Sparks container village – deadline for disabled access lift passes

Street “art” still dominates Piccadilly

Anyone expecting to see the disabled lift installed at the Sparks site on Piccadilly may be disappointed. Users say that it is still missing despite public promises made to the planning committee in August that it would be available for use by the end of September.

The same meeting was told that the project was highly successful. Others have,however, claimed that many of the original tenants have now quit the site, with only alcohol sales thriving.

Anyone expecting to see the street art graffiti removed from the Piccadilly frontage will also be disappointed. There is no sign of the cladding which should have been provided before the site opened in April.

Sparks have enjoyed beneficial occupation of the site since September 2017

Responses by Council officials to a series of Freedom of Information requests by local architect Matthew Laverack may give rise to even more concern.

The requests probe the role of the York Council as the landlord for the site. They agreed that the shipping containers could be put on the land despite pressure to advertise the site for permanent development. Many regarded the terms of the deal as generous with the Council pitching around £60,000 into the project.

Insurance requirements in the lease have apparently not been met and the Council’s building control section haven’t signed off the site as complete.

The mainstream media have been very quiet about these planning and lease breaches, while the Councils planning enforcement team has so far been wholly ineffective.

The contract allows for the Council to take back the site if, after 21 days, the tenants have failed to pay the rent or complied with their obligations under the Lease.

The Council will likely face an Ombudsman referral unless it gets its act together

NB Empty properties nearby are being offered free of charge on a short-term lease to voluntary organisations. There have been no takers.

Woodthorpe school report on “pupil premium” success to be discussed next week

Disabled access arrangements also being scrutinised

A report from Woodthorpe primary school, indicating how they have used the LibDem inspired pupil premium funding initiative, forms part of the background papers for a meeting next week.

The school received a supplementary payment of over £130,000 last year which was used to raise the achievement levels of children from poorer backgrounds.

The Woodthorpe review  forms part of a wider report which looks at how the “attainment gap” can be closed across the whole of the City.

A special committee had been told  that, by the age of 19, the gap in attainment between disadvantaged young people (as defined by them being in receipt of Free School Meals at age 15) and their peers in York were among the widest anywhere in the country

Disabled access

The meeting will also receive a report on how access arrangements for people with disabilities can be improved particularly at leisure venues.