Anger as parking problems not addressed by York Council officials
Council officials are recommending that plans to build on the garage site on Newbury Avenue are given the go ahead.
The issue will be discussed at a planning sub committee meeting taking place on 3rd May.
On the previous day (10:15am Wednesday 2nd May), Councillors will be visiting the site. They will no doubt be able to see the parking problems which already exist in the area.
Residents may attend both meetings and can register to speak at the committee meeting. To do so residents should telephone York 551088 before 5:00pm on 2nd May.
The officers report is negligent in at least one way. Objectors have pointed out that the loss of 28 garages – and with them an equivalent number of off street parking spaces – will have a major impact on congestion and parking problems on the estate.
The report offers no response to this concern.
There are already problems when large vehicles and buses try to access the narrow roads. The problems have got worse since the Council stopped new lettings at the garages while the overspill from the Hob Stone development has also hit the Windsor Garth area.
Now the Council is also threatening to redevelop the Windsor House site on Ascot Way. Again it has given little thought to the parking problems that will emerge both during building works, and afterwards.
It could mean that major building works will take place within the next year at both sites at the same time – a recipe for transport chaos with the only available access to the estate being the relatively narrow route from Kingsway West.
Some objectors to the Newbury Avenue plan have demanded that alternative off street parking spaces be provided before demolition starts. They have pointed to several sites where the provision of matrix protection on grassed areas would provide an option while retaining the green appearance of the estate.
Currently an increasing number of vehicles are being parked on these grassed areas anyway – resulting during periods of wet weather in unsightly damage which is expensive to repair.
NB. Efforts are being made to form a new Hob Moor Residents Association in the area. The residents group will focus on opposing the Councils plans for the estate and will seek additional investment to address existing problems.
The old Kingsway Area Residents Association (KARA) was disbanded about 5 years ago.
Residents only have until 11th April to record any objections to plans to demolish the 28 garages on Newbury Avenue.
There is a lot of concern that the planning application, to build 5 bungalows on the site, has been submitted before work on providing alternative, off street, car parking in area has even started.
Although the bungalow proposal has received more support that the original plan to build a block of flats on the site, parking problems have increased in the intervening 2 years.
As long ago as 2012 the Council stopped letting the garages when they became vacant. Some were used for temporary shortage, but several have remained empty.
There is a long waiting list of people wanting to rent garages in the area.
These underused garages, together with the pressures put on spaces by visitors to the new Hob Stone development, has led to a campaign by local residents to get more off-street parking (Email Hob.Moor@btinternet.com).
Last year, local Councillors identified at least 8 possible sites.
These included one on Kingsway West with the rest being on Windsor Garth and Ascot Way. The plan was to use matrix surfacing so the spaces continued to look like they were still part of the green areas (the technique has already been used successfully on other plots in the estate).
The spaces were to have been partly funded by the “Ward Committee” who have a delegated budget of around £50,000 a year. Initially it was hoped that lay-bys would be provided in 2016 but this didn’t happen.
A report to a recent meeting has now confirmed that none of the 2017/18 financial year laybys will be completed before November 2018 at the earliest.
To add to transport pressures on the estate, the Council is also considering major redevelopment plans for the Lincoln Court/Windsor House site which could further add to parking and congestion problems on estate roads.
Inadequate parking provision has led to access problems for larger vehicles and the bus service.
Objectors to the planning application – who can ask that the planning committee impose a Section 106 agreement requiring the developer to fund 28 alternative parking spaces before any work commences – should be Emailed to the Council at firstname.lastname@example.org quoting reference 18/00410/GRG3 before 11th April.
After many representations by residents, supported by local Councillors, the little Green Lane garage area forecourt and access road has been resurfaced.
The area now looks quite tidy, although it will be important to ensure that there is no more fly tipping and that undergrowth is cut back from the boundaries.
Good job done though.
Liberal Democrat Councillors successfully proposed, at least nights budget committee meeting, that funding for the garden maintenance scheme be restored.
A Tory Councillor – who subsequently resigned from his executive position – had proposed a £46,000 cut in the budget for the service.
It meant that nearly 100 elderly and disable residents – who are physically unable to tend their gardens – would have lost Council assistance.
Now the cut has been restored.
The funding will come from the Housing Revenue Account the income for which comes from Council tenants rents.
The housing account is expected to have a £6 million surplus during the next financial year.
Elsewhere in the Councils investment capital) budget, now includes a provision for improvements to Council garage areas.
Many garage sites need to have their forecourts resurfaced, boundary fences repaired and undergrowth removed.
Residents have complained about the slow progress being made in providing parking lay-bys on some estates in west York. As reported yesterday, the Westfield Ward improvement programme is running nearly 12 months behind scheduled.
One problem area is Dijon Avenue where – because of the estate layout – only carriageway parking is possible for some properties. That space has now run out.
Dijon Avenue is one of the roads due to get an additional parking bay this year (near the amenity area)
Better news, though, on bringing empty garages back into use .
As we reported in February large numbers of Council owned garages in west York were empty.
Some had been unused for over 5 years.
Following work by LibDem Councillor Keith Aspden, the Council agreed to implement repairs where these had been the cause of the voids.
Work was ordered for garages in Bachelor Hill, Marston Ave., TheWandel/Chapelfields Rd., Wains Rd., Sowerby Rd. & Woodlea Ave., Most of these repairs – mainly to doors and brickwork – have now been completed and the garages have either been let or are under offer.
A large number of garages are, however, due to be demolished. This will exacerbate problems particularly in the Windsor Garth area.
Residents will expect the Council to invest in alternative off street parking before any demolition takes place.
The Council has promised to provide up to date details of vacancies on its web site, to advertise voids on local noticeboards and to engage ward Councillors in re-letting campaigns.
That represents progress, but it remains a concern that it took so long to re-let garages.
One consequence was a loss a loss of around £22,000 a year in rent income.
The current position on vacancies is shown below
Some longstanding empty garages in places like The Wandle and Bachelor Hill have disappeared from the list.
The Council has also updated its Westfield Ward news page.
489 registered on waiting list for garages in west York
Figures released by the York Council confirm that there is a high level of demand for Council garages in west York.
There are waiting lists at most blocks with the most popular being at (little) Green Lane where 24 residents are seeking a garage. Ironically this is a garage area which the Council have badly neglected. It suffers from an uneven forecourt, overgrown boundaries and occasional fly tipping.
One applicant for a garage in Dijon Avenue has been waiting since 2009!
Despite this the Council records that there are 67 garages currently vacant.
One garage in The Wandle has been unused since 2005!
Part of the problem has been a moratorium on the letting of garages in blocks which may be redeveloped.
This has affected 15 garages in Chaloners Road, which have been empty since 2014, while 21 garages in Newbury Avenue have suffered a similar fate with most empty since 2012. The development plans for Newbury Avenue are still in a state of flux so the Council is losing £500 a month in rent from that block alone.
Proposed new charges for garages have also been announced by the Council (see below)
We think that the Council should be much more proactive in trying to let empty garages. In many areas “on street” parking space is very limited and some residents resort to parking on verges. In turn this causes damage which is both unsightly and expensive to remedy.
The Council web site should be updated regularly with a list of garages that are empty, while Councillors should ensure that a list of garages, which are available, is displayed on local noticeboards
NB. The figures provided cover the Westfield, Acomb, Dringhouses and Holgate Wards. There are a similar number of Council garages on the east of the City
The York Approved Garage Scheme is holding its first training seminar on 7 November 2016. Guest speakers include the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), DVLA and the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).
The training, which has been organised by the Approved Garage Scheme, has been devised to support those in the industry tackle some popular issues and will provide important updates on the changes in legislation from April 2017.
The CAB will deliver a talk about the advice they give callers with complaints about vehicle sales and servicing. This will provide businesses an opportunity to be proactive in their service and an understanding of common customer complaints.
Weeds 1 York Council 0
The York Council has now acknowledged that weed control in the City in general – and Acomb in particular – has been inadequate this summer.
They are even suggesting that the contractor who was supposed to treat the weed growth may not have been doing the job correctly.
This will come as no surprise to residents with weeds in some streets now over 3 feet tall.
One of the biggest problem areas are the forecourts of rented garages,
which have been badly neglected by the Housing Department.
It is not just weed growth, damaged perimeter fences and poor surfaces that plague the garage areas, many are subject to dumping.
Time, we think, for the Housing Department to invest some of its £12.7 million surplus in raising standards in our estates.