That was the week that was in York in pictures

York Council needs to have a plan to remedy high profile problems.

“Bottle” bridge is back

Fresh set of bottles and cans disfigure Ouse Bridge in York. It should be possible to fine the culprits, there are CCTV cameras in the area.
Nearby this years crop of parapet weeds are now in flower. No attempt has been made by the Council to remove them despite fears that they may affect the structural stability of the bridge. The issue was first reported in May but the Council has still not responded
We’ve some sympathy with the Council’s grass cutters who have struggled with wet weather this week. Means that several verges, like this is Kingsthorpe, are now overgrown
The grass cutters task isn’t made any easier if garden waste and other material is dumped on verges!
A lot of highway trees are now showing signs of “sucker” growth round the lower trunks. These can cause a problem with sight lines.
Easier to control is weed growth around street furniture. Many lampposts haven’t been strimmed or treated with weed killer this summer.
Footpath widths are gradually being reduced following the failure of the Council to undertake any edging work over the winter period. There are calls now for the weed control function to be taken back “in house” by the Council next summer. The staff employed could be used on verge edging and tree maintenance work during the winter period.
Narrow footpath width and poor surface on Kingsway West forcing pedestrians to walk on verge
Thanks to the Councils Community Safety Unit at the York Council who agreed on Thursday to have the accumulated rubbish in the little Green lane garage area removed.
It’s not just in west York that problems with weed growth on traffic islands is a significant issue. Above from Cllr Mark Warters illustrates the problem on the A166.

Call for Askham Lane footpaths to be resurfaced.

More issues with overgrown hedges reported

The bitmac footpaths on the odd numbered side of Askham Lane need to be resurfaced. The paths are cracking up and are gradually being eroded by the adjoining verge. The York Council has promised to invest heavily this year in getting roads and paths back into a safe condition.
More hedges are now obstructing local paths and cycle tracks. These are in the Gale Lane/Thanet Road area. All have been reported to the Council.
In the same area, weeds are overgrowing the public footpath while the verges haven’t been properly cut this year. Again, we have asked the Council to take action.
Its not just west York that is suffering from the blight of weeds. Councillors on the east of the City are reporting similar problems in villages like Dunnington

York Council promises action on verges and weed growth

A confidential internal memo has been circulated to Councillors reacting to criticism of verge maintenance standards.

It also claims that the weed treatment programme is being brought forward.

Weed control programme brought forward

A senior official says that verges are cut on 10 occasions each year between March and September. He goes on to say “as the rate of grass growth has slowed down, we are now starting to see improvements in the standard of cut, which will continue to improve as we undertake further cuts”.

Verges in the Foxwood Lane area have been subject to criticism, with one experienced local professional gardener saying that the edges are now so overgrown that they will need to be cut with a rotary cutter or strimmed if they are to recover their appearance.

On weeds, the Council says that they are treated in May/June, July/August & Sept/Oct. with a non-residual weed killer.

Weeds on back lanes will be cut promises Council

“This results in the ‘killing’ of all weeds that are growing at the time of treatment but any that germinate after the spray has passed will continue to grow until the next treatment later in the summer”.

“We are all aware of the issues regarding the amount of weeds visible in certain parts of the city, as previously stated this is due to the weather earlier in the year, we have worked with our contractor on a number of ways to improve the situation, as detailed below:

Our contractor has deployed additional resources at their cost.

We brought the commencement of the second treatment forward.

Our staff were deployed last week to start to strim and remove the very large weeds from the back lanes, as these would look unsightly even when dead”

The Council also says that the first cut of the Bar Walls – during in June – has not taken place because specialist equipment (supplied from Germany) has not yet arrived in the City

There has been no official comment from Executive Councillors about the poor standards evident in some parts of the City.

However one Independent Councillor – Mark Warters from Osbaldwick – Is understood to have told officials that a more professional approach to weed control is needed in the city. He says that the service should be brought back “in house”. Like many other residents, he believes that the weed killer used earlier in the year may have been washed off by rain before it had taken effect.

Hedges have been trimmed back form public footpaths

There is one piece of good news to report though, with several householders having cut back hedges from public footpaths over the weekend. This has reduced the number of obstructions on several streets.

Call for clarity on public service standards from York Council

Perhaps not surprisingly, the change in political control of the York Councils affairs has produced an hiatus in decision making. The published forward programme of decisions which need to be made is very thin (click to link)

They new Council Leadership is perhaps wise to be cautious and to avoid the impulsive decision making, in the wake of election euphoria, which has been the undoing of some previous administrations

However, over a month after the polls, residents are little wiser on who now has responsibility for overseeing the different aspects of Council policy and performance. All we have are vague – and seemingly controversial in some quarters – job titles.

The result is a lack of clarity with crucial street level public service standards under pressure. Surprisingly few of the new intake of Councillors have so far communicated direct with the people who elected them. A “thank you for your support” leaflet was de rigueur until recently.

As we reported yesterday, some haven’t even included a contact telephone number on their Council web page yet (click link) NB. Councillors are recompensed for telephone costs through the “basic allowance” that they receive.

Meanwhile there are issues across the whole City which should be resolved quickly. The Councils PR team should be tasked with informing residents what will happen, when and to what quality.

Paths obstructed by overgrown hedges
Grass not cut (Bishopgate Street)
Weeds blighting streets
Verges need cutting

That was the week that was in pictures

Grass round playgound needs strimming

Dustbowl verges on Gale Lane. We will see whether todays rain prompts grass growth

Litter in The Reeves snicket

Rubbish dumped at entrance to Cornlands park

Weeds overgrowing street furniture on Tennent Road

Dumping and full bin at entrance to Bachelor Hill amenity area

Verges need major repairs following excavations

Good to see TalkTalk contractors out n the Danesfort Avenue area repairing verges today. The dry weather has made reinstatement to an acceptable standard a challenge.

But residents are less happy about delays in other verge repairs.

Reinstatements on Foxwodo Lane have been outstanding for nearly 6 months

Concrete drives on Kingsthorpe have been repaired but adjacent verges are an eyesore

Verges in Kingsway West are appalling

Another overgrown cul de sac

The cul de sacs on Kingsway West are a particular problem. Overgrown, weed infested with many bare patches

Time to tackle weeds and poor grass cutting in York

Although the long dry spell has restricted the growth of weeds on paths and gutters in York, much of the City is now looking untidy.

The Council should be well on with its first application of weed killer.

Residents have also complained about the quality of cutting on some verges and amenity areas.

Verges damaged by utility works, although reseeded in come cases, are still bare earth because of dry conditions.

Grass still growing despite dry conditions

Some amenity areas like Otterwood Lane haven’t been cut yet.

Weeds growing in gutters in Queenswood Grove. Verges are untidy

Weeds need cutting back and verges edging on Kingsthrorpe