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.

Revised plans submitted but York’s oldest bowling green still under threat

Developers have submitted revised plans for the development of the Acomb Bowling Green site on Front Street. The plot is located behind the Acomb Explore Library.

The revised plans can be viewed by clicking here

The main differences in the revised plan are:

  • – 10 as opposed to 11 dwellings are proposed
  • – Change in the layout
  • – Clarification of proposed ground levels
  • – Widening of vehicle access in front of the public house to facilitate deliveries

There is no evidence that the Council, as the owner of the library site and the former allotments next to Chancery Court, is engaging on the future of their parcels of land.

The new plans do appear to provide for a potential access to these areas but fall far short of the hoped for comprehensive regeneration plan.

Council officials were instructed to buy the bowling club land some 10 years ago but failed to negotiate a deal. (The purchase would have allowed the club car park to be used by the Library, although bowling activities could have continued)

Residents of Vyner House have already petitioned against the proposals which would remove not only York’s oldest bowling green, but would also see another area of green space lost from within the Acomb neighbourhood.

Any development should ideally embrace accommodation aimed at older people (amenities are on the doorstep) as well as providing much needed office space for the Library, Police and neighbourhood workers.

There were hopes that a “pocket park”could be incorporated which might include some allotment beds.

Residents can object to the current plans via the Councils planning on line web site click here The planning reference is 18/00586/FULM

Dumping blights back lanes in York

We were sorry to see that rubbish is piled in some terraced streets in the City. Nothing depresses an area more than fly tipping so the Councils robust level of fines are probably justified – albeit sparingly used.

In the Green Lane area yesterday we found two examples of dumping. The area now has 100% wheeled bin operation which has reduce litter drift. But, since the closure of the local recycling centre on Beckfield Lane 6 years ago, problems with dumping have increased. They are exacerbated by relatively high charges levied by the Council for removing bulky waste  

Regular visits by skips to estates were stopped about 2 years go. This decision has also impacted on how tidy our streets are

So something needs to change.

Recycling pont in Acomb Car park needs a “makeover”

Poor commercial storage arrangements at back of Front Street

Rubbish accumulating in Gladstone Street back lane

Rubbish in Howe Street back lane

 

Opposition mounting to Front Street building plans

Pensioners petition against proposal to develop Bowling Green

Acomb Bowling Club

The Council has told the proposed developers of the Acomb Bowling Club green on Front Street that they need more time to come to a view on their proposals. They say that there are access and other problems associated with the proposal to build 11 houses on the site.

comment on planning application

The news came after it emerged that a petition, signed by pensioners in an adjacent block of flats, and objecting to the loss of green space had been lodged with the Council. The pensioners were also concerned about potential noise nuisance from the site.

Sport England have also sounded a warning about the plan highlighting the continued erosion of sports pitches in the Acomb area.

Concerns have also been raised about the impact on the local bat population and other wildlife in the area.

The Council’s own heritage officer has pointed to the historical significance of the site. It is thought that there may be important archaeological deposits in the area.

Comment on Planning application

Although the balance of comments is against the development in its present form, perhaps surprisingly local amenity societies, Ward Councillors and adjacent property owners have so far failed to make their views known.

The proposals – which could jeopardise plans to bring derelict land to the rear of the Library back into use, while providing much needed accommodation for older people – are a particularly poor piece of incremental planning.

Hopefully a more coherent plan for this part of Front Street will emerge now.

Acomb Front Street improvements – report published

More flower tubs are promised

The Council is set to consider the latest report on the future of Acomb Front Street on 3rd July.

The area has had a boost in recent months with fewer empty properties and plans announced that would see several empty upper floors brought into residential use.

Nevertheless, the long-term future of the shopping area remains unpredictable, so investment of up to £100,000 is to be welcomed. Some of the fund will be spent in Haxby.

Back alleys need better refuse storage and cleaning

Part of the money is 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 are planned for Front Street as are better signposts (wayfinding)

The Friends of Acomb Green have been allocated £5000 for “recycling area improvements” in the car park although it is unclear precisely what this would involve. (The bins could do with repainting although overfull containers, and litter drift, have been the main sources of complaint).

The Council could make a start by cleaning its noticeboards on a regular basis

A further £23,000 of the budget will be allocated later in the year.

The project has moved forward only slowly over the last 3 years.

The results of our survey undertaken in 2017 revealed that residents had clear priorities for the improvement of the area.

Residents priorities for Front Street 2017

Top of the list was the need for a level pedestrian surface across the whole of the precinct.

Achieving this would have required negotiations with the forecourt owners.

Little progress seems to have been made although consultants are now to be appointed to produce an economic masterplan for the area. They are expected to report in December 2018.

Front Street racial abuse incident – Police seek witnesses

Officers are appealing for information and witnesses following a hate related public order crime.
The incident occurred at Morrisons on Front Street, Acomb when a man was subjected to threatening and racially abusive language.
The offence occurred at around 3pm on Wednesday, 20 June.
Anyone with information which could assist the investigation is urged to contact North Yorkshire Police on 101, selecting option 2, and ask for PC David Ellison. You can also email david.ellison41@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk
If you wish to provide information anonymously then information can be given to the independent charity Crimestopper on 0800 555 111.
Please quote reference 12180110039 when providing information.

Contact details: DAVE ELLISON david.ellison0041@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk Incident reference: 12180110039