Public service standards improving in York

Good to see that some street level public service standards are improving in west York. As we observed some months ago, the health crisis caused a rethink on street cleansing with a neighbourhood management approach producing better results. This has improvement has generally been sustained

The York Council had a challenging time in 2019 when parts of the City were blighted by weeds following the award of a poorly specified treatment contract. This year the streets have been largely clear of weed growth following the award of a new £58,000 contract to Munro Weed Control.

There are still some problem areas (snickets, back lanes, garage forecourts) but generally standards have improved.

Some progress seems to have been made on long term, seemingly intractable, problems such as rubbish storage and fly tipping in the Front Street back lane area. Notices have now been displayed indicating the penalties for fly tipping. Most rubbish storage areas are now tidier although there are some exceptions

Less good news on highways maintenance. There are still too many uneven road surfaces including long outstanding problems in the School Street area in the Acomb. White line repainting is also behind schedule.

The Councils new graffiti removal service has been successful although utility boxes and some private boundaries are still subject to attack. The utilities in particular take a long time to clean their boxes. We’d like to see the Council team undertaking this work and more effort being made to fine those who are responsible.

Good to see local bus shelters have been repainted. Missing or damaged perspex panels need to be replaced at some locations
Anti social behaviour has been an increasing problem in some neighbourhoods recently

Tadcaster Road clean up required

Disappointing to see litter bins filled to overflowing on the Tadcaster Road entrance to the City. Also some graffiti. We’ve reported both.

Its also disappointing to see that the cycle path near the golf course still hasn’t received any maintenance.

Given that the Council has been rushing around trying to introduce new cycling facilities it seems strange that those which already exist are so badly neglected. Not the way to get people out of their cars and onto their bikes.

Huge amounts of money are on offer to Councils to get issues like this sorted.

cycle path being gradually overgrown. Surface now breaking up.

Too much graffiti on utility boxes in York

As we have said before, these It seems that both utility companies and volunteers have given up on removing graffiti from utility boxes around the City. Several instances have been reported over the last couple of months without a response.

Often local volunteers and Councillors would make cleaning up graffiti a top priority. Environmental crimes like these as it can damage the image of a local neighbourhood. There has been little evidence of that recently.

The real key though is for the authorities to identify and take action against those who are responsible. That also isn’t happening.

The graffiti removal service launched last year – which cleans publicly owned street furniture – has been much more successful.

The annual – pandemic delayed – Great British Spring Clean starts on 11th September. We hope that the Council will include “tag” removal from these utility boxes as part of that campaign.

That was the week that was in west York in pictures

Several suburban shopping streets need a tidy up. We asked for bins at Foxwood to be emptied but the Council now needs to provide more support for businesses that “soldiered on” during lock-down providing lifeline services for some.
Still too much graffiti on utility boxes in the area. Two more reported in the Dijon Avenue area this week
Rain and wind have brought detritus down blocking some drainage channels. We’ve asked for those in Kingsthorpe to be swept.
The footpath at the high numbered end of Tudor Road has been levelled. It had been damaged by tree roots. We expect that the problem will reoccur
However the nearby footpath on Tudor Road is still blocked by overrunning Yorkshire Water works

A major problem across the whole of the City are rapidly growing weeds. The Councils contractors have been seen out spraying but they will have been hampered by wet weather.

As a result many back lanes, footpaths, snickets and cycle paths are now obstructed.

This can be a hazard particularly for the partially sighted.

Hopefully residents, who see an issue near their home or business, will deal with it themselves.

Weed growth and other issues can be reported 24/7 via the Council web site ” click “Report it”

Taking a pride in local neighbourhoods

As “normality” returns to our streets we are looking to the authorities to demonstrate that they have a plan which will see an increase in social pride in local neighbourhoods.

The Councils much hyped “health hubs” are winding down as the premises they occupy – such as libraries – are made ready for a return to their normal uses.

The longer established neighbourhood hubs have yet to reopen although the extended summer holidays mean that demand for their services is greater than ever. Informal meeting places would provide a welcome relief from social isolation particularly for those who have endured lock-down on their own. They are also a potential valuable resource for families during the extended school break.

Many of the venues for these hubs remain closed with no published plans for them to reopen when social distancing rules allow.

Perhaps surprisingly the York Council has yet to address other tensions which are likely to increase as more people are out and about. There is no room on the agenda for community safety at today’s first COVID “Board” meeting. Yet anti social behaviour is already increasing in some estates as lock-down is eased.

Still too much fly tipping despite amenity sites having reopened
Pleased to see that the unused telephone kiosk at the Foxwood shops has finally been removed. Hopefully the Council will get this prominent empty bungalow repaired and re–let quickly now
Still too much self inflicted grief. Graffiti on local junction boxes needs to be cleaned off
Grass has now established itself on the area near the new Osprey Close land drain.
Still waiting for hardcore to be put down on the path to ensure that it remains useable in wet weather
Continuing battle to get road repaired. It appears that the funding delegated to ward has not been utilised. Carriageway surfaces are likely to disintegrate when icy weather arrives.
Some good news with the cul de sac on Kingsway West now swept of detritus.
Ongoing problems reported on the “Save Lowfields Playing Field” Facebook page. Main issues relate to early morning noise, dust and further damage to verges in the Dijon Avenue area. (The latter thought to be connected with BT “Open World” works).

Deep clean for York streets, squares and snickets during pandemic

Nice Work GIFs | Tenor

Over 50 streets, squares and snickelways across York’s city centre have been deep cleaned by frontline crews.

City of York Council is taking the opportunity to do a deep clean whilst the city centre is quieter than normal – so as and when the city is allowed to welcome back visitors, please help by keeping our streets clean and putting litter in the bins.

This also takes into account recently changed government guidance that allows residents to spend more time exercising during the day.

Cllr Paula Widdowson, Executive Member for Environment and Climate Change: “Our front line crews have been doing a fantastic job to cleaning our city centre of weeds, cigarette butts under benches and all those nooks and crannies. 

“They’ve been working round the clock to make our city centre cleaner and safer during the pandemic. Please help them by putting your litter in the bin and making sure we keep our city clean.”

Frontline crews are working 7 days a week to carry out mechanical sweeping (using a small ride on sweeper and various pedestrian controlled machines), litter bin emptying, weeding and manual litter picking.

Staff were previously redeployed to assist the waste services team but have now re-joined the public realm service.

The deep clean includes:

  • the removal of detritus (dust/silt), weeds and cigarette butts from building lines, under benches, nooks and crannies
  • the removal of cable ties and expired notices, stickers etc.
  • cleaning the interior and exterior of litter bins.

The council is also identifying/removing graffiti on council owned buildings, which will also be removed.

rain-water-pothole-jump-fail | Funny gifs fails, Funny whatsapp ...

All council car parks are also being deep cleaned!

The council has worked hard to ensure crucial frontline services can continue despite the pandemic.

All crews carrying out the works will be operating under strict social distancing guidance due to the current Coronavirus restrictions.

The council has worked with trade unions to develop new ways of working and has ensured works can happen in a safe way for front line operatives and the public, whilst the city centre is quieter than normal.

Residents will hope that the teams now move on to deal with the overgrown hedges, weeds, potholes and detritus that impede paths particularly in the sub-urban area.

Time to minimise calls on Council staff time

Although we will continue to report routine issues with local public services over the next few weeks, we don’t expect some to have any priority for the use of resources if the CV virus debilitates the Councils workforce.

Clearly the most important services are those that maintain the safety of the local community.

We’d like to see the Council appoint local coordinators so that the vulnerable have someone to turn to. We recognise that valuable resources like the local “hubs” will have to close but they need to be replaced with technology based alternatives. We look forward to hearing more about the Council’s plans

The Friday Hub at the Foxwood Community Centre has already been suspended.

Local residents groups and Councillors are actively supporting residents.

Hopefully those who are responsible for the graffiti that blights the neighbourhood, those who drop litter and those who allow their dogs to foul footpaths will now change their ways.

NB. The Great British Spring Clean – which relied on volunteer litter pickers – has been postponed until the Autumn.

Still problems with cycle network in York

Its not just the burgeoning number of potholes that are causing problems for cyclists. The Council has fallen behind in many areas with its white line refreshment programme.

Clifton Bridge cycle lane almost disappeared
More instances on graffiti reported today. This one near the Ouse riverbank

Battle of the Monsters

Well not exactly Godzilla vs King Kong but fly posters have gone head to head with graffiti artists to see who can make the biggest mess of the abandoned BT telephone kiosk on Beagle Ridge Drive.

Hopefully BT will remove the kiosk along with the advertising quickly now. They disconnected power to the redundant payphone some 4 weeks ago.

Meanwhile, as possibly befits an upmarket neighbourhood, fly posters have appeared on lampposts near the entrance to the All Saints & Millthorpe schools on The Mount.

They are offering the services of a private tutor. No doubt the teachers at the schools will be thrilled by the development.

More graffiti

The Council will decide today whether to extend its graffiti removal service to include utility boxes. We hope that they will. The professions service introduced 4 moths ago has made a major diffidence to the appearance of parts of the City.

But we would like to see progress made in prosecuting those responsible. It should not be up to taxpayers (or utility company customers) to fund clean ups like these.

Some Councillors apparently want to use “community payback” to do the graffiti removal. From time to time, this might be an option but it does depend on a steady supply of offenders and there would be a supervision cost.

Probably best to give someone a full time job. There are plenty of other clean up tasks to do if, as we hope, graffiti volumes fall..