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.

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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.

Better news for Lincoln Court

Lincoln Court

Elderly residents of sheltered accommodation units at Lincoln Court can expect the building to be modernised next year,.

Top of the priority list is new windows although a  general uplift is also needed.

The building was discussed yesterday at the Councils Executive committee meeting which decided to close the adjacent Windsor House elderly persons home.

The two buildings share a heating system.

Residents of Lincoln Court had been left in suspense while Council officials consulted about closure plans but it now seems that the future of the sheltered accommodation is secure.

A report on the future of the Windsor House site is expected early next year. One is suggestion is that a “centre of excellence” for disabled people should be built there.

The Council will first have to address chronic traffic congestion and parking problems in the Kingsway West/Ascot Way/Windsor Garth area.

 

Thanet Road Toucan crossing finished but Council neglects essential work

The Toucan crossing at the junction of Kingsway West and Thanet Road has been completed and is working.

Unfortunately the Council didn’t take the opportunity – when plant was in the area – to resurface the hammerhead on Kingsway West which is very uneven and represents a hazard for cyclists.

The change coincides with the introduction of a 20 mph speed limit outside the Lidl store

Sadly the Council has also failed to upgrade the bollard on the Foxwood lane cycle path approach to the crossing. The wooden bollard has been a  source of complaint for several years. It lacks effective reflectors and, during foggy weather or on dark nights in heavy rain, it becomes virtually invisible for cyclists. The expectation had been that the council would either remove the bollard altogether or at least replace it with one that could be seen at night.

Bollard is a danger when visibility is limited.

 

Thanet Road Toucan crossing nears completion

The weather has been against the contractors this week, but it looks like they will finish installing the new Toucan crossing at the end of Kingsway West this week. The Council also intends to install speed humps on Thanet Road so the work will resume later in the year. We hope that they will resurface the hammerhead in Kingsway West and remove the dangerous post on the cycle path while they are in the area. 

A littler further down Gale Lane the yellow lines in the Stuart Road hammerhead have been renewed.

York Council tackles nettle threat

The Council has acted promoted to remove nettles which were impeding Foxwood Lane. Reported on 2nd October the nettles were removed today.

Nettles removed from Foxwood Lane Not so good is the entrance to Hob Moor from Holly Bank Grove. It’s only October and the path is nearly impassible for pedestrians because of boggy ground. The Holgate Ward committee should take a leaf out of their counterparts in Westfield who arranged for improvements to a similar footpath access, to Acomb Wood from Hawkshead Close, over the summer.

We hope that the contractors, currently working on putting in new Toucan crossing signals at the junction of Kingsway West and Thanet Road, will take the time to resurface the carriageway hammerhead while plant is is the area. The surface is dangerous for cyclists

The same contractors may also be responsible for vehicle damage to the Thanet Road sports area. Bulbs were planted in the grassed area by residents groups over recent years.

Traffic lights set to be upgraded at Carr Lane and Thanet Road

Ageing traffic lights at the junction of York Road with Carr Lane and the Thanet Road crossing near Foxwood Lane are set to be upgraded next month. Work will start on both sites on Monday 2 October.

The lights at the junction of York Road and Carr lane will be fully refurbished. The crossing will also be widened to better meet current safety standards.

The Thanet Road crossing near Foxwood Lane will see the separate pedestrian / cyclist crossing replaced with a shared Toucan crossing. The footpath and cycleway near to the crossing will also be relayed.

Local safety scheme work will also take place alongside this including installing a raised traffic table which will be added to the crossing along with speed cushions in the area to help reduce the speed of vehicles using the road.

Work at the York Road crossing will take place between 7.30am – 5.30pm, Monday – Friday and 9 am – 3pm on Saturdays.    Evening work will take place on Monday 9 October and Thursday 12 October from 6pm – 11pm. Three-way traffic management will be in place at the junction during the works. Full access will be retained to all properties during construction.

Work at the Thanet Road crossing will take place between 7.30am – 5.30pm, Monday – Friday and 8am – 3pm Saturdays. Traffic management will be in place at the junction of Thanet Road / Foxwood Lane during the works. A controlled crossing will be provided during construction to allow pedestrians and cyclists to cross the road safely.

Thanet Road will be closed between Foxwood Lane and St James Place on 22 October for the installation of the raised traffic table. Additional road closures will be in place on 6 and 7 November to install the speed cushions.

As with any construction work, there is likely to be a certain amount of disruption. Residents are assured that everything reasonably possible will be done to keep this to a minimum, however buses that normally use this street will be diverted and motorists should expect some delays and plan their journey accordingly.

The five year traffic signal asset renewal programme was given the green light by the councillor responsible for transport and planning in November 2015 at a public meeting.

The total replacement programme will cost £2.620m over six years and will be funded through the capital programme budget and the existing Local Transport Plan budget.

For information about bus diversions during the works visit: www.itravelyork.info/

Changes to pedestrian/cycle crossing planned for Thanet Road

The Council is planning to remodel the pedestrian/cycle crossing at the junction of Thanet Road and Kingsway West

We understand that, as part of the changes planned for the traffic arrangements on Thanet Road, the pedestrian and cycle crossing will be modified.

The proposals look to change the cycle crossing to a Toucan crossing and amend the footways to create areas of shared pedestrian / cycle space.  The main changes that we are proposing are as follows:

Creation of a new traffic signal installation to form a Toucan crossing This replaces the existing cycle crossing with a parallel pedestrian crossing at the same location.  The new Toucan crossing will include near sided pedestrian / cyclist red / green aspects.

  • The Toucan crossing will be located on a new “bus friendly” flat topped raised table over the carriageway.  This will require additional gullies for drainage to be installed.
  • New shared use pedestrian / cycle areas will be formed with appropriate tactile paving, road markings and signing.
  • The southern cyclist on / off carriageway sections will be re aligned to tie in with the shared use areas and new northern cyclist on / off carriageway sections will be created.
  • The cycle tracks in the western verge are slightly realigned to fit in with the shared use areas.

We are surprised that changes to the present arrangements are planned. Generally the crossing works well.

Some changes should, however, be made at the junction when the lights are modernised.

  • The hammerhead on Kingsway West is in poor condition and needs resurfacing
  • The central bollard on the footpath link to the crossing needs to be replaced. It’s dull colour is very difficult to see in murky weather.

The plans will be available to view at the Ward Committee meeting which is scheduled to  take place at the Bowling Club from 6:30pm on Tuesday