Potential boost for York’s frontline services
- £1.031 million is used to increase capacity in some of York’s crucial frontline services by utilising £620k that has been unspent and a further £411k of unused contingency fund.
- It is also proposed that an extra £1 million is brought forward from the 2019/20 budget to resurface some of the worst roads in the City, as a result of the recent extreme winter weather.
- Creating a new work programme for footpath repairs across the city.
- Establishing an additional team to carry out pothole maintenance.
- Providing new resources for enforcement teams to control dangerous parking, with a special focus on improving safety around schools.
- Allowing residents who have had recycling boxes damaged or stolen to claim two free boxes per year.
- Using the Economic Infrastructure Fund to support high street shopping in Haxby and Acomb.
- Creating a fund to support voluntary and community groups who wish to develop innovative ideas on how to make the best use of our green spaces.
£8.4 million budget allocated but disappointment for sub-urban areas
The York Council has announced which roads and footpaths will be resurfaced during 2018/19.
There is good news for Askham Lane, Middlethorpe Grove, Skelton, Marygate and the national cycle route 66 (which will get a £1/4 million resurface).
Much of the rest of the budget is taken up by the continuing street light upgrade programme, with £100,000 to be spent on remedying fibre excavation reinstatements and £400,000 on City Walls repairs (up by 25%)
The Council says that the priorities were determined following surveys.
“In order to produce the programme of highway works for each year, information is drawn from a number of sources:
· Visual safety survey of all our roads and footways.
· Digital condition survey of all our roads and footways
· Detailed condition survey of all our roads and footways.
· United Kingdom Pavement Management System (UKPMS) visual and machine surveys
The survey records five condition categories, being grade 1 (very good), grade 2 (good), grade 3 (fair), grade 4 (poor) and grade 5 (very poor).
The City of York Council commission the service of Gaist Solutions Limited who carried out a detailed video survey of the whole of the council adopted highway network. The survey was utilised to assess the condition of all parts of the network.
Each road and footway is assessed and given a ranking (score) based on a range of criteria, all metrics of the network were collated and a treatment solution was determined.
The Council goes on to say that further assessments will be undertaken to identify the impacts that have arisen from the long spells of freezing conditions during winter 2017/18. Where necessary works programmes may be amended to address any change in risk arising from reductions in highway asset condition because of this
Nevertheless some residents may be bewildered when they find that their local footpath has not been included in the programme. Path surfaces in streets like St Stephens Square and Ridgeway are now very uneven.
Probably the worst carriageway in the City is School Street in Acomb which doesn’t get a mention.
There will be pressure for the council to publish the “score” that each road received when surveyed.
With the frosty weather apparently still not behind us, highway engineers will be casting worried glances at vulnerable carriageway surfaces.
Some are already showing signs of cracking. These include Acomb Wood Drive which is on a bus route.
Further along the same bus route the surface of part of Ryecroft Avenue is beginning to disintegrate.
It appears that the Council have also halted this years footpath resurfacing programme.
They should have completed work in the Foxwood area by now. There are rumours of budget overspends (not born out by reports to Council monitoring committees) but regrettably officials have yet to confirm a revised resurfacing timetable.
Hopefully tomorrows Council budget decisions will concentrate n providing adequate funding to sustain basic street level services like these.
Resurfacing work will commence shortly on Bellhouse Way and will subsequently extend into Acomb Wood Drive, Osprey Close and Pheasant Drive, Ainsty Park and part of Foxwood Lane.
Residents within the area to be reconstructed are being offered a discounted extension to, or new, vehicle crossing as part of this scheme, at cost.
With the York Council’s ruling Executive due to discuss it’s first quarter performance later today, a new survey has revealed that many residents are unhappy with public service standards in the City.
Road repairs (60% rated “poor”) and footpath repairs (57%) top the list of woes, but there is also criticism of litter bin provision and car parking arrangements in some sub-urban estates.
Best rated service was recycling (92% rated good or satisfactory), with refuse collection also rated positively (89%).
The Council’s investment in new street lighting seems to be impressing people with 87% now rating it as good or satisfactory.
However there is little evidence that the Council’s proclaimed priority – investing in street level service quality – is having a positive effect.
Dissatisfaction with roads and footpaths is at an all time high.
Councillors today will be given a different set of figures to consider. Their “key performance indicators” are not included on the Executive agenda but can be accessed via the”open data” web site.
This is in itself a step forward from previous years when data was often hidden from residents.
However a closer look at the stats reveals that, not only are most quarter one figures unavailable, but also many of the out-turn figures for 2015/16 haven’t been updated.
No improvement targets are identified.
Quite what “performance” – other than a bland anecdotal commentary – Councillors will therefore be considering later today is a mystery.
The York Council must now put more emphasis on customer satisfaction. Publishing the results of quarterly residents “talkabout” panel views would be a start.
The key message though, as the Council begins to construct its budget priorities for next year, is that residents want to see more invested in repairing our roads and footpaths.
Over 800 residents have signed a Liberal Democrat petition calling for action to fix pavements in Front Street to help those who use wheelchairs and mobility scooters get to the shops.
Westfield Lib Dem Councillor Sue Hunter launched the petition in March after concerns about uneven and damaged paths on Front Street in Acomb. Cllr Hunter says there is a patchwork of different surfaces and levels with a number of broken flagstones and kerbstones. This is causing particular issues for elderly residents and those who use wheelchairs, pushchairs and mobility scoters.
Much of the pavement is privately owned, so the campaign has been calling on local business landlords to work alongside City of York Council. The petition is part of a wider campaign by Westfield Lib Dem councillors to support Front Street and help regenerate the area. 822 residents have signed and the petition will be presented to Full Council on Thursday by Cllr Hunter.
Cllr Sue Hunter, Liberal Democrat Councillor for Westfield, commented:
“I have been overwhelmed by the reaction to this petition and would like to thank all those who have signed. The response shows how big a problem the paths are and how vital it is to get something done. The response also reveals how much residents and local businesses care about Acomb and want Front Street to thrive.
“I have spoken to a number of local people who have suffered falls because of the poor condition of the paths and struggle with wheelchairs, mobility scooters or walking frames. I hope all groups can now work together to take action.
“Improving the paths is part of a wider campaign to support Front Street and encourage residents to shop locally. The work of the traders group Acomb Alive is continuing, including organising the successful Acomb Market last month. We are aiming to create a real buzz in the area to rebuild the community life that Acomb village once had and the area could have again.”
The York Council has been asked to reveal how many reports of problems with defective roads and footpaths it is receiving each month. The request for the publication of information comes in the wake of a Freedom of Information response which revealed that the Council believed that “5% of roads in the City require resurfacing”.
The new Council announced that it was increasing the amount available for maintenance by around £1 million this year. So far no list of streets that might benefit has been published.
The background to the initiative is the absence of performance information which should be (but isn’t) routinely published by the Council. Even scrutiny committees seem reluctant to monitor the number of defects that are being reported and the length of time taken to address issues.
This applies across a wide range of public services in the City.
What is clear is that the cuts on highways expenditure agreed by the last Labour Council have had a major impact on service quality.
The City of York Council will start work week commencing 2nd March 2015 to reconstruct the footway shown on the plan left.
This scheme is programmed to take 5 weeks, weather permitting.
The work consists of fully excavating the footway and reconstructing from the ground up in tarmac, new pin kerbs are to be installed to the rear of the footway and selected road kerbs are to be replaced.
The Contractor carrying out the work will be City of York Council’s Highways department who are responsible for safety and for providing access while the work is ongoing.
The contractor will be working between 9:00am and 4:00pm Monday to Thursday, and 9:00am to 12:30pm on Fridays.
Residents have been offered a discounted extension or new vehicle crossing if constructed as part of this scheme. Anyone wishing to take advantage of this offer should telephone 01904 553130 before construction commences.
Existing vehicle crossing are to be reconstructed to current dimensions.
Nearby, the we have reported the damaged illuminated bollard on the approach to the roundabout as requiring attention.
It is one of several bollards which should be illuminated as an aid to road safety,
but which have been faulty for several weeks.
We think this sort of work should have a higher priority for the Council than putting up unnecessary 20 mph signs at the entrance to short cul de sacs.
The ones on Briar Avenue (right) have already been vandalised.
The City of York Council will start work week commencing 5th January 2015 to reconstruct the footway shown on the plan overleaf. This scheme is programmed to take 3 weeks, weather permitting.
The works consists of taking up and relaying flags, replacing broken and worn ones, and vehicle crossings are to be reconstructed in concrete.
The Contractor carrying out the work will be City of York Council’s Highways department. The contractor will be working between 8:00am and 4:00pm Monday to Friday.