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

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Council officials, in a report to the committee,  had given the impression that a holding objection had been withdrawn.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

 

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

Looks like “eyesore” payphone kiosks will stay

Two payphone kiosks, criticised for their appearance by local residents, will not be removed say BT.

The kiosks, one on Beagle Ridge Drive/Foxwood Lane the other on Kingsway West, have been damaged are often covered in graffiti, weeds and fly posters.

BT says that despite the growth in mobile phone use, the payphones are still occasionally used.

They acknowledge though that the payphone on Foxwood Lane isn’t working. It will be repaired.

BT promise that the payphones will also be thoroughly cleaned inside and out.

Kingsway West

Foxwood Lane

Shabby telephone kiosk letting down west York

Telephone kiosk in Foxwood Lane

Pressure is mounting on BT to either replace or remove several telephone kiosks in west York. Over the years the payphones have fallen out of use as more and more people now have mobile phones.

The telecoms giant now spends little on kiosk maintenance and many are showing signs of wear and tear.

That in Foxwood Lane is covered in the remains of fly posting, is being overgrown by weeds, has an instrument that is dirty and, generally, it has become an eyesore.

The kiosk on Kingsway West is similar.

Fault and vandalism levels are high on these neglected phones so, even if you needed to use one, the chances are that it would be out of service.

So perhaps the time has come to waive them goodbye?

Some red (K6) kiosks like those in Duncombe Place are “listed” and cannot be removed.

If you spot an issue with a public payphone you can report it by email to customer.serv.payphones@bt.com

 

Another sports facility to close in Westfield?

Kingsway West all weather football pitch

Council officials are pressing for the neighbourhoods only Multi User Games Area (MUGA) to be permanently closed

The MUGA is located off Kingsway West and was provided at the same time as the Hob Moor school was rebuilt in 2004. It was hailed as one of the community facilities that the PFI funded new build school would unlock. It proved to be the only causal use facility provided on the campus, with other facilities like the nursery later closing.

Initially the MUGA was to have been located within the school perimeter fence. It would have been secured by caretaking staff when not in use. Following pressure from the PFI contractors the MUGA became a stand-alone facility accessible outside school hours.

It satisfied the demand for “kick about” facilities to the east of Gale Lane.

Initially it was successful with detached youth workers staging events there. However, the then Labour controlled Council shredded the youth service following budget cuts in 2013. The organised use of the MUGA ceased. Calls for the Ward Committee to fund events there failed to get off the ground.

An experiment in leaving the area open resulted in arson damage to the all-weather surface which was never repaired. The service access gate was also damaged and not reinstated by the Council.

It is now little used and often strewn with litter and detritus.

Council consultation card Sept 2018

Yet there is still a demand for play and sports facilities for use by children in the area. The nearest alternative is the Energise (Better) sports centre on Cornlands Road which is run on a commercial basis.

Typically the cost of hiring an all weather pitch for a match is around £50.

Now officials are consulting on replacing the MUGA with other structures. They suggest wooden climbing frames, tree planting and better lighting.

There is a demand for better play facilities in the area but not at the expense of existing sports facilities.

We have already seen the Our Lady’s sports field developed and more recently plans have been approved to build on the football pitch at Lowfields. The Hob Moor school playing field will be reduced in size and an application to build on the Acomb Bowling Green is being considered by the Council.

Officials promised that, as part of the Lowfields scheme, pitches on Chesney’s Field would be levelled and upgraded. But the football season* has started without any sign of improvement.

The Council acknowledge that there is already a deficiency in sports and green space provision in the Westfield area. The Councils own Local Plan identifies the existing shortfalls as 4.98 ha of outdoor sports facilities, 6.02 ha of children’s play and 2.86 ha of young persons facilities.

Life expectancy in the Westfield ward is lower than in other parts of York. This is partly put down to unhealthy lifestyles.

Council run consultation exercises were discredited by the Lowfields fiasco. Rather than asking people to record a vote in favour or in opposition to multiple options, the exercise depended on narrative responses.

These were easy to manipulate by official’s intent on justifying a particular outcome.

This must not happen again.

There is a demand for “off the streets” activities for young people. Facilities like the MUGA – if well maintained and promoted – can make a difference. The plans for the new children’s centre on Ascot Way could also unlock the potential for better play facilities for younger children.

But all age groups need to be catered for.

*NB. The Beagle FC beat Cawood 4-0 in their Chesney Field encounter on Saturday

York Council sports and open space need assessments

Latest planning applications for the Westfield Ward

Plans could bring more traffic problems to Ascot Way

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

Full details can be found by clicking the application reference

There are two linked applications, which could have a major impact on the Green Lane/Kingsway West/Ascot Way part of the Westfield ward, published this week.

In effect part of the existing Hob Moor School playing field will be built on because of a plan to provide a centre for disabled children on the site currently occupied by Windsor House.

A compensatory school sports field will be provided on an area of land, adjacent to Hob Moor, which is currently left in a natural state. Improvements to the remaining nature reserve are promised.

The most controversial aspects of the children’s centre plan relate to traffic, parking and the development timetable.

Contrary to expectations, all traffic will access the children’s centre site via Ascot Way.

An (unconvincing) traffic assessment report says this can be accommodated on the existing highway network. The reports appear not to consider the fact that Kingsway West is a “no through road” and that existing bends in Ascot Way already make it difficult for wide vehicles to pass each other. Despite this, officials talk of several mini buses accessing the new development each day. Mini buses already access the adjacent parking areas at the school. They are adequate to meet the needs of the new centre.

The Council’s transport consultants also appear to have a romantic view of the ability of the number 24 bus service to accommodate additional demand. No attempt has been made to provide a more suitable (off street) bus stop on Ascot Way.

Only 15 parking spaces will be provided at the Children’s Centre, which will employ 42 staff.

The applications are silent on the timetable for development.

Residents have already said that it would be wrong for building works to be taking place at both this site and the nearby Newbury Avenue garage site development at the same time. Plant and lorries from two sites would further damage an environment that has yet to recover from the extended development at Hob Stones and recent “broadband” excavations.

The establishment of the centre of excellence for disabled children is a worthy idea, but the implications ion the surrounding community need to be understood and resolved before any planning permission is granted.

A separate planning application for changes to Lincoln Court is expected shortly.  Both should be considered together by the planning committee as they are interdependent.

—-

Hob Moor Community Primary School Green Lane Acomb York YO24 4PS

Creation of new area of playing fields, wetland areas and timber walkways, erection of fabric shelter over outdoor class space

Ref. No: 18/01475/GRG3 

Nature area and new football pitch

—–

Windsor House 22 Ascot Way York YO24 4QZ

Erection of part single storey part two storey centre for disabled children and their families following the demolition of existing care home with associated parking, access and landscaping works (includes part of Hob Moor School site)

Ref. No: 18/01467/GRG3 

Disabled children’s centre site plan 2

Disabled children’s centre site plan 1

——

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

Newbury Avenue development – planning recommendations published

Inadequate of street parking in Windsor Garth

Anger as parking problems not addressed by York Council officials

Council officials are recommending that plans to build on the garage site on Newbury Avenue are given the go ahead.

The issue will be discussed at a planning sub committee meeting taking place on 3rd May.

On the previous day (10:15am Wednesday 2nd May), Councillors will be visiting the site. They will no doubt be able to see the parking problems which already exist in the area.

Residents may attend both meetings and can register to speak at the committee meeting. To do so residents should telephone York 551088 before 5:00pm on 2nd May.

Grassed areas have already been damaged by vehicles and plant

The officers report is negligent in at least one way. Objectors have pointed out that the loss of 28 garages – and with them an equivalent number of off street parking spaces – will have a major impact on congestion and parking problems on the estate.

The report offers no response to this concern.

There are already problems when large vehicles and buses try to access the narrow roads. The problems have got worse since the Council stopped new lettings at the garages while the overspill from the Hob Stone development has also hit the Windsor Garth area.

Now the Council is also threatening to redevelop the Windsor House site on Ascot Way. Again it has given little thought to the parking problems that will emerge both during building works, and afterwards.

It could mean that major building works will take place within the next year at both sites at the same time – a recipe for transport chaos with the only available access to the estate being the relatively narrow route  from Kingsway West.

Grass damaged by parked vehicles

Some objectors to the Newbury Avenue plan have demanded that alternative off street parking spaces be provided before demolition starts. They have pointed to several sites where the provision of matrix protection on grassed areas would provide an option while retaining the green appearance of the estate.

Currently an increasing number of vehicles are being parked on these grassed areas anyway – resulting during periods of  wet weather in unsightly damage which is expensive to repair.

NB. Efforts are being made to form a new Hob Moor Residents Association in the area. The residents group will focus on opposing the Councils plans for the estate and will seek additional investment to address existing problems.

The old Kingsway Area Residents Association (KARA) was disbanded about 5 years ago.