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.

Appeal following robbery in Front Street

North Yorkshire Police is appealing for witnesses and information surrounding a robbery in Acomb at approximately 4.30pm on Sunday 23 December.

The incident happened in Farm Foods on Front Street when a man entered the store, stood in line at the till before producing a knife and grabbing an amount of cash from the till.

As he tried to leave the store he was tackled to the ground by a customer before running out of the store. He climbed on his bike and cycled at speed past Domino’s Pizza.

The customer received a hand injury in the tackle.

The offender is described as a White man, aged 30 to 35 years-old amd stocky build. He was wearing a knee length jacket covering over his face.

Anyone who witnessed the incident or has any information that could assist the investigation is asked to contact North Yorkshire Police on 101. Press option 1 and pass information to the Force Control Room.

Alternatively, Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Please quote reference number 12180014807 when passing on information about the incident.

Major programme of mobile phone mast replacements in west York

Telephonica and Vodafone have started an upgrade of their mobile phone network in west York.

The programme involves upgrading their local phone masts and base stations.

Local Councillors are being consulted on the changes.

One – on Acomb Wood Drive – has already been subject of some comment as the height of the mast is being increased significantly.

Most of the others are more simple equipment replacements which the companies say will improve 3G phone coverage in the area.

Cllr Andrew Waller is keeping an eye on the plans. He has already pointed out that the location of the phone equipment outside the Acorn Rugby Club car park on Thanet Road, obscures sight lines for those exiting. He hopes that any new equipment might be set back a little to address this issue.

 

A Tale of Two Cities

York Council says, “Recycle old Christmas lights to Acomb”

The York Council is planning to offer its old Christmas decoration lights, no longer required for the City centre, to Acomb and Haxby.

Front Street Christmas lights

The lights have become surplus to requirements following the decision by the York Business Improvement District (BID) to invest heavily in their own displays. These have already been reinstalled on the Bar Walls in preparation for this year’s festivities.

Christmas lighting in Front Street has improved significantly in recent years thanks to the efforts of local traders and residents.

Acomb Front Street is changing rapidly as the effects of the recession wear off and the efforts of the local trader’s organisation Acomb Alive bear fruits. There are few empty premises in the area while some independent traders may also be set to benefit from budget changes announced on Monday.

City centre lights

But there may be a feeling that the “hand me down” lights proposal once again fails to recognise what is needed to give Front Street a major lift. Residents, in survey after survey, have criticised the uneven surface in the pedestrian area and have called for a holistic solution.

This would involve the owners of the private forecourts, which would have to be incorporated into any paving scheme, cooperating. In turn this could only happen if a full time precinct manager were to be appointed and funded by the Council.

That initiative doesn’t seem to be any closer.

Meanwhile the Council is considering commissioning more reports into the ailing City Centre retail economy. They have been shocked by the decline of Coney Street as a shopping destination, although they claim that the “high street decline” is less pronounced in York than in other City’s.

Visitor numbers – who are not necessarily shoppers – have increased over the last 5 years.

Nevertheless parts of the City, including the Councils own Guildhall building, are looking shabby and need urgent attention.

 

Criminal damage and assault at Front Street shop – Police appeal

North Yorkshire Police is appealing for witnesses and information about criminal damage and an assault in Acomb, York.

It happened at around 6:40pm on Friday 5 October on  Front Street, Acomb at the Kubus Shop.

A number of people were at the scene, and one kicked the front glass door of the premises causing the glass to smash and has resulted in high repair costs. Another male then assaulted a customer inside the shop.

We are requesting the public’s assistance to help establish the full circumstances surrounding the incident.

In particular, we are appealing for information about who was responsible for causing this damage and assaulting a customer inside.

Anyone with information that could assist the investigation should contact North Yorkshire Police on 101. Please quote the North Yorkshire Police reference number 12180186492 when providing information

Acomb Bowling Club development plans recommended for approval

Westfield set to lose another area of green space

The report on this planning application has now been published (click)

It is recommended for approval.

The development, as it is presently proposed, is not in line with residents wishes as expressed in responses to a recent survey. They wanted to see a comprehensive plan for all the sites which lie to the rear of the Library.

There are two significant tissues.

  1. Planning officers claim that no discussions have taken place on the possible extension of the library. We don’t believe this is true The future of the “allotments” land, and also of that to the side of Chancery Court, must be determined together. They are inextricably linked.
  2. To offset the loss of open space on Front Street, officials are proposing a section 106 contribution to provide part of a bowling green at the York RI. This is located in the Holgate ward, about a mile from Front Street. While this may meet the need for bowling facilities (the site is already  green field sports pitch) it does nothing to help Westfield or to address the cumulative deficiency in green space provision in the ward. (It is almost as insensitive as the Councils decision to “relocate” the sports field from Lowfields to land near Bishopthorpe).

There is a very good argument to be made that the Front Street area needs more open space to accommodate the incremental increases in population that are occurring, not least as a result of commercial properties in the area being converted into residential accommodation.

This latest proposal just adds more pressures onto the rapidly diminishing areas of green space in the area.

The planning meeting is open to the public and takes place on Thursday 4th October at 4:30pm at West Offices. The planning committee will visit the site the previous day shortly after 10:00am.