Lincoln Court let down

The planning committee last night approved the proposals for the extension of Lincoln Court.

Proposed new layout

They failed to include a timetable for the replacement of the all-weather games area which will be destroyed as part of their plan.

Successive Council officials and Tory Councillors claimed that the “MUGA” had not been used.

 That is simply not true. The area was popular for many years but fell into decline because of lack of maintenance with overgrown bushes providing a screen which encouraged anti-social behaviour.

That was down to poor management by the York Council.

Nevertheless providing an alternative at the Thanet Road site would have been a positive proposal. The Councils executive had seemed to take a step in that direction on Monday when they offered to support a new facility.

Council officials admitted last night that they had not even opened discussions with the rugby club which currently leases the Thanet Road site.

 So, what have they been doing for the last 6 months?

The issue will now be referred to the Secretary of State for decision. Residents will make representations in support of Sport England’s position which is that an alternative should be provided before the existing facility is lost.

Lincoln Court

 If this results in delays, then it will be on the heads of the Councillors who last night voted through a scheme which not only sells down the river the hopes of younger people in the Westfield area but also endorses a scheme which provides only a very small external garden space for the use of the elderly residents of Lincoln Court.

Car parking provision is inadequate while a confused traffic management model can only lead to more congestion in the estate with verges and footpaths likely to be damaged by large vehicles.

Lincoln Court update

The Councils Executive discussed the planned extension of the Lincoln Court independent living building yesterday. They agreed to progress the scheme and included a requirement for an alternative all weather games area to be provided in the ward.

It will be up to the planning committee at its meeting tomorrow (Wednesday) to include a condition requiring that the new facility is provided before the existing MUGA is demolished.

Windsor House is already being vandalised

It emerged at the meeting that 14 of the remaining 19 tenants have now accepted offers of alternative accommodation. When the remaining 5 will be offered, and accept, a suitable alternative remains in doubt. The adjacent Windsor House building, which is empty, is already suffering vandalism and there is a concern that the whole site could become a magnet for anti social behaviour.

Large delivery lorries are ruining roads in Lowfields. Similar concerns about Ascot Way

The Council is negotiating with the school to allow builders plant to access the site from the school side. There have been major problems getting large items of plant into the Lowfields site where roads are of a similar width to Ascot Way.

It has yet to be confirmed whether an (pedestrian) access will be retained from the school site when the redevelopment has been completed. This is considered to be essential to provide overflow parking capacity given that only 16 spaces are being provided on the Ascot Way frontage.

Large plant on Lowfields site. Working hours planning condition being breached?

Sadly members of the executive failed to probe why the new apartments have been described, in successive Planning Committee reports, as “extra care” units.

No doubt residents will get more clarification tomorrow

Busy week for the York planning committee

Big planning decisions in York

York Central

York Central

The largest proposal concerns the land to the rear of the railway station. Known as “York Central” redevelopment of the area has been on the cards for nearly two decades. It has finally reached the planning application stage. The report recommends that the plans be forwarded to the Secretary of State for endorsement. The plans have attracted some opposition, but the economic and social welfare of the City depends on making some progress on the site now. Hopefully some of the ill judged ideas such as having only one-way traffic through the Marble Arch tunnel can be changed at a later stage.

Lowfields

‘dozer wrecks playing field

There is already a lot of local disquiet about the way that the Council are implementing their plans for this area. Many of the comments on the “Save Lowfields Playing Field” Facebook page are from disgruntled local residents who, even at this early stage, point to conflicts between lorries and parked cars, muddy roads and the ripping out of trees and hedges.

They are asking that the new parking spaces promised for Tudor Road be constructed before the existing parking lay-by is lost as an access road is constructed.

Yorspace proposed development plan, Lowfields

Further along the road, the Yorspace” application has been heavily criticised by local residents. The main concerns related to the lack of affordable units proposed on the site, the impact on the natural environment including inappropriate boundary treatments, security concerns relating to the adjacent public snicket access to little Tudor Road, the proposal to remove the railings which protect adjacent properties,  inadequate car parking provision  and the impact that overspill parking by residents, families and visitors could have on neighbouring streets and the height of the buildings.

Council officials have revealed that they have approved 5 outstanding conditions, for activities on the building site, despite several objections.

Lincoln Court

Lincoln Court.

The Council has made an embarrassing series of mistakes on the proposal to extend this independent living building. Even now they have published papers which imply (wrongly) that the new apartments  will be classified as “Extra Care” units. It has had plenty of time to clarify that issue.

There is some hope now that the future of the adjacent games area will be secured. Local Councillors are understood to have taken the initiative to discuss moving the facility to the local rugby club ground. If so, that would be a good solution to a problem which has also raised concerns from Sport England, and the resident’s association.

Other applications

All applications are recommended for approval

Lincoln Court modernisation set to double in cost.

Council admits it got costs wrong

Modernisation plans 2018

The estimated cost of modernising the independent living flats at Lincoln Court has increased from £1.9 million to £4.8 million. Council officials, in a report to an executive committee meeting next week, admit that they got their measurement figures wrong in a report published in March 2018.

A contract for £4.7 million had already been let for the Windsor House/Lincoln Court redevelopment 

The new scheme would include 15 new apartments which would meet disabled access standards. In total there would be 35 units on the site.

Although the report has not been approved, Council officials have already submitted a planning application for the scheme. The planning application is due to be determined on 20th March 2019.

It is currently blocked by an objection from Sport England.

Sport England objects to the loss of the all-weather games area on which the extension to Lincoln House will be constructed. They insist that a replacement is provided.

A local residents association supports Sport England’s position.

It has been suggested that a new games area could be provided nearby on the Thanet Road Sports Area.

Kingsway MUGA

The report seeks to address to sports area issue by saying “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”

That isn’t likely to cut any ice with residents who will want to know what it to be provided and when before any planning application is approved. (The last ploy by officials was that some outdoor gym equipment would be provided on Chesneys field)

The report also candidly accepts that the new scheme will reduce the amount of garden space available for Lincoln Court residents.

That will not be popular.

No attempt is made to address the lack of car parking provision or the effect on traffic congestion, on approach roads, that the expansion will have.

Altogether too little, too late from Council officials who have treated tenants and neighbours with little more than contempt over the last 12 months.

Bats and hedgehogs at risk through Council developments

The Council has now published on their web site the comments of their Ecology and Countryside officer on the plan to extend Lincoln Court.

Comments of Council ecology officer March 2019

Contractors are currently ripping out the hedge on the school boundary of the site.

The officer states that a replacement hedge must be provided as part of any redevelopment.

There are also concerns about the displacement of bats.

One item, relating to the movement of small mammals like hedgehogs,  will be of particular interest to local residents who are concerned not just about this proposal but also the plans for the nearby Lowfields site.

There a developer (Yorspace) is planning to replace the existing railings with a close boarded fence. Effectively such fences hinder the free movement of hedgehogs

The Ecology officer hasn’t commented on the Lowfield proposal although the wildlife issue has been highlighted by the Lowfields Action Group as part of their objection.

 

Hedges ripped out near Lincoln Court

Hedges are being ripped out by contractors in preparation for the start of building works at Windsor House and Lincoln Court.

The new disabled centre, which will replace Windsor House, does have planning permission. It is understandable that developers Sewells will want to remove the hedges before the bird nesting season starts.

Work to the rear of Lincoln Court is more controversial. A planning permission granted in December was found to be flawed. This forced the Council, to submit a new application which has yet to be determined. It has attracted a lot of objections including a significant one from Sport England.

It is therefore premature to undertake work in that area.

Copies of the Lincoln Court planning application together with details of objections can be found by clicking here 

Contractors removing hedge from school playing field boundary

Hedge to side of Windsor House has already been removed

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

Planning updates – Lincoln Court and Lowfields

  • MUGA

    We understand that the Foxwood Residents Association have formally objected to the Councils plans to “replace” the children’s all-weather games area on Kingsway. The objection stems from the Councils proposal to build “fitness equipment” on Chesneys Field during the summer. The Association points out that no consultation has taken place over this proposal which could intensify the use of what is Public Open Space. When a similar idea was mooted 2 years ago, the preferred site for a fitness track was judged to be the Thanet Road Sports Area. The Association have suggested that the Council seek a partnership with the Acorn Rugby Club which could see a new 3G games area provided. Sport England have also objected to the Council’s plans

  • The Yorspace proposals for the Lowfields site have been criticised by the local Drainage Board. They are asking for further details of how surface water runoff will be handled. They point out the fact that – for the whole site –  water run off is likely to be more severe than occurs from the existing greenfield use. There are already some problems with flooding in the gardens of some properties in the Green Lane and Tudor Road area.
  • Separately the Lowfields Residents Group has objected to plans which would see the number of off street parking spaces reduced near 108 Tudor Road. They are also concerned about the traffic implications of building a new access road onto the Lowfields site

NB. The contract for “enabling works” at Lowfields was awarded to NMCN. It is valued at £260,000. The end date for the contract is 19th April 2019.

£4.7 million contract awarded for Lincoln Court and Windsor House redevelopment

Lincoln Court

Notwithstanding the fact that the York Council still has an planning application outstanding for the redevelopment of Lincoln Court, it has gone ahead and awarded a construction contract covering the building, and a plan to establish a centre for disabled children on the Windsor House site.

The £4.7 million construction contract has been awarded to Sewell’s, the company who were involved in the PFI deal on the adjacent Hob Moor school development 15 years ago.

The number of tenders received for the work has not been revealed by the Council.

The completion date for the contract is 31st January 2021.