Missed bin collections in York – backlog growing

The missed bins from yesterday and due for collection in Haxby, Huntington, Fulford and and Bishopthorpe today weren’t collected. This is put down to continuing staffing and vehicle reliability issues.

Skelton was also missed today

The Council says that it will try to empty all outstanding waste and garden bins tomorrow (Saturday)

It does increasingly seem that the bin emptying service, which was often regarded in public satisfaction surveys as the most appreciated local service provided by the Council, is now in decline.

Not just west York suffering from neglect

Residents from the Huntington and Heworth areas have added their voices to the criticisms of the Council’s performance in keeping local streets clean and tidy. Although, like Woodthorpe on the west of the City, some streets in Huntington appear to have been well swept, they are outnumbered by those where even basic weed clearance has not taken place this summer.

One again it is the main entry roads into the City which are most neglected. It presents a poor image for visitors

Weeds block gutters and paths on Malton Road
Paved area on Huntington Road near Bell Farm has not been sprayed
Weeds engulfing street furniture on Jockey Lane
A blocked gully on Heworth Green. These need to be cleared before wetter weather arrives with winter.
Long term build up of detritus around traffic island build outs on Malton Road

Community Stadium opening date announcement needed.

The announcement earlier in the year, that the opening of the City’s new Community Stadium would be delayed until the autumn, surprised few people.

York City Football Club first learned in 2004 that it could face a move away from Bootham Crescent.

The future of the Knights Rugby team subsequently become inextricably intertwined with the stadiums future.

All seemed well in 2010 when a source of funding (S106 planning contributions) for a new stadium was obtained. Planning permission for the Vanguard development was subsequently granted.  

Further delays occurred as the Council agonised about procurement polices and management arrangements.

After many false dawns, the stadium should have been opening this month.

The announcement of another 6 month delay came as a disappointment.

Such information as leaked out about the cause of the delay was neither confirmed nor denied by a Council embroiled in a local election process. The “purdah” period prevented any statements that might have influenced the election result.

It is now over 5 weeks after the election concluded – with another “no overall majority” result. The Green Party, which opposed the stadium development together with some Tories – now shares power with the LibDems who themselves have a long commitment to the stadium.

There is no suggestion that political interference is behind the reason for the delayed announcements.

The Council, Football and Rugby Clubs – together with the builders (Buckingham) and stadium complex managers (Better), have been strangely quiet over the last few weeks.

 The “purdah” period is long over yet no explanation for the delay or, more importantly, a new opening date have been confirmed. The last official statement talked about an October opening date.

More realistically, the clubs may now be hoping that the stadium will be available for the lucrative Christmas /New Year fixture programme.

NB. York City’s National League North fixture list is due to be announced on 3rd July.  The season will kick off on Saturday, August 3rd. The Football Club has already announced its season ticket prices.

So who will win the York Council elections on 2nd May?

Hull Road and Micklegate Ward reviews

Hull Road

The Hull Road ward is home to 15,055 residents. Average incomes are lower than the City average. 48% of residents own their home.  32% rent privately and 18% are social tenants. There are 615 Council homes in the area. 0.7% are out of work. Crime levels are below average.  63.6% of residents are satisfied with their local area as a place to live. This is worse than any other ward.  (York average 88.6%).  9.09% believe that they can influence decisions in their local area (City average 26.2%).  Source

Elections

This ward has been won consistently by Labour. It now encompasses the University of York campus.

The contest  is given added interest this time round as one of the Labour victors in 2015 has left the party and is standing as an Independent candidate. Hillary Shephard – formerly a Council employee and shop steward – was on the moderate wing of the Labour Party. Hull Road Labour is now hard left dominated  with  some students activists believed to be heavily influential. As with all Independents the hurdle that she faces is to mobilise sufficient help to get leaflets delivered and electors canvassed.

One of the Labour candidates, Michael Pavlovic ,won a by-election in 2017. It was held on the same day as the General Election which was used by many electors to protest to Mrs May about her wasting their time.

Unusually two of the Labour candidates live at the same address in the ward. They say they moved to study in the City as recently as 2013.

Prediction

3 Labour seats

Micklegate

The Micklegate ward is home to 12,927 residents. Average incomes are higher than the City average. 51% of residents own their home. 34% rent privately and 13% are social tenants. There are 544 Council homes in the area. 1.4% are out of work. Crime levels are well above average.  90.3% of residents are satisfied with their local area as a place to live. (York average 88.6%).  36.7% believe that they can influence decisions in their local area (City average 26.2%).  Source

Elections

Likely to be one of the most interesting contests this year. In 2015 this was the only ward to split 3 ways. 1 Labour, 1 Independent and 1 Green Party Councillors were elected.  Retiring Labour Councillor Dave Merrett plunged to 7th place in the poll with many people pointing to his decision to restrict access to Lendal bridge as the explanation for his drop in popularity.

Independent Councillor Jonny Hayes and the other surprise victor, Lars Kramm (Green), are both quitting after one term of office.  Both did bring a breath of fresh air to an otherwise predictable and tribal Council chamber. Lars Kramm is trying his luck in Copmanthorpe where he now lives.

There will no Independent candidate in the Micklegate Ward this time.

The Greens are fielding Rosie Baker who unsuccessfully contested a by election held in Micklegate in 2017. The victor then, Jonny Crawshaw, returns. He is understood to have ambitions to lead the Council’s Labour Group. He is joined by Sandi Redpath who is another party worker already on M.P.  Rachel Maskell’s payroll.

The fragmented result last time suggests that Micklegate has a sophisticated (or confused) electorate. The ward may once again produce an unexpected result.

Prediction

2 Labour seats, 1 Green seat.

New Lane pedestrian improvements

City of York Council will be carrying out work to install a puffin crossing on New Lane, Huntington from Monday 18 April.

The crossing will help provide a safer environment for people living at and visiting the new housing development, The Meadows. 

The work is expected to take two weeks to complete, with work taking place between 9.30am and 3.30pm. To maintain safety for road users and pedestrians a controlled system of traffic management using Stop/Go boards will be in operation during working hours.
(more…)

Planning committee set to approve elderly persons home in former Terry’s building

The Planning Committee taking place on 22nd October will be asked to approve 4 major developments in the City.

One of the most significant applications would see the delightful but deteriorating Terry’s HQ office building brought back into use as a care home.  While changes to the layout of the Listed building are proposed, developers face a challenge in meeting modern expectations in a building of this age and layout.

Terrys Site

  • Former Terry’s Offices, Bishopthorpe Road, York, YO23 1DE (15/01623/FULM) A major full application for the conversion of former Terrys headquarters building to a care home with 82 care bedrooms and 8 care apartments with rooftop extension and car parking  plus (15/01624/LBC) A listed building consent application for internal and external alterations in connection with the conversion of the former Terry’s headquarters building to a care home with rooftop extension.  The Terry’s Headquarters Building comprises a Grade II Listed brick and stone built former office block to the east of the former entrance to the Terry’s chocolate manufacturing complex dating to the early 1920s. The site also lies within the Terrys/Racecourse Conservation Area. The premises have been vacant and deteriorating since 2011 when after chocolate manufacture at the site ceased, the subsequent office tenant vacated the premises. Planning permission is now sought for conversion of the premises into an 82 bed care home with 8 extra care apartments. The proposal includes a single storey roof level mansard extension. The application is recommended for approval
  • Land to the North of Avon Drive, Huntington, York (15/00798/OUTM) A major outline application for the erection of 109 houses. The application includes 1, 2, 3 and 4-bedroom houses. 30% of all house types would be affordable. The development would be bounded to the north by a landscaped buffer between the housing and the ring road. Two access points would be created via two vacant plots on the north side of Avon Drive. A new internal loop road within the development would link the two accesses. However the site is in the Green Belt and its development is therefore inappropriate  The application is recommended for refusal
  • Grantchester, Stripe Lane, Skelton, York, YO30 1YJ (15/01659/FUL) A full application for the use of land for a 20 pitch touring caravan and camping site. The site has recently been granted a 5 caravan and 10 tent certification by the caravan and camping club and is being operated within the parameters of this licence. A small building has been constructed on the south side of the plot which provides toilet facilities and water and emptying points are located towards the northern boundary. The proposal is to increase the use of the site to accommodate up to 20 caravans or tents. The application is recommended for approval
  • Plot 7, Great North Way, Nether Poppleton, York (15/01307/FULM) A major full application for the erection of a motor vehicle dealership, sales and servicing buildings with outside vehicle parking areas. Planning permission is sought for the construction of a Arnold Clarkcar dealership with associated facilities including car servicing, valeting and used car sales within a 3014 sq metre building employing 45 full time staff. The site has been notified as a SINC or Site of Interest for Nature Conservation on the basis of its calcareous vegetation and a colony of Great Crested Newts which have subsequently been “trans-located” (!) The application is recommended for approval

Stadium will cost Council Taxpayers £1 million a year.

Huntington project administration costs hit £6 million

More details of the changes to the Huntington Community Stadium project have emerged. The papers reveal the administration and project team costs for the project have increased from £3.5 million to £6 million.Stadium Project

The Council will borrow a total of £8 million, meaning that local taxpayers will have to find £720,000 a year in debt charges. In addition the Council will contribute £323,000 towards the annual running costs.

The report talks about a developer paying £12 million for land on which to construct 6000 square metres of retail and commercial space.

This space would be used for

  • Retail units totalling 4245 sq m
  • Two restaurants totalling 110 sq m
  • A digital cinema with bar totalling 1652 sq m

There are numerous risks identified for the project.

The land was originally acquired by the Ryedale Council for leisure purposes. There may be at least a chance that the original owners will seek a share of any enhanced value resulting from commercial development.

Equally the inclusion of – yet more – out of City centre retail development will be controversial.

This is the issue most likely to delay the granting of planning permission and could result in the application being “called in” by central government. In turn, this would impact on the target start (April 2015) and completion (July 2016) dates.

The Council don’t rule out a Judicial Review – a process initiated by opponents of change and  which added, in the last decade, nearly 2 years to the timetable for  modernising the Barbican auditorium.

A 15 month construction commissioning timetable looks highly ambitious anyway.

Less obvious risks may arise. Not least the ubiquitous Great Crested Newts who mounted a strong resistance to being evicted from the neighbouring John Lewis site.

The report confirms that

GLL will be responsible for the overall management of the site and the direct management of the Community Hub, leisure facilities and associated assets. This will be controlled by an overarching lease and management contract for a 13 year period with a 5 year extension option.

As part of the procurement process, GLL have appointed York City Football Club (YCFC) as a sub-contractor to operate the stadium area. YCFC will work with CGC (York Racecourse hospitality company).

The proposal will involve changes to the existing parking and access arrangements. This will see the re-routing of Kathryn Avenue around the stadium, creating a pedestrian only and fan zone, strengthening links with the Vanguard retail scheme

The report also says that “All community hub tenants will enter into lease agreements with CYC for the use of the facilities. All leases have been set at appropriate commercial rates”.

The report includes a table showing how costs have increased over the last couple of years

Component Approved March 2012(£Ms) Approved Nov 2012(£Ms) Proposed Sept 2014(£Ms)
Community Stadium 14.2 14.8 16
Leisure Complex 0 0 12
External works 1.5 1.45 3
NSLC sub total 15.7 15.25 31
Other facilities / Project costs & contingencies 3.5 3.95 6
Total 19.2 19.2 37
Commercial Development Costs (externally funded) 10
Gross Total Cost 19.2 19.2 47