Hedges ripped out near Lincoln Court

Hedges are being ripped out by contractors in preparation for the start of building works at Windsor House and Lincoln Court.

The new disabled centre, which will replace Windsor House, does have planning permission. It is understandable that developers Sewells will want to remove the hedges before the bird nesting season starts.

Work to the rear of Lincoln Court is more controversial. A planning permission granted in December was found to be flawed. This forced the Council, to submit a new application which has yet to be determined. It has attracted a lot of objections including a significant one from Sport England.

It is therefore premature to undertake work in that area.

Copies of the Lincoln Court planning application together with details of objections can be found by clicking here 

Contractors removing hedge from school playing field boundary

Hedge to side of Windsor House has already been removed

£4.7 million contract awarded for Lincoln Court and Windsor House redevelopment

Lincoln Court

Notwithstanding the fact that the York Council still has an planning application outstanding for the redevelopment of Lincoln Court, it has gone ahead and awarded a construction contract covering the building, and a plan to establish a centre for disabled children on the Windsor House site.

The £4.7 million construction contract has been awarded to Sewell’s, the company who were involved in the PFI deal on the adjacent Hob Moor school development 15 years ago.

The number of tenders received for the work has not been revealed by the Council.

The completion date for the contract is 31st January 2021.

Major changes on Ascot Way & Hob Moor school playing field agreed

Council planning report was wrong on Lincoln Court extension claim

Lincoln Court. Work has started on replacing windows. Concerns about parking

Plans to provide a centre of excellence for disabled children, modernise & extend Lincoln Court and move part of the Hob Moor school playing field were approved last night.

Generally, the improvements will be welcomed.

Unfortunately, the planning committee failed to recognise and act to deal with the cumulative effects that these developments – coupled with others previously agreed – will have on transport systems in the Kingsway estate.

Embarrassed Council officials, at yesterday’s planning committee meeting, were forced to admit that the 10 additional units planned at Lincoln Court were not “extra care” beds as claimed in the Council report.

Instead they will be similar in function to the sheltered flats which form the existing development.

The distinction is a major one as extra care beds imply a much higher level of care need while the occupiers of conventional sheltered flats are more likely to own cars.

They will need somewhere to park them.

The committee declined to require that a rear entrance be provided to the new site. This would have permitted greater integration with the adjacent Hob Moor Oaks school which caters for children with disabilities and might have been used to address overflow car parking, delivery, emergency vehicles access and other transport concerns.

Nor was the committee prepared to even ask transport officials to review the cumulative impact that planning decisions are having on the Kingsway area.

It is difficult not to conclude that the Councils leadership is prepared to casually dismiss the wishes of a community which has lacked leadership since the local resident’s association folded 5 years ago.

The relatively beleaguered inhabitants of the area – amongst the poorest 10% of the population in the country according to some government statistics –  are viewed as less likely able to “raise a stink” than might their “middle England” counterparts in other parts of the City.

 Consequently, the Council has felt able to ignore their legitimate requests for improvements that have been tabled in response to successive development consultations.

Multi User Games Area – late development

Sport England have sent a late representation to the Councils’ planning committee reaffirming their views on the future of the MUGA on Kingsway West.

They say that they HAVE NOT agreed to it being demolished.

Council officials, in a report to the committee,  had given the impression that a holding objection had been withdrawn.

 

Now Sport England have unequivocally said that, if the existing MUGA is demolished, then a replacement facility must be provided nearby.

Such a facility must be available before the existing MUGA is demolished  and must be available for public use.

The planning committee is meeting tomorrow (Thursday) at 4:30pm

 

Residents sceptical about Council planning applications.

Concerns ignored in committee report as play, congestion and parking fears rise

Kingsway area residents have expressed concerns that their views have been ignored in reports being presented to a planning committee meeting on Thursday. The reports consider plans for new developments in the area on Council owned land.

Newbury Avenue

The lack of alternative car parking provision was a major issue in the Newbury Avenue area when planning permission to demolish 28 garages was granted last May. The planning committee specifically required that 4 alternative spaces be constructed before demolition works started. This would have involved moving a telecoms cabinet which would have taken about 8 weeks to complete. 24 weeks later it turns out that the Council have only just asked the telecoms companies to act. Rather disingenuously the Council states that, as the garages are now all empty, demolishing them will not add to the parking problems in the area. They don’t admit that, despite a long waiting list of people wanting to rent them,  the Council stopped new lettings in 2012. It was this action that has contributed to the parking problems which are already apparent in the area.

Hob Moor School playing field

It has been known for some time that the Council intended to expand by building on the school playing field which lies to the rear of Windsor House and Lincoln Court. It came as something of surprise to many residents that this included the demolition of the Multi User Games Area (MUGA) Early in the consultation process the Council said that any sports or play facilities that were affected would be provided elsewhere on the site.

This is now under question.

Children’s ball games facility threatened

The proposal at Hob Moor school is for  “a playing pitch on presently unused land to the east of the school together with an area of informal “Forest School” activities including a wetland, timber walkway and a fabric covered outdoor teaching space”.

The new location, “ comprises an area of unimproved grassland which partially includes an area of derelict ridge and furrow of good quality which represents a survivor of a once more elaborate area surrounding the outskirts of the City and dating back to the Medieval period”.

There is no mention of either an all-weather kick about area or any other play facility being re-provided.

Windsor House

The redevelopment of this site mentions the need for” a Community Use Agreement” for the new school playing field.

It is unclear with whom the agreement would be, for what hours and via with what access route?

The report on the Windsor House site dismiss the concerns raised in a petition collected by local residents. Officials accept that the local highway network is sub-standard (too narrow to meet modern standards). They claim only about 18 car trips a day would be generated by the 42 members of staff who will work at the new Children’s Centre. They claim 13 parking spaces will be adequate.

The officials conveniently forget that parking problems in the area have already been exacerbated by other building works including the 66 additional homes at Hob Stones.

Changing lifestyles mean that many more delivery vans also now visit the area.

At the very least the Council should ensure that there is a service road provided, from the parking area at the Hob Moor school, to the rear access to the centre. This might reduce the traffic impact on Kingsway West while providing an access for mini buses carrying disabled children and for deliveries.

Lincoln Court

Lincoln Court. Work has started on replacing windows. Concerns about parking

The proposal would see an additional 10 “extra care” bedrooms provided on the site. There are currently 22 apartments located on there. These are

being modernised with work having started recently on providing new double glazing. These will generate additional traffic and parking demands.

The report makes the outrageous claim that the MUGA is “disused”; something that officials apparently told the Sports Council in a bid to get them to withdraw their objection to the closure plan.

In fact, the Council suspended routine maintenance on the facility while discussions took place and later secured the entrance to prevent use. Funding had been made to provide “off the streets” activities there last summer but this was never implemented.

The MUGA has now been renovated and is once again usable with surrounding vegetation cleared back

It seems that west York faces a further loss of green fields and play facilities.

Inadequate parking provision will blight the area while congestion levels will increase

The neighbourhood deserves better.

Disabled children’s centre site plan 1

Lincoln Court expansion plans 2018

 

Petition calls for Kingsway area road improvements

Andrew Waller who is backing the petition

A petition has been handed to the York Council demanding that roads in the Kingsway West/Ascot Way area be improved before there is any additional development in the area.

At the moment the only access to the estate – which contains over 600 homes – is via the section of Kingsway West lying between Danesfort Avenue and Ascot Way.

Residents point to congestion problems for buses, emergency vehicles, bin wagons and delivery lorries.

The numbers of off-street parking spaces has been criticised. Residents feel this will get worse following a decision to demolish garages on Newbury Avenue.

The petition was prompted by an announcement that the Lincoln Court sheltered housing building would be expanded. In addition, the adjacent Windsor Hose site will become a centre of excellence for disabled children.

The principal route into both  these developments would be along Kingsway West and Ascot Way.

Campaigners have called for a service road access to be created from the adjacent Hob Moor Oaks school site where many of the disabled children spend their school hours.

The future of the Multi User Games Area (MUGA) on Kingsway West is also under threat as officials are understood have targeted it for use as a building compound

The petition reads;

“We the undersigned request the York Council to undertake the following improvements prior to any further building work starting in the Hob Moor area

  1. Improve the access road along Kingsway West/Ascot Way, removing, where necessary, the grass verge
  2. Provide dropped kerbs or lay-by parking where this doesn’t already exist
  3. Provide alternative, modern, children’s play facilities before any existing provision is removed”.

The petition is being backed by local Councillor Andrew Waller.

The planning applications are expected to be considered by the Council at a Planning Sub Committee  meeting taking place on 6th December starting at 4:30pm

Plans for Centre of Excellence for Disabled Children revealed.

Ascot Way proposals generally welcomed

The plans to establish a new centre for disabled children on the former Windsor House site on Ascot Way were generally welcomed at a public meeting held on Monday. The plans will now be discussed at a Council Executive meeting next week

The Council says that the new building will be the setting for a range of support services which will enable disabled children to remain in their families and in their community, delivered from a safe, accessible space

  • Flexible short break provision to meet the needs of children and young people with Autism, Learning Disabilities and/or additional health needs.
  • Family Intervention Rapid Support Team (FIRST) and Therapeutic Short Breaks a specialist Clinical Psychology led intensive assessment and intervention service for families with children and young people who have Autism and Learning Disability and challenging behaviour which affects their ability to live in the local community

The facility will be linked to Hob Moor Oaks special school. Disabled children will be able to walk to the new provision after school, instead of being transported across the city on minibuses. Part of the playing field of the school will be used for the project.

The buildig will replace the facilities currently provided at The Glen.

The scheme is imaginative and worthy of support. However, the proposal to retain the front entrance (and therefore vehicular access) via Ascot Way is controversial. There are already congestion and parking problems in the area. An access, with car parking,  via Hob Moor school would address this issue, while offering the opportunity to provide better accessibility for Lincoln Court.

The detailed plans also suggest that an outdoor play area be provided adjacent to Lincoln Court. While many older people like to feel involved in the local community, inevitably playgrounds can be noisy places. We think that the location of this part of the facility should be reconsidered.

Residents will hope that any building work on the project will not take place at the same time as the threatened development of the Newbury Avenue garage site.

Illustrations of what is proposed are reproduced below

£1.5 million cut from York children’s centres as eleven set to close

Westfield axed, Hob Moor retained

The Childrens Centre at Hob Moor school is being retained

The Childrens Centre at Hob Moor school is being retained

The Council is planning to replace most of its children’s centres with mobile support staff following a survey of residents views. The results of the survey – which attracted 981 responses, can be viewed here

A report to a Council committee meeting next week gives more details of the plans

The report says, “These new Local Area Teams would bring together a range of existing services to form a new set of preventative arrangements for families from pregnancy through to adult hood. By working in a more coordinated way with partners and communities, the new arrangements will deliver more effective and efficient ways of whole family and community based working”.

The teams will be based at the three retained children’s centres which will be located at:

  • Hob Moor
  • Clifton &
  • Tang Hall

However, the report does not detail what will happen to the space freed up by the closure of the other centres

The Council faces a dilemma as the government may choose to “claw back” £4.4 million of the grant which was used to establish the centres in the first place.

The Council has also announced that it will close the Castlegate young people’s drop in centre and move it to  Sycamore House on Clarence Street

York Lib Dems oppose academy school plans

York Liberal Democrats have written to the Government opposing plans to force all schools to become academies.

In Westfield, the Hob Moor school recently announced plans to become an Academy amidst  confusion about how its PFI debts would be paid.

Hob Moor School

Hob Moor School

Residents also questioned how parents and the local community would be able to influence the polices of what is a major neighbourhood asset sited in a relatively poor area.

Specialist services for those with Special Educational Needs are provided on the campus which is also a base for Surestart services.

 The Conservative Government has said that all schools will be expected to become, or be in the process of becoming, academies by 2020, with all converted by 2022.

In a letter to the Education Secretary, local Lib Dems say they are opposed to “forced academisation” and raise concerns about the ending of the current accountability of schools to elected local councils.

The letter raises concerns about whether councils such as York will be able to fulfil their remaining education duties under the new system, such as school place planning and protecting vulnerable pupils including those with Special Education Needs. It also criticises the proposal to end the role of parent governors and says the Government has revealed no plans to help councils with the costs that they will face in the conversion of schools.
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