The Yorkshire Water’s work on Tudor Road, which is intended to provide services to the Lowfields development, continues to make slow progress.
Tudor Road and the public footpath were blocked for a couple of weeks from 15th June. Work on the main carriageway continued until early July. It was expected that delivery lorries to the Lowfields development site – which had been using Dijon Avenue – would then return to using the authorised Tudor Road entrance.
That hasn’t proved to be the case with lorries still trundling down Dijon Avenue each day. It seems the 2 month duration will pass before there is any relief.
Meanwhile the section of the site reserved for the Yorspace communal housing scheme has been taken over by Wates builders. They have established a spoil heap there and are also storing other materials on the site. Apparently the cooperative still haven’t actually completed the purchase of the land and it remains unclear whether the promised homes will ever actually get built.
It isn’t just the Lowfields building site which is causing concerns for local residents. People living near a site on Windmill Lane – ironically also being built on playing fields – have also raised concerns about work going on during unauthorised hours.
All planning permissions list the permitted hours of work and these usually exclude Sundays while weekday working may be limited to 8:00am – 6:00pm.
Windmill Lane residents say that workers were on site from 7:30am on Sunday. There are also issues with heavy plant trying to access the site via unauthorised routes and well as concerns about wildlife conservation.
The problems will sound familiar to residents in the Lowfields area where more details of the Tudor Road closure- effective from 13th June – have been published.
“Normal working hours will be Monday to Saturday 8am to 5pm. It would only be in exceptional circumstances or in case of emergencies that we would work any later or on Sunday’s. It is highly unlikely that there would be any overnight work.”
“For the first 2 weeks the road will be closed entirely in both directions but pedestrian access will be maintained. Vehicular access will be available for residents and deliveries in Tudor Road up to the point of where our works will be.”
“Access to the garages between 77 and 87 Tudor Road will not be obstructed as they are not directly in our working area. Any customers who will be impacted have been contacted by Barhale and will be consulted whilst the scheme is taking place to tray and minimise disruption.”
“Access will still be available to the homes near Gale lane from the Gale Lane side of Tudor Road. The works will only be in the vicinity of 59 to 69 Tudor Road.”
“Equipment that will be used will include a 20 tonne excavator, 9 tonne dumper, hydraulic breaker, compaction and cutting equipment.”
“The compound will have a generator on site and will usually be off overnight. However, if there is wet and inclement weather it may be required to dry the teams clothing.”
Local Councillors say they’re pressing for improvements for pedestrians and cyclists in the area.
Local residents in Dijon Avenue are, however, already seeing large vehicles using the street even though the authorised access for Tudor Road is still currently open.
Residents have complained bitterly on the “Save Lowfields Playing Field” Facebook page as contractors Wates step up their activities. The main complaints concern noise and dust although the parking of plant on public highways has also been an issue.
Promised repairs to verges have not been completed.
It appears that more disruption is in prospect as a two week closure of the Tudor Road entrance to the site is due to start on Saturday 13th June. Apparently a full closure of Tudor Road will be in place for two weeks during which time a sewer will be diverted from the school site.
From Monday 29th June for one week there will be a partial road closure with one lane closed and the road controlled by traffic lights. The closure will affect access particularly to 100-108 Tudor Road. The bus service will be diverted although First York haven’t yet confirmed their diverted route.
During this period heavy plant and deliveries will revert to using the Dijon Avenue access to the site.
The Council has let down the people of Lowfield very badly on this project. They should not be building on playing fields. Any development of the former built footprint of the school, should have been scheduled for completion over a maximum of 24 months.
Now timescales are stretching out with no progress being made on the health centre, “police station”, elderly persons accommodation, self-build, communal living plots or even in providing the promised additional off street parking spaces for Dijon Avenue residents. .
Progress is being made on providing football pitches and a luxurious clubhouse near Sim Balk Lane – mainly funded by contributions from the Lowfields development.
There seems to be no prospect of the open space and playgrounds being provided at Lowfields unless and until the whole of the development is completed.
That could be 5 years or more away.
The health crisis will affect the housing market in ways that can only be guessed at. It seems possible that the Council may end up being unable to sell the bulk of the 140 homes that it is currently building. Their decision to set up an “in house” sales team already looks suspect (and expensive)
Altogether an ill judged, poorly managed project which reflects no credit on the City of York Council
Condition 33 (Education places) financial contribution of £438,182
Condition 31 (Football pitches) financial contribution of £300,000
NB. This is the money that is part funding the provision of football pitches near Bishopthorpe. Another contribution is coming from the developers. The location of the new pitches is nearly 3 miles from Lowfields. Work there has been ongoing for 6 months.
The controversial decision not to spend the funding in the local community nearer Lowfield was made by the City of York Council.
No progress on providing improved active leisure provision in the Westfield ward has been made.
The Council will be publishing its highways resurfacing programme for the next financial year shortly. There is now a major backlog of work in the area. It is not just potholes that need filling. Large areas of carriageway and several footpaths need patching or resurfacing.
The present Council promised to reconstruct all highways in the City, so it will be interesting to see the extent of next years programme.
Problems with verge damage in the Dijon Avenue area have escalated since building work started on the Lowfield site
This application contains a large number of details changes to the Lowfield plans. Some were submitted as long ago as August but have not been subject to local consultation. Many are minor in nature or will have little impact on the existing local community. Some are more far reaching including a proposal to remove the existing perimeter metal railings and replace with a wooden boarded fence.. Leaving aside the additional costs involved in such a proposal, the railings are valued by some neighbouring house owners as they offer good security. They also allow wild animals such as hedgehogs to move freely around the neighbourhood. We think that individual neighbours should have been consulted on these changes.
Winter will be with us soon now and with it the risk of icy weather. Frost damage, to a poorly maintained highway surface, can be devastating making expensive reconstruction work inevitable.
Residents are being urged to report any potholes so that they can receive attention. There is rightly some scepticism amongst residents with reported highway defects often marked up with paint but then seemingly left for months before work is undertaken