After seemingly years of inactivity, the Council has made good progress in installing new, off street, parking spaces over the last few weeks. The funding for the bays was made available from delegated ward budgets and the “housing estate improvement programme”. More work is needed, but hopefully the new budgets, which will be available from Monday, will allow more speedy progress to be made over the next year.
The badly damaged grassed area in Doherty Walk – which is used for car parking – will have matrix protection installed.
The move has been confirmed by the Council following strong representations from the local residents association. The proposal was also backed by Cllr Sheena Jackson and the housing departments local estate manager.
It has taken several months to secure funding for the £16,000 improvement, work on which is expected to start in the spring.
Matrix surface protection has been used extensively elsewhere in the Westfield Ward.. It has proved to be popular in locations such as St Stephens Square and Windsor Garth.
The process involves installing a plastic matrix on an area and allowing grass to grow through. It has the advantage that it continues to look like a natural grassed area, allowing safe recreational use. It continues to be mowed in the same way and water drains naturally reducing the risk of flooding. Vehicles can drive over the matrix surface without damaging the grass.
The Council is under pressure to provide similar improvements at other locations on the west of the City.
While the Doherty Walk changes are manly being funded from the housing account (rent payments), other areas may benefit from the recently revived “Ward Committee” funding pot.
With over £12 million sat in the bank the York Councils housing revenue account has never been healthier.
Freed by the last government from the requirement for any “surplus” Council house rent income to be put in a national pot, the York Council is free to make its own decisions on priorities.
It is unlikely that tenants will wait much longer for a statement of intent from the new coalition rulers at the York Council. The 4 month forward programme of topics, likely to be debated by the Council’s new Executive, was published yesterday. It noticeably fails to include any reference to estate regeneration plans.
Most estates are affected by neglect.
Foxwood tenants have been asking for better parking for several years and this is a demand repeated elsewhere in the City.
Lack of storage space for flat dwellers is another issue particularly for those who have families.
In Chapelfields the need for more parking space is now critical while the state of two of the three garage areas is shocking (see below).
A review of the, York Councils, Housing Business Plan is being put off until July.
The new plan was to have been revealed at a “Cabinet” meeting scheduled to take place next month.
Instead, apparently the Darlington Borough Council are to be involved in a “peer review” of Council Housing management in York. Darlington is also a Labour controlled local authority.
The delay will come as little surprise to many tenants who have complained about lack of progress with much needed estate improvements. There is a long list of outstanding work including many requests for improved car parking, better security, renewal of fencing and upgrades to communal areas.
It appears that, despite the backlog of work, this years (2013/14) estate improvement budget may not be fully utilised.
The Councils decision, not to use some of its £13 million surplus to buy additional Council homes on the open market, should be scrutinised.
NB The Council have again put off considering a report on how to deal with parking enforcement problems on Council estates.
The issue was first scheduled for consideration last autumn, but is now unclear when – or even if – the matter will be debated.