Lincoln Court – Council admits planning blunder

The sorry saga surrounding the Councils plans to modernise and extend the Lincoln Court independent living building on Ascot Way has taken a new twist.

A brand new planning application has been submitted. If approved, it will replace the ill fated and poorly judged proposal passed by the Planning Committee as recently as December. The new proposal is for a “three storey extension to accommodate 15 new flats with associated alterations to the internal layout of existing flats (creating 10 new flats in total), a single storey front extension to form a new main entrance, erection of a plant room to side, reconfiguration of parking provision and associated landscaping works including new boundary fencing”.

Planning report Dec 2018

That decision was criticised because it ignored a request by Sport England that a replacement all weather games facility be provided in the neighbourhood when the existing facility was developed. The extensions to Lincoln Court are partly to be built on the games area. Sport England made a specific request for a replacement with possible sites being identified by local residents on the new area of playing field being provided at the school or alternatively on the Thanet Road sports area.

Another mistake made by the committee was to require that the additional 10 flats being provided at Lincoln Court be extra care” units. They would have required 24/7 staffing support. Officials later privately confirmed that this was a mistake and that it had been intended to provide an additional 10 flats identical in function to those existing on the site.

The “extra care” argument had been used to justify providing only 16 parking spaces to service the planned 36 flats and the staff and visitors to the much larger new building (see extract from December report). There are currently 12 parking spaces allocated to Lincoln Court. Many of them are heavily used with visiting staff sometimes being force to park on adjacent roads.

The way that the Planning Committee handled the December application was subject to a formal complaint in December. A response from the Council is still awaited.

Unfortunately, the new planning application does not address the parking issue despite claims by officials that the ”extra care” units did not require a parking space and hence could justify providing only 16 spaces. There is an underused grassed area to the south of the site which could have matrix protection installed and which could then be used as overspill car parking.

More seriously, the Council continues to turn a blind eye to the concerns about lack of provision for younger people in the neighbourhood. We would expect the Sport England condition to be incorporated into any revised permission.

NB. No action is planned on escalating traffic congestion issues in the area. Problems on the narrow roads in the estate are being exacerbated by recent planning permissions for additional housing in the estate which only has one access route. The December plan attracted more criticism when it was revealed that the elderly residents would have to move out of their homes for over 12 months while the work took place

Cattle return to strays – Council offers dog walkers advice

Take the lead and follow the countryside code on Strays

City of York Council is urging dog owners to take the lead and follow the countryside code when cattle are reintroduced onto Strays across York later this month.

The countryside code encourages everyone to respect other people and animals, protect the environment and enjoy the outdoors. This is particularly important when cattle are reintroduced onto the city’s strays for grazing to help manage the land.

Dog owners are being encouraged to be responsible around cattle. This includes keeping dogs on a lead when near cattle as they can spook them, picking up dog waste as this can spread disease and closing gates to ensure cattle don’t escape.

Grazing is a recognised form of managing grassland, including on nature reserves, throughout Britain.  Since 2010 Hob Moor, Bootham Stray, including the Clifton Backies nature reserve, and Walmgate Stray are in  Higher Level Stewardship agreements with Natural England.  The management prescriptions to which we have to comply for the sites include grazing and hay cutting to support the wildlife interest of open grassland, rather than be intensively managed or being left to scrub over.

For information on walking near livestock visit www.ramblers.org.uk/advice/safety/walking-near-livestock.aspx

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Good work by York Council as Hob Moor access restored

Anyone for a shower?

There are still too many blocked drainage gullies in parts of York. This mornings rain demonstrated the scale of the problem with flooding at the bottom of Hamilton Drive East a particular hazard. There were similar if less spectacular problems on Nigel Grove and Foxwood Lane. All have been reported for attention

Access to Hob Moor now impassable because of mud

Hob Moor entrance October

Six months ago we reported that work needed to be done to ensure that the access to Hob Moor (Micklegate Stray) from Holly Bank Grove was useable in wet weather.

The path (which is a non statutory right of way) has deteriorated over the years. Residents had put down some wooden boards last year but these had proved to be inadequate.

Jan 2018 Mud now blocks access

At the time we hoped that the Holgate Ward Councillors would take the hint and install a soft landscape path of the type successful constructed at access points in Acomb Wood and on Bachelor Hill.

Sadly that hasn’t happened and the footpath was effectively impassable yesterday (Sunday).

We hope that the Councillors for the Holgate ward will now get the message and ensure that – as a minimum – some wood chippings or bark is put down to soak up the water.

NB. Ward Committees have been allocated a delegated budget by the Council to deal with issues like these.