Tree growth causes sight line concerns

It happens every year to a lessor or greater extent, but low level branches (known as epicormic growth) sprout on some trees.

If left untrimmed they can cause sight line problems for drivers and may even obstruct footpaths. We’ve reported several over the weekend.

Cornlands Road
Cornlands Road
Cornlands Road
Tudor Road
Weed growth around telegraph poles. The Council usually treats these with weed killer.
Weeds are impeding the disabled access gates at some of the entrances to Hob Moor
Overgrown hedge issues have been reported
Better news elsewhere. Dickson Park is looking very tidy.
While Corlett Court residents have turned their flower beds into a blaze of colour
& the Council have done some grass cutting near Herman Walk

Coronavirus York updates – 8th April 2020

Advice for cyclists

Some good advice taken from the Minsterfm web site. https://www.minsterfm.com/news/local/3078679/coronavirus—wednesday-8th-april-live-local-updates/

One family group of cyclists was seen wobbling down the A1237 today. Parallel routes are safer! 

NORTH YORKSHIRE POLICE ISSUES ADVICE TO NOVICE CYCLISTS

bicycle crop

Police are sharing safety advice for cyclists as more people take to two wheels for their form of daily exercise.

Despite quieter roads, police are warning cyclists they still need to take safety seriously, as well as observing new rules to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Government measures allow “one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household”.

The government goes on to say: “When doing this you must minimise the time you are out of your home and stay at least two metres away from anyone else that isn’t from your household.”

Major Collision Investigation Sergeant Kirsten Aldridge said:

“While North Yorkshire roads are quieter, there are still lots of things cyclists need to be mindful of.

“Firstly, quieter roads have led to some drivers dramatically exceeding the speed limit. While we’re trying to enforce this as widely as possible, it puts cyclists and pedestrians at significant risk.

“Secondly, the government measures make it clear that cyclists need to practice social distancing and should only ride alone or with people from the same household. Please remember that, as our officers are out on patrol ensuring people follow these rules.

“Finally, we’d remind drivers that they should always expect the unexpected around each corner, especially at the moment, and pass cyclists at a minimum distance of 1.5 metres when it is safe to do so.”

North Yorkshire Police has also noticed that many new cyclists are taking to the road, including families with children who have started cycling as their one-a-day form of exercise.

The force is sharing the following seven safety tips with novices:

    • Plan your journey in advance and advise someone of where you are going and when you intend to return, especially if you are cycling in a remote location.
    • If you are riding as a family with young children, consider riding routes with dedicated cycle paths to ensure the safety of young children and pedestrians. Please remember that if you are cycling on the roads that vehicles such as HGVs, are still regularly travelling routes in order to move much-needed supplies. Large vehicles might scare and unbalance young children on bicycles when overtaking them.
    • Ensure that your bicycle is road-worthy. If it has been unused for a while, ensure that the mechanisms such as brakes and gears are working and that tyres are pumped up before starting any ride. Brake failure can cause a serious collision.
    • Think about your positioning in the road and whether you can be seen by other road users. Wearing reflective clothing and ensuring that your bike is fitted with lights and/ or reflective discs helps with visibility. Assuming a position towards the centre of the lane where possible maximises the rider’s line of vision and means that other road users have a clear view of you.
    • If you are riding with protection around your face ensure that this does not restrict your head movement and that you are able to look around freely without restriction so that safety checks can be carried out.
    • If you’re riding with your family, help motorists overtake you with the safe distance of 1.5 metres, promoted by our Close Pass campaign, by filtering down to single file.
    • Effectively communicate with other road users, by using hand signals when turning left or right. Try to make eye contact with other road users and pedestrians to ensure that they have seen you.

Sgt Aldridge added: “As long as people follow the government’s rules about how they exercise and observe social distancing while they do it, we want to give people the knowledge they need to ride safely.

“North Yorkshire is a beautiful county with a strong cycling scene and 6,000 miles of roads. That’s plenty of road for everyone if all road users stick to the law, take sensible precautions and look out for one another.”

Takeaway deliveries in west York on Google Maps

Google maps https://www.google.com/maps/ is now listing takeaways that do home deliveries.

Download the app from https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/google-maps/id585027354

In west York they list Buongiorno (tel. 07985 797754), Bengal Lounge (tel. 01904 796666), Taverna Yamas (tel. 07960 920979), Woodthorpe Spice (tel. 01904 700070), Salsa Pizza (01904 788888), Pizza Hut (01904 606222), Tea on the Green (01904 789380) and several others. 

Not sure how up to date it is. 

More deaths from coronavirus at York Hospital

A total of 19 patients with confirmed coronavirus have now died at York Hospital, following a further three fatalities.

Grass cutting and weed control

This service continues.

The Council are maintaining the public highway, which includes highway verges and pavements to keep them in a safe and accessible condition, because:

 • If the grass gets too long it will grow onto pavements causing slip/trip hazards and cause sight line issues at junctions

• if weeds grow on pavements they will become unsafe to walk on

• it will cause longer term damage to pavement surfaces, causing the breakup of the surface

• If we don’t keep the weeds under control at the beginning of the year this will put greater pressures on the service for the whole year.

 All frontline staff, whether gardening or street cleaning are working alone to ensure social distancing.

NB. Please also keep boundary hedges/tree cut trimmed back from public footpaths

Food deliveries

The Council says that  “Staff and volunteers of our community hubs and in the customer centre are continuing to work incredibly hard to support residents who need it. We have attached a document (who we are helping) which sets out who is deemed to be ‘extremely clinically vulnerable’ and the types of support we are offering them and others in communities across the city.

 The extremely clinically vulnerable above are supported by food parcels from community hubs.Government guidance on this group and how to protect and work with them  Click 

 In terms of wider support for residents who have asked for help with food:

 Those who are generally able and financially secure but who are not able to shop are given a list of food delivery businesses and/or link them to the COVID-19 Mutual Aid facebook groups *

  • Older or disabled residents who need help with shopping and are financially secure are referred to specialist voluntary organisations such as Age UK, Good Gym
  • The medically shielded are delivered the Government-provided food which the council supplements especially for those with special dietary needs eg diabetics or coeliacs
  • People eligible for Food Bank vouchers are sent a delivery from the food bank where appropriate
  • People struggling for other reasons ie anxiety, caring responsibilities, mobility etc are delivered a Council-sourced food box put together at the hubs.

 In addition, parents of children eligible for Free School Meals are given vouchers.

 As well as this support volunteers are helping to check on people’s wellbeing by calling individuals to check they are ok and also chat to them for a while to help them feel they aren’t alone.

 Vulnerable people who can ask City of York Council for help on COVID19help@york.gov.uk or 01904 551550.Anyone can ask for help from COVID19help@york.gov.uk   if they don’t currently get help from CYC or the NHS, or have any help from family or friends”.

*NB. The Council have still not published a list of shops undertaking home deliveries despite many requests.

Morrisons

Morrisons now providing an “essentials” telephone ordering/doorstep delivery service for the vulnerable

Yorwaste

Yorwaste has become the latest employer to deploy theuir workfioece in support of street level public services.

Business grants

The Council started to make payments to local businesses on Monday. They will be working over Easter to complete the process. They are also making checks to weed out any fraudulent claims.

We have started making payments, with several million pounds worth of grants processed today. This is an entirely new process and we have a duty to quality assure every payment and protect York businesses grants from potential fraud. We have had 2,500 applications so far and need to run each one through the government’s anti-fraud software before we can process payments; this is to verify bank account details of organisations which have never had a financial relationship with us before. We’ve started contacting businesses as part of that process and appreciate your patience with us whilst we carry this out. Please remember we will only ask you to verify your details and would never ask you to make payments.

Support for children and young people

Kooth (www.kooth.com) is commissioned by TEWV to offer mental health and well -being support to young people in York and North Yorkshire aged 11-18 years. The service provides young people with:

  • An opportunity to access support services anonymously
  • Access to BACP accredited counsellors via online chat
  • Access on to online articles and magazines written by counsellors
  • An opportunity for young people to write their own articles and to share their story
  • Young people can set their own personal goals and are supported by the counsellors online
  • Young people can access the support service from any internet device, 365 days a year.

 Contacts

  • If you have significant concern regarding a vulnerable pupil please contact MASH: 01904 551900, out of hours: 0845 0349417
  • If parents have questions regarding childcare, i.e. OOSC/PVI please direct them to: FIS@york.gov.uk

House building

 To The Council says it is working to avoid delays to the council’s ambitious housing projects which might incur costs or slow the delivery of much-needed homes.

 Lowfield Green

Following a 48-hour pause on construction at Lowfield Green (to complete a thorough risk assessment) a new site working procedure has been drawn up which allows construction of the 140 new homes to continue. The new way of working also keeps building contractor Wates’s employees and their self-employed contractors safely on site.

 Ordnance Lane

Momentum around resident engagement has kept going! A workshop for residents on intergenerational living moved online to involve 19 residents and officers. It used a combination of pre-recorded presentations and a live panel with local residents taking centre stage.

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