmed back the hazardous branches from the footpath. Again though the Council needs to have the snicket thoroughly swept.
A similar situation is developing on Dickson park where bushes are now obstructing footpaths.

Some progress but more local issues reported in west York

The hedge which was obstructing the snicket linking Gale Lane and Bachelor Hill has been trimmed back.
Unfortunately the potentially hazardous thorn hedge branches on the Tithe Close snicket (they are at eye height) still need to be cut back from the footpath in two locations
Ideal growing conditions mean that hedges and bushes can quickly obstruct footpaths. This one is near the Dickson Park. We hope that all residents will check their boundaries
We’ve reported littering of the children’s playground at the Cornlands Park. Mostly beer cans! Unfortunately the spring closing mechanism on the fence gate is not working. This means that dogs can access the area. This may lead to fouling problems. We ask users to make sure that the gate is kept closed./
Continuing problems with litter on some snickets in the Thoresby Road area. There is a growing need for some enforcement action.
Some Councillors are now pressing for the Councils weed treatment schedules to be made public. Scenes like the above on The Reeves are not uncommon these days.

More problems with hedges blockng footpaths

Pedestrians should take care when using the Tithe Close/Tedder Road snicket. A potentially hazardous thorn branch is overhang the path at eye height.
The Reeves snicket is also being obstructed. We’ve reported the increase in litter in the area.
Even more overgrown is the snicket link from Gale Lane to Bachelor Hill. More dumped rubbish also reported.
Although attractive, the roses on Dickson park also need trimming back from the footpath
Similar problems on Askham Lane
Potholes a problem for cyclists at the Dijon Avenue/Lowfield Drive junction
At the same location there is little evidence of weed treatment.

Work starts on edging park footpaths – more on Lincoln Court

Dickson park footpaths being edged. Residents are seeking similar work in other areas

The Kingsway all weather games area is now in good condition and available for use. Unfortunately the Council has decided to scrap it and have ignored a request from Sport England that a replacement be provided elsewhere. The decision is now subject to a formal complaint

The scaffolding has been removed from Lincoln Court. We understand that work on installing a new boiler, pipework and a full rewire of the building – together with the construction of 10 additional flats – will not commenced until the late spring at the earliest. In the meantime most of the building is likely to remain empty.

Windsor House may also be empty for a period of time. Demolition work can’t start until a replacement central heating system has been provided for Lincoln Court

Busy day for Lord Mayor in Foxwood

The Lord Mayor of York Cllr Keith Orrell had a busy day when he and the rest of the Civic Party visited the Foxwood area yesterday.

First up was the unveiling of an interpretation board at the newly renamed Dickson Park (Tedder Road)

Sir William Forster Dickson had a varied RAF career which started in the First World War

The Civic Party later dropped in at the Foxwood “Hub”. This is an increasingly popular event held each Friday lunchtime at the Foxwood Community Centre. Pictured here with officers for the Foxwood Residents Association