Bad news for City centre traders

Grim in Acomb

The latest footfall figures, reproduced by the BID team, reveal that there has been a 4% drop in visitor numbers so far this year. It is even worse on a year on year basis and is below the county average

That is a poor platform on which to approach the, normally busy, run up to Christmas.

In Acomb, the picture is slightly different with some traders reporting steady business trends. This is despite the lamentable performance recently of the Council in keeping open spaces, gutters and the areas around trees and street furniture free of weeds and litter.

Weeds still choke trees and seats on Front Street

The picture in residential areas is also disappointing with weeds disfiguring many streets

York Council making progress in dealing with complaints

Most of the tin cans which blighted Ouse Bridge have been removed. Still a bit of work to do on the weeds but it is less unsightly now.
The Hob Moor hedge which was obstructing Kingsway West has been cut back
Still some issues with hedges blocking footpaths. This one on Foxwood Lane
This one on the snicket access to Hob Moor from Holly Bank Grove

Local Councillor commitment to tackle untidy streets

Several councillors have now responded to complaints about weeds, detritus and overgrown hedges in local streets.

Front Street

Joining Mark Warters and Tony Fisher, who operate on the east of the City, Westfield Councillor Andrew Waller has pledged to personally remove weeds from the Front Street pedestrian area. The precinct has been weed infested for over 3 months with growth around street furniture and trees a particular problem.

That is a shame because the image of an area – which in recent years has become more economically successful – can be disproportionately influenced by what people see on arrival. Front Street doesn’t have the advantage of the, York BID funded, clean up contractors that have brought major improvements to the York City centre environment.

Elsewhere we have asked for weeds to be treated in several locations. We think it is now time for the Council to give a public commitment to complete a tidy up programme within a specific timetable.

Overgrown thorn like brambles will be a hazard as darker nights approach. We’ve asked for those on the access road to the Thoresby Road garage block to be cut back
Another example – this one on Kingsway West- where basic spraying or strimming of areas around street furniture has not been competed.
Contractors should spray up to the edge of the footpath
Snickets are particularly vulnerable to weed growth and litter
Problem areas are taking weeks, sometimes months, to address
Some footpaths are now being eroded and will be more costly to repair

Post bank holiday clean up needed!

There was a disappointing amount of litter lying around in some neighbourhoods today. We’ve reported over 20 issues to the Council

As well as litter, these included weed growth, hedges blocking footpaths and dumping.

Litter was particularly bad on Chesney’s Field while a hedge overgrowing from Hob Moor is now obstructing Kingsway West.

We are told that the Council will be making a statement about the failed weed control contract within the next few days.

Problems with litter, weeds, overgrown hedges, dumping etc. These were in the Foxwood area.

“Mares tail” arrives in west York

Thanks to Osbaldwick Councillor Mark Waters – a professional horticulturalist – we have identified one of the weeds that is damaging road and footpath surfaces on the west of the City

Horsetail (Equisetum arvense), often called mare’s tail, is an invasive, deep-rooted perennial weed that will spread quickly to form a dense carpet of foliage, crowding out less vigorous plants in beds and borders.

The RHS says that horsetail “is persistent, and several applications of a strong weed killer  – possibly over a number of years – may be necessary to completely eradicate the problem”

Horsetail has appeared in several areas in west York. These include the Council garage areas on Kingsway West and on little Green Lane.  It is already doing considerable damage to the  recently bitmaced forecourt access road at Green Lane.

We will now be formally submitting an official complaint about lack of action on weed growth in several areas. For example, weeds reported in early May on the Beaconsfield Street back lane have still not been cut back. It is a similar picture at many traffic islands

Westfield Councillors to debate what to do about building works at public meeting tomorrow


Bowling club building site not on the agenda?

The Westfield Councillors are right to insist on more information being provided on building works in the area, when they meet tomorrow (Wednesday)

However, they will be meeting only a few metres away from the spoil heaps and site compound which has been constructed on the Council owned land to the rear of the Library.

Large spoil heap on Council land at the Acomb Library

Some explanation for the decision to allow the contractors to use this Council owned site will be expected. It is an issue that is not likely to go away.

Some residents still hope that Council will offer some sort of compensation for the problems that have been caused by the use of the compound

Elsewhere, the Lowfields development saga continues.

There has still not been any explanation about how the York Council came to mislead residents about the inclusion of a “police station” and health centre/GP surgery in the original consultation plans.

Both these promises turned out to be bogus. It is unclear what will happen to what, otherwise, will be unused plots on the east of the site.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Carriageway-cracking-on-Kingsway-West-1300hrs-5th-May-2019-.jpg
The Kingsway West carriageway is already breaking up

On Ascot Way, access arrangements, for the heavy plant needed to complete the demolition of Windsor House, remain unclear. It seems that access for the plant will be via Kingsway West and Ascot Way It is clear that the roads are too narrow in the area to avoid major damage to adjacent verges and paths. A “one way” system has been suggested but not confirmed.

There are real concerns that the bus route will be obstructed by the likely congestion

The original hope had been that more parking lay-bys would have been provided by now.

…..and the problem of the promised replacement for the all weather games area seems to be no closer to resolution. The existing MUGA has already been converted into a building compound.

Games area is now a building compound. No alternative provision for children has been provided

There is no word about the proposed alternative site on the Thanet Road Sports Area although officials were asked to follow this up 3 months ago.

Residents will no doubt be hoping that some answers emerge from the meeting

Spoil heaps dominate neighbouring properties on Lowfields Drive

Latest planning applications for the Westfield Ward

Below are the latest planning applications received by the York Council for the Westfield ward. 

Full details can be found by clicking the application reference 

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189 Kingsway West York YO24 4QD

Erection of single storey extension extending 4 metres beyond rear wall of the original house, with a height to the eaves of 2.67 metres and a total height of 3.57 metres. 

Ref. No: 19/01127/LHE 

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4 Croftside York YO26 5LT

Single storey rear extension and rear dormer. 

Ref. No: 19/00980/FUL 

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Dryfix Preservation Ltd The Yard Tudor Road York YO24 3AY

Change of use from electrical storage only (Use Class B8) to unrestricted storage, open air storage and distribution (Use Class B8)

Ref. No: 19/00966/FUL 

————

94 Wetherby Road Acomb York YO26 5BY

Single storey rear extension 

Ref. No: 19/00867/FUL 

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Representations can be made in favour of, or in objection to, any application via the Planning on line web site.  http://planningaccess.york.gov.uk/online-applications/

NB. The Council now no longer routinely consults neighbours by letter when an application is received

Games area being ripped up by contractors

The demolition contractors for the Windsor House/Lincoln Court/Hob Moor school developments have taken over the Multi User Games Area (MUGA) on Kingsway West.

It in no longer accessible for local children.

Councillors have reportedly agreed to it being used as a building compound.

Sections of the fencing around the area have been removed to allow access to a new service road. The entrance used by children has been secured.

While the loss of the play area is not unexpected following a controversial planning decision a few months ago, the failure of the Council to provide updates on when a replacement facility will be provided (and where) is very disappointing. The location favoured by Sports Clubs and local residents, is on the Thanet Road All Weather Sports area near the junction of Gale Lane and Thanet Road.

At one point the Council promised funding for a new facility but all has gone quiet since the LibDems took control of the Council at the beginning of May.

The loss of the sports facility comes in the wake of similar erosion of facilities in the Westfield area with the Lowfields playing field now being developed as is the Acomb Bowling Club.

The Our Lady’s school field was developed about 3 years ago.

Support for the provision of more public open space – possibly in the form of new strays – on the outskirts of the City is growing.

New access road constructed across Hob Moor school playing field
MUGA entrance sealed
Access road into site compound

Clockhouse pub on Kingsway West faces closure

Council committee to consider revoking license on 8th April

The Clockhouse pub, which is located on the corner of Kingsway West and Tudor Road, could face closure. An application has been made for the premises license to be revoked.

Clockhouse Pub

 It follows two years of complaints from nearby residents. Most related to excessive noise from the premises.

The Clockhouse is probably better known by its former name; The Acomb Hotel.

It has been a feature of the social life of the west of York for over 70 years.

 It has changed a lot over the years as it has had to come to terms with the changing expectations of sub-urban drinkers.

Relatively recently it has majored on improved outdoor areas with children now well catered for.

But it is the evening activities that have led to the licencing hearing. Many complaints have been registered by nearby residents. Sound levels have been unacceptably high with open doors and windows contributing to the problem.

In October 2018 fines and costs totalling £4889.26 were levied against the establishment by magistrates.

There have since been further complaints.

A list of the conditions attached to the licence can be viewed by clicking  here

The Clocktower event rooms are very close to adjacent properties. Ironically some were built on part of the former hotel site.

It is this proximity which may lead to a further change in role for the building.

Sport England reaffirm their opposition to loss of Kingsway all weather play area

Could the Council fund an upgrade of the Thanet Road Sports area?

The future of the  all weather games (MUGA) provision in the Kingsway part of York remains unclear. Sport England – with the backing of local Netball and Football governing bodies – is insisting that, if the present facility is removed, then a similar provision must be made nearby.

In effect, Sport England have a veto over new developments if they involve the loss of sports fields. They can insist that a development application  is referred to the Secretary of Sate for a decision.

The Foxwood Residents Association has also voiced its concerns claiming that a fitness trail – planned by officials for Chesney’s Field  – would not meet the informal sports/leisure needs of the 8 – 13 age group.  Instead they urge that discussions take place with the Acorn Rugby Club aimed at funding improvements, and wider access, to the floodlit area that is already in place on the Thanet Road Sports area.

York Council officials are being particularly stubborn on this issue. It is putting at risk a plan to modernise the sheltered housing flats at Lincoln Court.

Some flexibility, urgency and imagination in addressing the issues now needs to be shown by both Councillors and officers at West Offices. 

Sport Englands representations can be read by clicking here

The  Residents Association comments can be read here