Although group walks are banned during lockdown, there are a lot of options which can be followed on an individual basis in west York. Some are more taxing than others.
“Move the Masses“ produces a map covering three routes in the Acomb area including one that crosses Bachelor Hill (see below).
Elsewhere the Westfield Ward Councillors have claimed on their Facebook page that the tree trunk, which currently blocks the Foxwood Lane access to Acomb Moor, will be moved “as soon as the ground dries out”.
Maybe so. But if this happens then we hope that walkers will restrict their movements to the perimeter of the field until the crop has been harvested.
One consequence of more people walking in the area is that the footpath infrastructure is deteriorating more quickly. There is a need for stiles to be repaired and for hardcore to be putdown at locations which are flooding.
The Council has known about these pressures for some time and needs to reprioritise its leisure budgets to properly support healthy living routines.
A Freedom of Information response has revealed that little progress has been made on providing a replacement multi user games area in Westfield despite a Council executive decision taken in February 2019.
The expectation had been that the replacement, for the now closed facility on Kingsway West, would be in use by now. Discussions were to have been held with the Acorn Rugby Club who currently lease the alternative site which is in the Thanet Road sports area.
However, it seems that meaningful correspondence only started in July 2020 some 18 months after the Council’s Executive had made their promise. Some meetings then took place in August, but no progress report has been prepared for consideration by the Councils executive
Quite why the initiative had not been followed up sooner is unclear.
It had been thought that the most likely site would be under the existing floodlights to the side of the clubhouse. This would have minimised costs and might have been useful addition to the rugby clubs training options.
It seems that that officials, however, favour a location next the car park, while a local Councillor is keen to incorporate a n outdoor gym in the plans.
No consultation has taken place with the Foxwood Residents Association on the plans. There was a lukewarm response to plans for an outdoor gym a few years ago although objections then centred on proposals to locate the facility on Chesney’s Field.
Residents are quite clear that some informal free access must be available to the new games area. The price of access to pitches at the Energise centre are prohibitive for many local young people so a system needs to be worked out which meets the needs of both local users and the rugby club. The rugby club has a good reputation for encouraging young sports people so there should be no conflict of interests.
It is understood that serval potential users have expressed a wish to rent the facility so this should provide a basic income to cover maintenance and replacement costs.
The new facility could cost around £200,000.
The Westfield ward is statistically the poorest area in the City and has the largest proportion of obese children. The project would go some way to addressing the inequalities which have been worsened in the area in recent years as a result of the development of open spaces and sports pitches.
It looks like work on the new Children’s Disabled centre and the renovation and extension of Lincoln Court sheltered housing could be completed by the October target date. The internal road system has been surfaced over the last few days. This is usually a sign that work is well advanced.
At a minimum it should mean that there will be less mud on local roads
Neighbours will be looking forward to getting the new bus lay-by into operation following 12 months of disruption.
However there is still a lot to do. The public noticeboard was damaged by contractors needs to be replaced. What is left of the noticeboard is currently attached to a perimeter fence.
…and the long saga of providing a replacement games area for local children still seems to be stalled.
On the 18th March 2019 the Council’s Executive agreed to provide a replacement for the Kingsway West “Multi User Games Area” (MUGA) which has been closed as part of the project to extend Lincoln Court.
The minute of the meeting read;
“a ii) To note that in approving Option 1 a commitment is made for alternative recreational facilities following community consultation including Sport England within Westfield Ward in mitigation for the loss of the Multi Use Games Area. The alternative facilities provided are to be agreed by Executive and will be subject to a further report and budget approval.”
Nothing more has been heard about the plan. Residents hoped that an all weather area might be provided on Thanet Road but nothing seems to have come of this as yet.
Now a Freedom of Information request has been submitted in an attempt to find out what progress has been made.
The Council has today announced the name of the new centre
Innonvative new facility for children with disabilities buzzes with a new name
An innovative facility for children with disabilities in York has got a new name, thanks to the young people who will use it.
‘The Beehive’, as the Centre of Excellence for disabled children will now be known, will provide short overnight breaks for children with complex disabilities in the city. Young people and their families will be able to receive specialist support from a wide range of professionals, including clinical psychologists, all in one building for the first time.
The ‘bee theme’ will flow throughout the new facility, including bee-friendly names for the bedroom areas and honeycomb-like hexagons incorporated into the decorative features. Children and young people using the facility will also be given a fluffy bee toy to take home with them as a visual reminder of their ‘home away from home’.
It’s hoped that this attention to detail will help the children settle into the new building more easily, something which is particularly important for young people with learning disabilities or autism.
Thought to be one of the first facilities of its kind in the country, the innovative building is a partnership between City of York Council and NHS England.
The new centre is due to open this year and includes:
- spacious bedrooms with state of the art hoist and bathing facilities for children who have complex health needs and wheelchair users
- a larger, open-spaced area and bedrooms for children with learning disabilities or autism
- quieter self-contained areas that can be used for children who may struggle in a more open, busier environment and where their parents can accompany them so that their needs can be fully assessed
- an activity area, sensory room and quiet rooms
- a large outdoor play space with a variety of equipment suitable for children of all abilities
Refuses to reveal location but cost will be £1.65 million!
In one of the most bizarre proposals to come before the York Council, officials are recommending buying agricultural land “within the York boundary” which will subsequently be planted with trees. It says only that it is located in the Green Belt.
The forest scheme is intended to offset a proportion of the CO2 emissions generated within the City.
The Council says it can’t reveal the location of the new forest “for commercial reasons”.
While many residents will support the objective of the initiative, the lack of background information on the scheme is extraordinary.
There is no indication of the grade of the agricultural land in question. At a time when greater food self sufficiency is a high priority for the country, relative priorities must surely be fully evaluated before productive land is lost?
The report also says that the new forest – which might be designated as a “stray” – will provide new accessible paths and trails for York residents.
Officials point to the health benefits of greater exercise.
They are right, of course, as we have seen during lock-down. But the Council’s position lacks credibility as it has failed to maintain existing paths and trails, some of which are now inaccessible because of neglect.
The absence of any maintenance and management strategy for any new wood is one of the major omissions from the report.
The Council also quotes (rightly) the need to encourage pollinators (bees and other insects) but again fails to evaluate the effect that planting more woodland would have against providing – for example – wildflower meadows on the land.
In total the Council expects to spend £3 million on establishing new woodland and strays around the City.
It will need to do a lot more work, if taxpayers are to be convinced that this is an effective, and thoroughly thought through, reaction to the global conservation challenge.
NB. In the Westfield area, local Councillors promised 12 months ago to promote the adoption of “stray” status for Acomb Moor. There has been no recent update on the progress that they have made.
The library managers say that things will look a little different for a while. From some of our libraries you will be able to:
Libraries These libraries are open from 7 July Tuesday to Saturday for pre-booked visits.
All venues will have safety measures in place to protect customers and staff.
Age-friendly York has launched a new consultation on how older people spend their leisure time in the city and how they’d actually like to spend it.
Your Leisure Time consultation is at www.york.gov.uk/AgeFriendlyYork and asks for views on activities and how to find them, volunteering and loneliness. Past surveys have highlighted social isolation is an issue which we’re addressing by providing opportunities to socialise like chatty bench and a chatty café. The survey asks about these initiatives and a shared restaurant table scheme. The questionnaire takes about 10 minutes to complete.
Earlier Age-Friendly surveys held last year were on Your Journey in August and Your Destination in October. Over 200 people took part and provided high-quality information and comments. Among the outcomes, includes a survey of benches in the city, their location, condition and plotting them on a map.
Following an earlier survey in 2017 when 23% of respondents said they experienced loneliness, we and partners developed www.LiveWellYork.co.uk which now lists some 640 activities, events or volunteering opportunities.
Councillor Carol Runciman, Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Health said: “Being an age-friendly city is a welcome step towards making the city an even better place for older residents.
“Better understanding their preferences or concerns means we can work with partners to address them. We can then build on initiatives like the falls prevention service, or our older people’s accommodation programme to support people to live as independently and as well as possible in later life.
“We know social isolation can be an issue, and this survey will help us understand the barriers people face to socialising, so we can create the right solutions. In the same way, we know accessing community transport at peak times can be difficult, so Age Friendly York is working with the Community Transport Group to find solutions.”
The surveys are open to any older York residents, anyone who works with or cares for older people or those who are planning ahead for older age. Printed copies and large print versions of the consultation are available on request to AgeFriendlyYork@york.gov.uk. Please email this address is you’re interested in getting involved in Age Friendly York.
Other consultations planned by Age Friendly York are on Your Access to Information; Your Home and Your Services.
In response to a Freedom of Information request the York Council has now confirmed that it did not consult neighbours or local Councillors before issuing a license which allowed a building contractor to occupy the “old allotments” site at the rear of the library car park.
This site has been owned by the Council for over 15 years. The developers of the adjacent bowling Club land (which does have planning permission) had previously said that they did not want to combine the two sites to provide a abetter overall layout.
Work on the site disturbed residents living in South View Terrace and part of Lowfields Drive.
The first that residents knew of the arrangement, was when heavy plant moved onto the site and started to clear it. This prompted complaints about noise, dust and vibrations.
Spoil heap heights reached over 4 metres at one point.
Local fauna and flora on the site were badly affected.
The Council now says that it granted a license to occupy its land on 8th April. There was no consultation undertaken with neighbours.
Residents complained to the Council on 16th May about the problems being caused.
It wasn’t until 28th May that the Council wrote to affected neighbours telling them about the license.
The Council says that working hours on the compound are restricted to 8:00am – 6:00pm, Mon – Fri plus 9:00am – 1:00pm on Saturdays.
The Council says that “The compound licence requires the developer to leave the property in a clean and tidy condition at the end of the licence, including the removal of hardcore”.
It goes on to say that it expects the compound to be in use for 12 months.
An investigation into whether the developers have the necessary planning permission to use the building compound is still underway.
In our view affected residents have suffered unexpected and unreasonable disruption and should be entitled to compensation.
It is possible that the matter may be referred to the Local Government Ombudsman