North Yorkshire Police is appealing for witnesses and information about an incident of suspected Arson at Tang Hall Explore Library.
The incident happened some time between 3pm on Saturday 27 February and 8.30am on Monday 1 March and involved an area outside of the building being damaged by fire
We are requesting the public’s assistance to help establish the full circumstances surrounding the incident.
In particular, we are appealing for information about anyone who was seen in the area or who saw the fire.
Anyone with information that could assist the investigation should contact North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 2, and ask for Nicola Russell.
You can also email Nicola.Russell@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk
If you wish to remain anonymous, you can pass information to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Please quote the North Yorkshire Police reference number 12210069072.
There have also been problems with theft and vandalism on the other side of the City in Foxwood recently. There have been thefts from the community centre garden, fencing has been damaged and windows broken. One empty council bungalow has been a particular target.
CCTV footage suggests teenagers are responsible.
Police are asking anyone who sees any crimes being committed to ring 999 immediately
It isn’t just the Community Stadium (see story below) that is lying unused at Monks Cross.
The £12 million gym, swimming pool and outdoor all-weather sports pitches are also still under wraps.
Around £14 million of taxpayers money has been used to subsidise the complex on top of which were “developer” contributions of over £15 million (click).
The expectation was that the site would provide several hundred additional jobs for York – opportunities which look to be even more important as the post COVID-19 recession hits employment levels in the City.
Other sports and swimming facilities in the City reopened on 10th August (click).
The IMAX cinema recently reopened and two adjacent units have been taken up by a bowling alley/café (Hollywood Bowl) and an indoor putting green (Putstars). Opening dates haven’t been confirmed.
Both had been scheduled to open in April. Together they will create about 60 jobs.
Elsewhere the Council hasn’t issued any update on the progress made in letting the floor-space in the building that they have underwritten.
Three of the 4 nearby café units are now vacant following the demise of Frankie and Benny’s.
Costa Coffee remains open.
The has similarly been no word on the plans for a library and the NHS outpatient unit.
A Council official has used his delegated powers to let one of the City’s largest ever leisure contracts. The supplier is confirmed as the current Library management company. The decision was delegated on the basis that the tender received was within the agreed budget. In reality it wasn’t and the Council subsequently had to hike its contribution during its recent budget meeting.
No details of the terms of the contract or the expected outputs have been published. The decision was taken at a “behind closed doors” meeting on 1st March. The Council had however already announced that the contract had been let on 19th February!The old contract was due to terminate on 31st March 2019.
While we hold the York Explore team in high regard – a recent independent report gave them a good review in comparison with libraries in other City’s https://t.co/9R3KnthqUF – we are less than convinced about the transparency of the process used by the Council
The degtails released so far by the Council are reproduced below.
“On 21 June 2018 the Council’s Executive agreed key aspects of the service specification for a new contract for library and archive services. It was agreed that the term of the contract would be 15 years with an option for a 5 year extension.
Authority was delegated to the Director of Children, Education and Communities authority to:
? Develop and implement the procurement framework in line with the terms of the Executive report, and
? Award the contract at the end of the process provided that the price is within budget
Two bids were received. These were rigorously assessed. The financial assessment was undertaken by a team of officers from Corporate Finance. The quality assessment was undertaken by a team of officers with expertise in the relevant areas, supported by two external experts, former heads of libraries and archive services respectively.
The assessment of the bids was on the basis of 60% quality and 40% price. Neither bid as submitted was deemed to be compliant since neither was assessed as being deliverable within the Council’s affordability limit. The Competitive Procedure with Negotiation (CPN) under regulation 29 of the Public Contract Regulations 2015 was then used within a second bidding round. This procedure was selected as the best option for CYC to assess the minimum additional resources required to secure the contract in line with our specification and within the original timetable.
Both bidders agreed to take part in the CPN on the basis that an uplift in the affordability limit may subsequently be agreed by the Council. A revised affordability limit was set for round 2, in agreement with the Director of Resources, at £2.432m per annum for years 1 to 4, reducing to £2.232m for years 5-15, a total budget of £34.28m over the 15 years of the contract.
The procedure allowed CYC officers to meet both bidders twice before a second tendering phase commenced in order to provide feedback to each bidder on why their bid had been rejected so that they could subsequently make changes to their bids to make them compliant for round two. The second tender stage was conducted between 14 and 28 January 2019 and both bidders submitted bids.
The highest scoring bid in terms of quality was that submitted by Explore Libraries and Archives Mutual Ltd. This was also the lowest priced bid. Budget Council on 28 February allocated additional resources commensurate with the increased affordability limit set out above.
The tendered price is now, therefore, within budget and the contract can be awarded to Explore Libraries and Archives Mutual Ltd.”
A report raised several worrying options including the introduction of “volunteer” run branches. Others were concerned that a large leisure management company based outside the City would take over the service.
The contract on offer is believed to be worth £32 million and covers a 15 year period.
Acomb Explore Library
The present management arrangements are essentially a development of the team that led the library organisation when it was run by the Council. They have had a generally successful 5 years with, against the national trend, user numbers stable and some useful innovations like the reading café in Rowntree Park introduced.
An updated report on the Libraries recent activities was published yesterday (it says that they can now handle visa applications – a role that the Post Office revealed, during consultations about the relocation of the Lendal office to W H Smiths, they were losing)
The Councils Forward Plan which lists all major upcoming decisions runs until 28th April 2019.
It does not include a decision item on the future of the library service.
Plans to create a new library for Haxby and Wigginton have taken a step further after an agreement has been reached over the lease for Haxby and Wigginton Scout Headquarters – the preferred venue for the new facility.
Haxby Town Council last night (12 November) agreed to lease the land on which the scout headquarters sits to 2nd Haxby and Wigginton Scout Group on a long term basis.
The decision means that the council can now formally consider plans to invest in and refurbish the scout headquarters, providing a high quality library facility for local residents, while updating the current facilities for existing user groups.
The old library was closed in July 2016 on the grounds of public safety and the building has now been demolished. (more…)
City of York Council’s Executive will be asked to consider proposals for the future development of York’s Libraries and Archives at a meeting later this month (21 June).
If the proposals are agreed, the council will look to appoint an operator for the service for the next 15 years with a contract of £32 million; maintaining the existing level of funding despite pressure on budgets
The existing five-year contract with Explore Libraries and Archives Mutual Limited expires on 31 March 2019.
The move is likely to cause concern that the substantial progress made by the current operator will be jeopardised. Working together the Council and contractor have managed to sustain the existing network of facilities across the whole City – unlike the situation in most other parts of the country.
The tender documents may raise the prospect of reduced hours or “volunteer only” manning at some small branches.
Some of the Councils “outsourcing” deals have failed spectacularly.
Yesterday the Warden Call CIC was revealed to have crashed financially and it will now be brought back “in house”. “Make it York” has had a troubled couple of years while GLL has been criticised for chasing footfall, since it took over the Councils leisure centres, at the expense of a timetable with a broader appeal.
The procurement plans follow a citywide consultation from November 2017 – February 2018, which 2,484 people responded to, giving their views on the council’s vision for the future of the city’s library and archives service.
Key elements of the consultation feedback include:
The need to retain key services such as borrowing books, providing a reading and studying space, and providing access to computers
The desirability of providing a reading cafe on site
The importance of the library as a community hub with opening hours to reflect the needs of local residents
Libraries providing state of the art learning spaces
Maximising the best use of the buildings through partnership working
Respondents broadly supported for the vision of moving away from stand alone library buildings and recognised the need for partnerships to create services co-located with other community amenities.
Key proposals for the future service include: (more…)
Bishopthorpe : Fri 4 Aug : 11.00am – 12.00pm Strensall Library : Tue 8 Aug : 11.00 am – 12.00pm
Copmanthorpe Library : Tue 8 Aug : 2.30pm – 3.30pm
Haxby Explore Library : Thu 10 Aug : 10.00am – 11.00am New Earswick : Thu 10 Aug : 2.00pm – 3.00pm
Join us for an interactive story time with rare and exotic insects, reptiles, amphibians and animals from around the world.
This session is a brilliant opportunity to get up close to a variety of exotic mammals, insects, reptiles and mollusks. If you love animals you will love this. Look, touch and learn with Sam’s Safaris.
Free but booking essential.
This event is suitable for 5-12 years old.
Booking is in person through any Explore York Library or by telephone at York Explore Library on (01904) 552828 or Acomb Explore Library on (01904) 552651