Call for compensation after Council confirms that it did not consult on building compound location

In response to a Freedom of Information request the York Council has now confirmed that it did not consult neighbours or local Councillors before issuing a license which allowed a building contractor to occupy the “old allotments” site at the rear of the library car park.

This site has been owned by the Council for over 15 years. The developers of the adjacent bowling Club land (which does have planning permission) had previously said that they did not want to combine the two sites to provide a abetter overall layout.

Work on the site disturbed residents living in South View Terrace and part of Lowfields Drive.

The first that residents knew of the arrangement, was when heavy plant moved onto the site and started to clear it. This prompted complaints about noise, dust and vibrations.

Spoil heap heights reached over 4 metres at one point.

Local fauna and flora on the site were badly affected.

The Council now says that it granted a license to occupy its land on 8th April. There was no consultation undertaken with neighbours.

Residents complained to the Council on 16th May about the problems being caused.

It wasn’t until 28th May that the Council wrote to affected neighbours telling them about the license.

The Council says that working hours on the compound are restricted to 8:00am – 6:00pm, Mon – Fri plus 9:00am – 1:00pm on Saturdays.

The Council says that “The compound licence requires the developer to leave the property in a clean and tidy condition at the end of the licence, including the removal of hardcore”.  

It goes on to say that it expects the compound to be in use for 12 months.

An investigation into whether the developers have the necessary planning permission to use the building compound is still underway.

In our view affected residents have suffered unexpected and unreasonable disruption and should be entitled to compensation.

It is possible that the matter may be referred to the Local Government Ombudsman

Report casts light on life in Acomb since Roman times

An archaeology report, produced as part of the investigations into the bowling club development project on Front Street, has provided a further insight into the history of the village.

The report says that, “in February 2005 On-Site Archaeology carried out an archaeological evaluation on the disused allotments located immediately to the west of the current site. Within one of the evaluation trenches two small pits containing late 1st to mid 3rd century Roman pottery were recorded, cutting into the natural sand. A residual sherd of late 1st to early 2nd century pottery was recovered from a subsoil deposit in one of the other trenches”

The allotments land has now been bulldozed to form a building compound. No mitigation measures have been taken to preserve or record any archaeological remains on that site (which is owned by the York Council).

The report goes on to say, “There is no evidence of occupation during the Anglo-Saxon period although the name ‘Acomb’ is Anglo-Saxon in origin meaning “at the oaks”.

“The mediaeval period is when the village of Acomb took on a known form with the focus of the village being the area between The Green and Front Street. Acomb is listed in the Domesday survey of 1086 as a manor with 14 rent-payers. The Church of St. Stephen is an 1830 construction replacing an earlier 12th century church with possible pre-Conquest origins. Archaeological work has taken place behind 12-26 The Green, which produced evidence for mediaeval domestic activity and possible ploughsoil relating to medieval crofts or garden plots An evaluation carried out by OSA in March 2007 to the rear of 95 Front Street revealed late medieval boundary ditches containing pottery dated to the 15th and 16th centuries”.

The findings of the investigation can be read by clicking here .

A report on contamination on the site can be read by clicking here

Weeds making Front Street shopping area look neglected

Weed growth is becoming a significant problem in many streets in York. None more than in the Front Street shopping area. This is a shame as it would take little effort to tackle the issue. It would be within the capabilities of volunteers.

The neglect brings into question the sincerity of the Council who claim to want to reinvigorate retail areas.

Weeds on Front Street
More neglect

We’ve also reported fly posting on the nearby noticeboard.

Latest planning applications for the Westfield Ward

Below are the latest planning applications received by the York Council for the Westfield ward. 

Full details can be found by clicking the application reference 

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Acomb Bowling Club Front Street York YO24 3BZ

Conditions 3,4,5,6,8,9,& 19 of 18/00586/FULM 

Ref. No: AOD/19/00169 

Relates to signed acceptance form; Phase 2 Site investigation report on archaeology; a Site Archaeology Ltd survey report on the significance of existing buildings, a contamination report and a highways dilapidations report.

The developers have discharged a condition requiring a record to be kept of the buildings that were on the site together with their history. A separate report charts the development of Acomb since Roman times. No reference is made to the controversial work taking place on the adjacent “old allotments” site, which is under investigation by planning enforcement officials

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Hob Moor Community Primary School Green Lane Acomb York YO24 4PS

Conditions 3,6,7,8,8a,8b,12,13,14 and 15 of 18/01475/GRG3 

Ref. No: AOD/19/00168 

Relates to archaeology

——-

23 Otterwood Lane York YO24 3JP

Single storey side extension 

Ref. No: 19/00889/FUL 

——

Representations can be made in favour of, or in objection to, any application via the Planning on line web site.  http://planningaccess.york.gov.uk/online-applications/

NB. The Council now no longer routinely consults neighbours by letter when an application is received

Anger mounts as York Council ignores complaints about spoil heap on Front Street

As reported earlier in the week, residents living next to the Library in Acomb were dismayed to find that demolition contractors had taken over the adjacent Council owned land. The trespass apparently formed part of the plan to build on the bowling club

Plan shows Council owned site which has been bulldozed

Several days later and things are even worse.

A 4 metre high mound of spoil has now appeared. It is only feet from the gardens of nearby homes

Spoil heap is nearly 4 metres high

The Council appears to have done nothing other than send an environmental protection officer to the site to make an inspection.

The Council has remained tight lipped about whether they have granted permission for the work and whether the actions of the contractor breach planning regulations.

There are also questions about whether the activities conflict with the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981

There are complaints about early morning activities. Construction work on the bowling club site is conditioned not start until after 8:00am,.

It is very disappointing that the Council has not acted more promptly to reassure residents about what is going on.

Not a good start for the authorities new Executive members of whom we had expected better.

Building works annoy Front Street residents

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Works have started on the demolition of the bowling green buildings on Front Street. Planning permission was granted last year which allows developers to build 10 houses there.

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The proposals were highly controversial as they ruled out a coordinated development which would have secured the future of the Council owned land (former allotments) to the rear of the library car park as well as the open aspect at the back of Chancery Court. A holistic approach was favoured by those residents who completed an opinion survey.

The planning committee inexplicably agreed a Section 106 contribution to the provision of alternative sports/green space facilities but at a site located in the Holgate area.

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Now local residents are complaining about the noise and disturbance being caused by the contractors. It has been suggested that the contractors are trespassing on the Council owned land, which itself has a nature conservation role.

Residents have called on local Councillors to take action to ensure that the contractors respect the amenity of neighbouring properties

The future of the former allotments site needs to be clarified quickly by the Council which has owned it for over 10 years.

It was slated to be an extension to the library incorporating a “pocket park” to retain a green aspect for the benefit of the Front Street area.

However no progress has been made on that project.

Spring clean anyone?

As we’ve pointed out over the last few days, many of our public open spaces are looking clean and tidy at the moment.

In west York parks and amenity areas provide an attractive informal opportunity for leisure although in the Westfield ward several are under threat of development.

But there are several areas where litter and fly tipping are a problem. In some cases, items dumped many months ago still haven’t been removed by the Council.

Time for some action we think.

Fortunately, there is an active residents association in the Foxwood area and they have promised to support a month of action in their neighbourhood.

Elsewhere in the Westfield ward residents are currently less well organised so some proactive management is required.

Actions speak louder than words

Shortly there will be local elections in the area. Some candidates are already delivering literature. Both Labour and the LibDems have been seen on the streets this weekend.

The Tories have resorted to employing a contractor to deliver their leaflets They candidly admit that they don’t actually have any candidates, with only a few weeks to go before nominations close.

But no matter. If the candidates or all parties want to impress why don’t they individually organise a “spring clean” in a problem area? This might help to make a favourable impression on voters as well as enhancing the local environment?

The Keep Britain Tidy organisation coordinates an annual Great British Spring Clean campaign. This year the campaign will run between 22nd March – 23rd April 2019 and will focus on removing single use plastics from our open spaces.

Please visit their web site for more details https://www.keepbritaintidy.org/get-involved/support-our-campaigns/great-british-spring-clean

Grange Lane wood – extensive fly tipping and litter a continuing issue

Dumped mattress in Acomb Wood has been there for several months.

 

Litter in back Front Street is a constant problem

Fly tipping on Chesney’s Field reported twice

Acomb Explore Library set to get £2 million boost

Acomb Explore Library

Papers released by the Council this week suggest that a major upgrade to the Acomb Explore Library will be completed by 2022. £4 million has been set aside for works at the Acomb and Clifton Libraries in the Councils budget.

The news will be welcomed in Acomb. It is 10 years since land was acquired to the rear of the library which was intended to accommodate an extension. The hope was then that the building would become a “one stop shop” for public services. It would have partly replaced the neighbourhood “Acomb Office”  which Labour closed in 2013. There was hope that policing and health activities might relocate to the site.

The Council says, that the priority is “for investment in Acomb, to build on the great success of that Explore Centre, and in Clifton to transform the quality of service in that area. Individual business cases will be brought forward during 19/20 demonstrating how the investment will contribute to delivering service transformation and driving the generation of additional income streams”

The announcement comes amid rising tensions over the future of the libraries contract. The Council invited tenders last year for continuation of the service – which is currently provided via a social enterprise organisation.

There has been no official confirmation that the existing provider has been allocated the new contract which is due to start on 1st April 2019.

The Council also last year agreed a planning application which will see houses built on the adjacent bowling green site. Objectors at the time stressed the need for a holistic solution to the redevelopment of all the vacant plots in the area.

Where’s the money gone? Front Street poser

Recycling pont in Acomb Car park still needs a “makeover”

Last June, the Council announced a £100,000 boost for the Front Street area.

The mood in the shopping area had been more buoyant as several additional independent shops announced plans to open while more upper floors were to be brought back into use as residential accommodation.

Part of the Council budget  was to be spent on bolstering existing activities with the aim of increasing “footfall”. These include additional grants to the ADAM arts festival and an improved Acomb Alive Christmas lights display.

Additional planters were planned for Front Street as were better signposts (wayfinding)

The “Friends of Acomb Green” were allocated £5000 for “recycling area improvements” in the car park although it was unclear precisely what this would involve.

Nothing more was heard about this project with the bins still badly needing at least a coat of paint.

More worrying is the lack of progress in getting the whole of the precinct levelled and paved. This was the top priority identified by residents following a door to door survey.

Consultants were to have been appointed to produce an economic masterplan for the area.

They were expected to report in December 2018.

There is no sign of any report nor is its publication included in the Councils forward programme of decisions.