A report to a Council meeting* taking place next week (20/7/21) promises that the long delayed decision, which will lead to the confirmation that a public right of way (PROW) exists across Acomb Moor, will be progressed over the next 7 days.
The proposal that a PROW exists was lodged, by the local residents association, with the Council in 2018. It was supported by “evidence of use” forms supplied by many local people. The route links Foxwood Lane to Osprey Close and forms part of a popular walking and exercise route for residents. It also offers a short cut from Acomb Wood to Acomb via Askham Lane.
The meeting will consider the progress being made on several PROW applications including those in Dunnington, Heslington, Naburn, Heworth, Westfield (Acomb Moor), and three orders in Skelton. The report says “publicity for the making of these orders will be happening at the time of the decision session or shortly after”.
The Council last considered the issue in November 2019 at which point they determined to make an order.
Nothing has happened since, with the Council blaming inadequate staff resources for the delay. In the interim – for the first time in over 30 years – the field on Foxwood Lane was put to crop.
An attempt was also made to block the access to the moor. This followed years of neglect of the stile structure. A tree truck was used to obstruct an access which had been in use for over 40 years.
With the pandemic making outside exercise an even more important aspect of daily life, informal access arrangements sprang up at several points along the field boundary. The path around the field (but not across it) continued to be well used.
However, access for the less ambient and disabled became impossible.
The Council failed to take any enforcement action against the owners.
The Council will now make the order and there will be a period of 6 weeks during which objections can be lodged. If any are unresolved, the matter would be referred to the Secretary of State for a final decision.
All in all, the Councils effectiveness in dealing with this issue has been less than impressive. Lets hope that some progress can be made quickly now and that access arrangements to the moor can be regularised.
The programme of repairs to York’s highways network, that will take place during 2021/22, has finally been published. The programme is usually agreed in February. Work has already started on some of the listed schemes.
There is some mixed news in the report which was approved at a “behind closed doors” meeting apparently held on 23rd April.
The highways maintenance programme (which includes not just carriageway and footpath repairs but also drainage, street lighting, City Walls, flood alleviation etc,) is one of the services which most interest residents, the programme has been delegated for officer determination for some years. Thus, the reports are not subject to scrutiny and alternative ways of allocated the budget are not publicly debated.
One key sentence in the report sums up the dilemma faced by the Council.
“Notwithstanding previous levels of investment the current funding levels are not sufficient to keep all our assets in their current condition”.
In effect, the Council has decided to focus resurfacing works on busy roads. Most side roads are being left to crumble.
Some work scheduled for 20/21, including the whole of the micro patching programme in Woodthorpe, has been delayed into the current financial year.
There is some good news.
Several long term problem locations in west York, including parts of Foxwood Lane, Askham Lane near the A1237 intersection, The Green, Bradley Lane near Rufforth, the low numbered end of Gale Lane and Thanet Road are scheduled to be resurfaced this year.
But there is no allocation for repairs on School Street and the surrounding area behind the Front Street shops, nor at many other sub-urban locations.
No footpaths in the Westfield area will be resurfaced.
There is no mention in the programme of the repairs needed to off-road cycle track infrastructure nor is there any listing of how the £1 million delegated “ward budgets” will be spent.
£877,000 of the latter budget, due to be invested last year, is being carried over into the current year. At the very least residents should be given the opportunity to influence how that section of the budget is spent.
All in all its seems that the decline in maintenance standards is set to continue for another year.
Its over 4 months since Councillors told residents that a blocked Public Right of Way (PROW) would be reopened . The access to Acomb Moor from Foxwood Lane had been via a stile for over 20 years.
It gradually fell into disrepair and the Council declined to stabilise it.
An application to define the route as a PROW was submitted in late 2018 and supported by the Council some 12 months later.
Shortly afterwards the tenant farmer blocked the access with a large tree trunk. He went on to plant crops in the field (for the first time in over 25 years).
Local residents agreed to use a footpath route which skirted around the outside of the field and this has become a well established exercise route during the lockdown period.
Unfortunately an assurance from local Councillors – that the tree trunk would be moved to allow for single file pedestrian access – was not fulfilled. As a result an new access point has now been forced near the Askham Lane junction.
Of more concern, many walkers are now trying to climb a 5 bar metal gate. A potentially hazardous activity for the elderly and infirm.
There are other points on the route which have also fallen into a, potentially hazardous, state of disrepair.
There are easy and relatively cheap solutions to this problem. The Lockdown period has simply reinforced the importance of informal walking routes near the City.
The Council should act now to make these footpaths accessible and safe.
Good to see that thePost Box on Beagle Ridge Drive has finally been reinstated. It was first sealed off over 6 months ago
Meanwhile, across the street, the long term empty Council bungalow – which the Council has been unable to re-let – is regularly being vandalised. Several other properties have also been targeted.
We are beginning to lose confidence in the York Councils housing management officials.
The Council has been without a permanent head for its Council housing team for nearly a year now. Estate management vacancies are not being filled despite the housing accounts showing a substantial surplus.
York deserves better
Meanwhile the next Councils meeting agenda has been published. Anyone hoping for evidence that Councillors are addressing the major decline in public service standards will be disappointed.
With NHS staff being undervalued, unemployment rates rising, highway network maintenance standards at a new low, street level crime on the rise and housing in a management vacuum, you might have expected at least the official Labour opposition to highlight the issues. In fact you could reasonably expect most back bench Councillors of all parties to start to seriously question what is going wrong.
But no. Labour use an agenda motion to agonise about transgender recognition. They want to instruct schools to use trans childrens “preferred name pronoun”.
The current icy spell is taking its toll on poorly maintain road and path surfaces. The Council recently agred to undertake some repairs on teb potholed – and well used – section of Foxwood Lane near the sports area. The work has yet to be completed and the potholes continue to pose a hazard particularly for users of two wheeled transport.
The Council promised to repair damaged roads, paths and verges when the building works on Newbury Avenue and Ascot Way were completed. There is little sign of progress.