MUGA mugged – another blow for leisure provision in the Westfield area

Children’s ball games facility demolished

Despite objections from Sport England, Councillors approved the demolition of the Kingsway MUGA last night. No replacement all weather games area is planned

According to the Council’s own figures the Westfield area has the largest deficiency in sports and active leisure facilities in the City.

It also has the largest problem with child obesity 

The committee failed to include the conditions requested by Sport England which would have seen an alternative games area provided elsewhere before the existing facility was demolished.

Council officials claimed that the MUGA was derelict and disused. In fact, only minor repairs – which have been outstanding for over 12 months – would be required to bring the facility back into use.

Additional conditions requested by LibDem Councillors were voted down.

Correspondence between the Council and Sport England – and verbal claims by an official last night – suggest that planning committee members were misled. This could lead to a formal complaint about the way the MUGA issue has been handled.

The Council has failed to include the most recent correspondence on the issue on the “planning on line” web site.

This is the second time that the Council has misled Sport England about planning issues.

Earlier in the year a report on the provision of new football pitches on Tadcaster Road claimed that they would be used by Woodthorpe Wanderers football club.

They were later forced to admit that Woodthorpe Wanderers had folded 6 months previously.

Future of all weather ball games area – more confusion

The area under the adjacent trees has been tidied. The MUGA can now be viewed form Lincoln Court following a request from residents there to have boundary hedges cut back.

Correspondence has emerged which casts further doubt on the Council plans for the Kingsway Multi User Games Area (MUGA).

It appears that in October Sport England did clearly object to the removal of the facility.

It followed an extraordinary exchange of Emails in September in which the Council made several bogus claims about the area not having been used for “7 years”.

The Council goes on to say

“As part of the development outlined within this planning application the MUGA will not exist in its current form however there will be alternative provision of physical activity equipment at a suitable location within the Ward”.

No mention is made of the type and location of this “alternative provision” in the planning officers report to the committee on Thursday.

Residents will want to know more before any decisions are taken.

Council Email in September

Sport England response in October

Weeds over grow path in Windsor Garth

Weeds growing through footpath on Windsor Garth near Sandown Close. We’ve reported the problem but it seems to be another area that has been missed off this years treatment programme

Time of year gullies need to eb checked fro blockages. We’ve asked for those on the little Green Lane footpath to be cleared of leaves

We’ve asked for the Gale Lane/Holgate beck to be cleared of detritus and undergrowth before the winter

UFO are behind schedule in reinstating concrete drives on Stuart Road

Verge and path on Foxwood lane still showing signs of damage following broadband excavations near 12 months ago

One bonus has been the renewal of the flagstones at the Hamilton Drive West bus stop. We asked for these to be done on safety grounds last year

New litter bins have been rolled out to several streets including this one on Kingsway West

We’ve asked for the garage area off Windsor Garth to be tidied up.


Newbury Avenue garage demolition approved. No plans for better parking

Inadequate parking causes obstructions for buses and deliveries

The planning committee have approved the plan to demolish 28 garages in Newbury Avenue. They will be replaced with 5 bungalows.

The committee declined to impose a condition requiring the developer to contribute towards the provision of alternative off street parking provision in the area.

Some of the garages have not been let for several years following a decision by the housing department to leave them empty. This has already exacerbated the parking situation in the Windsor Garth area.

The only hope for more parking provision now rests with the use of a small delegated ward committee budget. However this would provide only a handful of spaces (on lay-bys situated on Windsor Garth) and it could be the autumn before the work is started.

The Kingsway area has been poorly treated by the York Council in recent years. It has only just begun to get over the extended (nearly 3 years) build period for the Hob Stone development. Roads are still showing signs of the effects that heavy building wagons had. Damage to speed tables has been very pronounced. 

Residents living in the area will be viewing with apprehension the possibility that the redevelopment of the Windsor House site could take place at the same time as the Newbury Avenue building works.

On the basis of yesterdays planning committee decision, they cannot look to that quarter for any support in addressing transport and planning problems in the area.


Green Lane garage area gets clean up

After many months of complaining, we were pleased to see that the little Green Lane garage area was tidied up a few weeks ago.
Little Green Lane garage area cleaned

Little Green Lane garage area cleaned

Unfortunately, since the clean up, some builders waste has been left in the area and we are still waiting to hear when the housing department plan to resurface the access road and forecourt.

Elsewhere other long standing issues also remain to be resolved.

Material dumped in the Dijon Avenue garage area 6 months ago is still there and perimeter weeds – having fallen back during the winter – will start to grow  again shortly

Dijon Ave dumping

Dijon Ave dumping

Dijon Avenue weeds

Dijon Avenue weeds

……and another black mark for local housing officials who refuse to allow residents access to public noticeboards in the Kingsway area (below). They have been inaccessible for over 2 years now, forcing charities and community groups to post notices on the outside glass of the boards.

It’s an issue that could be easily solved by giving local Councillors a set of keys for the frames.

Unused noticeboards in Kingsway area

Unused noticeboards in Kingsway area

We report all issues for the Council’s attention using the “fix my street” web site


A tale of two communities

If anyone needed more proof that an effective partnership between the Council and residents can make a difference to a community, then they need look no further than the Kingsway and Cornlands neighbourhoods in the Westfield ward.

Kingsway abandoned noticeboard

Kingsway abandoned noticeboard

For many years the Kingsway residents, acting through the KARA organisation, liaised with local Councillors and officials.

Some three years ago the Council chose to totally ignore the representation that KARA made about a couple of planning applications which not only threatened public service standards in the area but also put the adjacent Hob Moor at risk.

The Council chose to ignore its own draft Local Plan and almost doubled the number of houses being built on the former Our Lady’s school site (now called “Hob Stones – which itself in recent weeks has slowed as one of the contractors went into administration).

Nearby the Council, despite a tangible lack of parking space in the estate, chose to build on a garage site in Newbury Avenue.

Again local representations were largely ignored.

Dumped mattress in Kingsway area

Dumped mattress in Kingsway area

The Residents Association were disgusted and threw in the towel.

Without an active Residents Association the Council then chose to end the regular skip visits to the area.

Fly tipping and dumping increased and a downward spiral began.

The most poignant symptom of the decline is probably the KARA noticeboard which has not been updated for nearly two years.

Fortunately the area now has new Councillors who will no doubt begin to re-establish a working relationship with the local community.

They could make a start by getting the noticeboards updated and the skip service restored.

Cornlads Road notiocebaord up to date

Cornlands Road noticeboard up to date

Ironically a small – but active – residents association, in the adjacent Cornlands area, manages to keep its two noticeboards bang up to date.

“Keep the bus routes on gritting schedule” say Westfield residents.

Pressure is growing on Labour Councillors to agree to continue to de-ice all bus routes during the coming winter.

Another petition – containing the signatures of 175 residents living in the Kingsway, Danesfort Avenue and Hamilton Drive areas – has been submitted to the decision meeting that is taking place tomorrow (Wednesday 9th October West Offices, 4:00pm).

The petitioners point out that the Councils latest proposals

Christmas 2009

Christmas 2009

reprieve the Hollybank area which will now be gritted. That area has a 1 hour frequency 13A bus service, the same frequency as the number 24 Kingsway/St Stephens Road link.

The petition is in addition to those who signed a similar plea aimed at retaining gritting and salt bins in the St Stephens Road area.

A copy of all the written representations should be available on the Councils web site shortly. Click here.

Residents wishing to attend and speak at the meeting have only got until 5:00pm today (Tuesday) to register to do so. Telephone – (01904) 552062 Laura Bootland.

The Council has confirmed the list of salt bin sites that will be retained if their proposals go ahead. Around 2/3 of the existing bins are scheduled to be scrapped.

Click here to download a full list of those that will remain.