Westfield Councillors to debate what to do about building works at public meeting tomorrow


Bowling club building site not on the agenda?

The Westfield Councillors are right to insist on more information being provided on building works in the area, when they meet tomorrow (Wednesday)

However, they will be meeting only a few metres away from the spoil heaps and site compound which has been constructed on the Council owned land to the rear of the Library.

Large spoil heap on Council land at the Acomb Library

Some explanation for the decision to allow the contractors to use this Council owned site will be expected. It is an issue that is not likely to go away.

Some residents still hope that Council will offer some sort of compensation for the problems that have been caused by the use of the compound

Elsewhere, the Lowfields development saga continues.

There has still not been any explanation about how the York Council came to mislead residents about the inclusion of a “police station” and health centre/GP surgery in the original consultation plans.

Both these promises turned out to be bogus. It is unclear what will happen to what, otherwise, will be unused plots on the east of the site.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Carriageway-cracking-on-Kingsway-West-1300hrs-5th-May-2019-.jpg
The Kingsway West carriageway is already breaking up

On Ascot Way, access arrangements, for the heavy plant needed to complete the demolition of Windsor House, remain unclear. It seems that access for the plant will be via Kingsway West and Ascot Way It is clear that the roads are too narrow in the area to avoid major damage to adjacent verges and paths. A “one way” system has been suggested but not confirmed.

There are real concerns that the bus route will be obstructed by the likely congestion

The original hope had been that more parking lay-bys would have been provided by now.

…..and the problem of the promised replacement for the all weather games area seems to be no closer to resolution. The existing MUGA has already been converted into a building compound.

Games area is now a building compound. No alternative provision for children has been provided

There is no word about the proposed alternative site on the Thanet Road Sports Area although officials were asked to follow this up 3 months ago.

Residents will no doubt be hoping that some answers emerge from the meeting

Spoil heaps dominate neighbouring properties on Lowfields Drive

Latest planning applications for the Westfield Ward

Below are the latest planning applications received by the York Council for the Westfield ward.

Full details can be found by clicking the application reference 

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Lincoln Court Ascot Way York YO24 4RA

Proposal      Conditions 4,7,8,16,17,19,20 & 21 of 19/00083/FULM

Reference   AOD/19/00165

NB. Refers to Condition 4 – Boundary Treatments. Proposed Site Plan Condition 7 – Slight amendments to car parking arrangements. Proposed Site Plan Condition 8 – Electric Car Charging Points. Proposed Site Plan Condition 16 & 17 – Bats & Contamination.

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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

Games area being ripped up by contractors

The demolition contractors for the Windsor House/Lincoln Court/Hob Moor school developments have taken over the Multi User Games Area (MUGA) on Kingsway West.

It in no longer accessible for local children.

Councillors have reportedly agreed to it being used as a building compound.

Sections of the fencing around the area have been removed to allow access to a new service road. The entrance used by children has been secured.

While the loss of the play area is not unexpected following a controversial planning decision a few months ago, the failure of the Council to provide updates on when a replacement facility will be provided (and where) is very disappointing. The location favoured by Sports Clubs and local residents, is on the Thanet Road All Weather Sports area near the junction of Gale Lane and Thanet Road.

At one point the Council promised funding for a new facility but all has gone quiet since the LibDems took control of the Council at the beginning of May.

The loss of the sports facility comes in the wake of similar erosion of facilities in the Westfield area with the Lowfields playing field now being developed as is the Acomb Bowling Club.

The Our Lady’s school field was developed about 3 years ago.

Support for the provision of more public open space – possibly in the form of new strays – on the outskirts of the City is growing.

New access road constructed across Hob Moor school playing field
MUGA entrance sealed
Access road into site compound

Windsor House demolition plan falls at first hurdle

Residents warned the York Council that local roads in the Ascot Way/Kingsway West area were too narrow to accommodate heavy construction traffic.
Windsor House construction site

Despite these warnings, the planning committee approved plans for the demolition of Windsor House but failed to specify any highway improvements.

The foolishness of that decision was highlighted on Friday when two very large trucks made their way from the site onto Kingsway West.

They failed to observe the agreed one-way system forcing other vehicles to mount the footpath and verge.

The traffic plan – regarded by many residents as inadequate – was published on 8th May. (Click here to read).

It was clear yesterday that it will be impossible for construction traffic and other larger vehicles, like buses, to pass each other on the twisting roads.

Several other conditions were imposed on activities on the site (click here). Most have still to be implemented.

Car parking is now at an even greater premium with whole of the Windsor House/Lincoln Court site cordoned off.

The problems have arisen only a few days before residents will be given an opportunity to quiz contractors on their plans.

The “drop in” meeting will take place at the Hob Moor School Children’s Centre (Green Lane) at 3:30pm on Wednesday 5th June.

There is still no news on the Council’s plans to provide an alternative play facility to replace the Multi User Games Area which will be lost when construction work starts. It had been hoped that by now, permission would have been granted for a new pitch to be provided on the nearby Thanet Road Sports Area.

There is also a major question mark about the costs of the “Centre of Excellence for Disabled Children” which will be constructed on the Windsor House site. A Council meeting on 18th June (click) will hear that additional funds are required to sustain the project.

One way system odged on 28th May 2019
Meeting on Wednesday

Latest planning applications for the Westfield Ward

 Below are the latest planning applications received by the York Council for the Westfield ward. 

Full details can be found by clicking the application reference 

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Former Lowfield School Dijon Avenue York

Condition 2 – 17/02429/OUTM

Self build code for 6 plots. Specifies maximum 12 months build period

Ref. No: AOD/19/00161 

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Former Lowfield School Dijon Avenue York

Conditions 10, 13 & 37 of 17/02428/FULM 

Revised plans for boundary treatments, fencing, open space plan, highway works on Dijon Avenue,  highway works Tudor Road and similar details.  

Ref. No: AOD/19/00160 

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Windsor House 22 Ascot Way York YO24 4QZ

Conditions 16,19 & 21 of 18/01467/GRG3 

Relates to drainage plans.  Construction traffic management plan (Access via Ascot Way for delivery lorries using a one-way system! Worker car parking at Hob Moor school, bus stop moved temporarily along Ascot Way), replacement school playing pitches (at York R I)

Ref. No: AOD/19/00159 

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17 Foxwood Lane York YO24 3LH

Fell Ash tree protected by Tree Preservation Order no. 3. 

Ref. No: 19/00907/TPO 

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15 The Reeves York YO24 3ES

Single storey rear extension. 

Ref. No: 19/00726/FUL 

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56 St Stephens Road York YO24 3EQ

Change of use from dwelling (use class C3) to a House in Multiple Occupation (use class C4). 

Ref. No: 19/00562/FUL |

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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

Latest planning applications for the Westfield Ward

 Below are the latest planning applications received by the York Council for the Westfield ward. 

Full details can be found by clicking the application reference 

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One application would see a major change to the design of replacement buildings at the site of 61a Gale Lane. Planning permission for the demolition of the bungalow was sought in 2017. Now it is to be replaced by 8 flats and 2 semi detached bungalows. There may be issues with parking provision and traffic generation on what is a busy junction. ——-

61A Gale Lane York YO24 3AD

Erection of no.8 one bedroom apartments and no.2 two bedroom semi-detached bungalows following demolition of existing bungalow.

Ref. No: 19/00583/FULM 

61A Gale Lane 2017 plans
61A Gale Lane 2019 plans

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Replacement buildings 61A Gale Lane frontage view

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Lincoln Court Ascot Way York

Condition 13 (foul and surface water drainage)- 19/00083/FULM 

Ref. No: AOD/19/00147 

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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

Costs up on Council’s Ascot Way development plans

It looks like there are more problems ahead, as the York Council tries to let contracts to establish a new Centre of Excellence for Disabled Children (CEDC) and a major expansion of the Lincoln Court  independent living building.

A year ago, the Council said that it would need to invest £4.3 million in the CEDC. They later revised their budgets and agreed to borrow an additional £330,000 to fund the centre.

Centre of Excellence layout proposals

A £4.7 million contract was awarded in February to Sewell’s. It was said to cover work at both Windsor House and Lincoln Court.

Now papers released yesterday suggest that there may be a significant increase in the costs for the project. Officials are expected to make a case for extra investment at a meeting taking place on 18th June.  A note in the Councils Forward Programme says, “A value engineered exercise has been undertaken and further funds are required to ensure there is an adequate contingency. This needs to be done within this timeframe in order to meet the requirements of external health funding”.

The meeting will take place after the local elections in May so it is anyone’s guess what will now happen to the project.

A cost drift has also occurred on the Lincoln Court side of the project. Earlier this month officials admitted that the cost had soared from £1.9 million to £4.8 million.

The Lincoln Court project is still mired in controversy. The planning approval is being referred to the Secretary of State for consideration for calling in. The move stems from objections from local sports organisations and residents who want to see the existing all-weather play area moved to Thanet Road. The play area would be lost under the Council’s current proposals.

There are also concerns about access arrangements for the buildings both during building works and afterwards. A case has been made for a private (pedestrian) access to be made available to the adjacent school car park. So far, the Council has turned a blind eye to the suggestion, reinforcing concerns about traffic congestion and parking problems on Ascot Way

Both the CEDC and Lincoln Court modernisation have attracted widespread local support. It is a change that lack of attention to detail and poor consultation arrangements seem to be hindering progress.

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