Cycle path maintenance still poor

The York Civic Trust was reported in the media today as backing a “go slow” by cyclists in the City centre. They were apparently highlighting the need to remove cars from roads to allow for safer cycling.

Any such plans need to be subject to detailed consultation. The Civic Trust could make a start by re-engaging with its own members.

We have already seen on half baked scheme – on Bishopthorpe Road – impact adversely on both shoppers and traders. Nearby roads became clogged at peak times increasing pollution levels.

A similar situation arose at Marygate car park where 40 spaces are currently coned off to provide a (largely unused) route for cyclists. Many cyclists choose to use the internal service road. Meanwhile pressure on parking spaces means shoppers are discouraged and prosperity in the City centre is put under more pressure.

The City does’t benefit from impulsive, uninformed, decision making.

If cyclists – with or without the support of the Civic Trust which really should have other concerns – choose to “go slow” then they will only be replicating life of many riders who try to use existing, suburban, off road cycle paths.

Moor Lane shared cycle/footpath obstructed by overgrown hedge

Too many of these are obstructed by hedges and weeds. Surfaces are damaged, signage faded and lines obscured by age. There are no regular maintenance inspections. Even local Councillors seem unaware of the problems or are indifferent to them.

If the Council has funding available then that is where they should make the first investments.

Some good news on Moor Lane development

The planning inspector has turned down an appeal which could have seen a large number of houses built on land near Moor Lane in Woodthorpe.

The plan had been refused by the York Planning Committee.

There were concerns that the development would have adversely impacted on the nearby Askham Bog nature reserve.

Moor Lane development proposal rejected by planning inspector.

Full decision notice can be read by clicking here

More issues reported for attention in west York

Quick work by York Council this morning in getting part of the Moor Lane carriageway surface dressed.
Adjacent to the Moor lane works, the badly worn carriageway on Askham Lane still needs repair
Leaf detritus in the Askham Richard drainage gulleys have been reported for sweeping
The York Council has accepted responsibility for sweeping the A64 cycle path near its junction with the A1237
We’ve asked again for the Tedder Road/Cornlands Road snicket to be given a “deep clean”. Dog fouling a problem with hedges also beginning to obstruct the path ”

Road repairs let down in York

The York Council has announced that 3 carriageways in the City will be resurfaced starting next week.

They are;

  • *Moor Lane: initial works will take place on Tuesday 28 April, between 6pm to 9pm, weather permitting. The works will consist of removing all existing road studs in preparation for resurfacing works. The resurfacing works will take place on Sunday 3 May between 9.30am to 11am.
  • A1237 – A59 roundabout to B1224 roundabout: initial works will take place on Tuesday 28 April, between 7pm to 9pm, weather permitting. The works will consist of removing all existing road studs in preparation for resurfacing works. The resurfacing works will take place on Sunday 3 May 2pm to 4.30pm.
  • Wigginton Road (section 1) – Railway line to A1237: The resurfacing works will take place on Sunday 3 May between 7am and 9am.

The Council has still not announced its full highways repair programme for the forthcoming 11 months.  The Council is now in breach of its own code of conduct. It recently agreed click to make available programme and performance information in a transparent way.

While the current health crisis may have delayed some aspects of the Councils work, there is no excuse for the lack of any communication with stakeholders.

Last year the programme was published in March although those documents have still not been listed on the  Councils Open Data site (which includes only the 2018 list).

The Council has also removed programme details from its – constantly updated – GIS mapping system.

At the same time the Council’s “report it on line” system is proving to be unreliable. Intermittently it is preventing a “flag” being dropped onto its GIS map indicating the location of potholes and, health related, cleansing issues. The issue is being followed up by a local Councillor. It is important to restrict the use of alternative communication channels – such as telephone and email – as Council resources need to be concentrated on the coronavirus response.

An FOI will be submitted to obtain the highways list. It would be better if officials/Councillors simply offered a progress report.

*Assumed to be Moor Lane Dringhouses

Local Plan inquiry dates set. Askham Bog appeal imminent

A planning appeal into the York Council’s refusal to allow a development near Askham Bog will start on 12th November.

Askham Bog in autumn

The potential developers (Barwood Land) refused to wait for the results of the public hearing into the York Local Plan (which protects the area near Moor Lane in Dringhouses from development). Instead they have pressed ahead with their planning application.

The Local Plan Inspectors are now preparing for the first stage of hearings, which will address legal compliance including the Duty to Co-operate, Housing Need and Green Belt. Provisional dates have been agreed with the Inspectors for these initial hearings to be held on selected days over a two week period, commencing on Monday 9 December 2019 at York Racecourse.

 The Inspectors will shortly be issuing the Council with their Matters, Issues and Questions (MIQs) which will be published on the examination library (link above) along with the Council’s response to these questions. The Inspectors will also produce a hearing timetable giving more detail on the hearing sessions including the schedule for each day.

 Representors (all those who commented on the Plan during the Regulation 19 Publication consultation and the Proposed Modifications Consultation) will be given the required formal notice (6 weeks) when the dates and venue have been finalised.

We will also update the examination library with these dates and will issue a press release with details of the dates and venue and where to find more information.

Developers try to overturn Moor Lane planning ruling

……..as Spark finally submit proposals for cladding their shipping container village

City of York Council has received notification from the Planning Inspectorate that the applicant for the Moor Lane planning application (18/02687/OUTM) has appealed the Council’s decision to refuse the outline permission for up to 516 residential units.

The Planning Inspectorate has notified the Council that the Inquiry will start on 12th November 2019 and it is anticipated that the Inquiry will sit for 12 days.

The Council will send notification of the appeal to any person who was notified or consulted about the application and any other interested persons who made representations.

If however the representation was part of a petition, each individual on the petition will not be notified by the Council.

Spark

Separately the Spark container village people have finally submitted details of their plans to provide cladding on the development frontage.

cladding plans

They say,  “We propose to attach to this frame a secondary timber structural frame which will be over clad with treated softwood or Siberian Larch battens of 50mm width running vertically with a 50mm gap forming a continuous wrap and palisade along the external boundary. The timber cladding will be overplanted with Clematis growing from planters situated at first floor level”.

The development reaches the end of its 3 year lease next June. We doubt very much whether even fast growing clematis will make much difference to its appearance during the intervening months.

NB. The Council has so far failed to say how much “profit share” they enjoyed from the Spark lease last year.

Askham Bog planning application set to be refused

The Planning committee is being recommended to refuse planning permission for the erection of  516 houses on Moor Lane near Woodthorpe.

The application caused an outcry last year because of concerns about its effect on the nearby Askham Bog. A host of celebrity experts lined up to oppose the plan. They pointed to the disastrous effect that changes to the hydrology in the area could have on the Site of Scientific Interest.

The report describes the existing site.

The application site extends to approximately 40.5Ha of farmland to the South of Moor Lane in Woodthorpe approximately 3.5km from the city centre. The farmland is divided by mature hedges, trees, a number of farm tracks and field drains. Marsh Farm sits within the centre of the site and consists of a farm house with a mixture of period and modern barns”.

The site is shown as Green Belt in the latest York Local Plan. This plan will be subject to a public examination over the next few weeks.

The need to preserve the Gren Belt boundary in the area forms the basis for the likely refusal of the application. However, concerns are also expressed about traffic generation from the site as well as other issues

Objections to the application were raised By Natural England, Historic England and the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust (who manage the Bog site). A wide range of other organisations and local Councillors have objected to the proposal. There were also 401 individual letters of objections and 7210 emails!

The Planning Committee meets to determine the application on Thursday 11th July at 4:30pm.

If the application is refused, the developer has a right of appeal to the Secretary of State.

This might result In a Public Inquiry.

Poor research or something more sinister?

A few days ago, Labour issued a statement condemning the City of York Council for agreeing to sell off Bootham Park Hospital. Only problem was that the Council had never owned the hospital site. Decisions about its future rest with NHS property, a central government agency.

Labours 2014 plan to develop land on Moor Lane

Now Labour candidates in Dringhouses and Woodthorpe are trying to blame the local coalition for the proposal to build near to Askham Bog on Moor Lane.

It appears that the candidates – who in fairness appear to have little local experience – do not realise that it was a Labour controlled Council that first identified the site for development when they published their version of the Local Plan in 2014 (it is still available to be read “on line”).

The previous version of the Plan, agreed by the outgoing LibDem led council in 2011, had retained the site in the Green Belt.

An incoming Labour administration adopted a “Big City” approach to development and earmarked large areas of Green Belt for development. They wanted to grow the size of the City by 25%. This included building on the land at Moor Lane.

Later the plan was jettisoned when Labour lost control of the Council following a by election in the autumn of 2014.

Labour on social media Mar 2019

The latest version of the Local Plan – backed by the ruling LibDem/Tory coalition – protects the Moor Lane site from building.

Not withstanding this, developers are still trying to use the 2014 draft Local Plan as leverage to get planning permission for the site before the final revised  Plan is implemented  by central government.

It takes a particularly thick brass neck to accuse your opponents of responsibility for a mistake that your own side made.

NB. Labour have published their 2019 local election manifesto. In it they promise to build hundreds of new houses each year many of which will be in new “villages” on the outskirts of the City. The new “villages” will be located on what is now Green Belt land.

Building plans near Moor Lane nature reserve

Askham Bog

Developers submit plans which could threaten the future of Askham Bog.

Developers are seeking “outline planning permission (with all matters reserved except for means of access) for up to 516 residential units (Class C3) with local centre (Use Classes A1-A4, B1a, C3, D1) public open space with pavilion and associated infrastructure and full application for demolition of existing buildings and structures and creation of ecological protection and enhancement zone”.

The location is on Moor Lane “OS Fields 5475 7267 And 8384 Moor Lane Acomb York” Click this   Reference for full details 18/02687/OUTM

The application went “live” on the Councils “planning on line” web site only yesterday. Objections have to be lodged by 9th January with a statutory expiry date of 30th January.

Some believe that the application has been timed to coincide with the busy festive season when resident’s attention is distracted.

The proposal is highly controversial.

Sir David Attenborough said during a visit to the site in 2016,

“If someone was proposing to put a building site next to York Minster there would be an outcry. This is a treasure that is irreplaceable.

“The citizens of York are lucky to have it on their doorstep and it is their responsibility to look after it.”

A Yorkshire Wildlife Trust spokesperson said the bog was a remarkable survivor of the ancient fenlands of Yorkshire, a ‘wonderful mosaic of fen, woodland and meadow,’ occupying the site of an ancient lake left behind by a retreating glacier 15,000 years ago.

The present Council specifically took the step of excluding the Moor Lane area from the development plans when it published its Local Plan. In 2 months time an independent inquiry will take place into the Plan.

It seems that the developers want to “bounce” a decision on the proposal before the formal Local Plan can be adopted.

They may be hoping that Labour will regain control of the York Council at the local elections which are taking place in May 2019. When Labour were last in power, they slated Moor Lane and other areas of Green Belt for development.

These decisions were revoked in 2015 by the new coalition administration.

Unfortunately the present Council is also guilty of pre-judging the Local Plan having succeeded recently in “bouncing” a plan to develop playing fields at Lowfields through the planning system. They did so before residents had the opportunity to voice their views at the public inquiry.

Opposition to the proposals is being coordinated by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. Click this link to go to their website www.ywt.org.uk

Moor Lane development plans December 2018

Moor Lane, Dringhouses set to be closed for resurfacing works from next Tuesday

Essential resurfacing set to take place across York

RoadworksThe council will be carrying out essential resurfacing on several roads in York, including Huntington Road, Campleshon Road, Bad Bargain Lane, Moor Lane, Low Green and Fulfordgate from 24 October.

Work is set to take place on:

  • ·Moor Lane from 25 October for two days with work taking place from 9.15am – 4pm. A temporary road closure from the junction of A1237 Ring Road to the junction of Cairnborrow will be necessary whilst works are taking place.
  • Huntington Road from 24 October for five days with work taking place from 9.15am-4pm. A temporary road closure from the junction of Link Road to the junction of Brockfields Road will be necessary whilst works are taking place.
  • · Campleshon Road from 24 October for one day with work taking place from 9.15am till 11pm. A temporary road closure will be in place during working hours. A signed diversion route will be in place for motorists during this time.
  • · Bad Bargain Lane from 25 October for two days with work taking place from 9.15am-5pm Monday to Friday. A temporary road closure from the junction of Burnholme Drive to the junction of Meadlands will be necessary whilst works are taking place.
  • · · Low Green, Copmanthorpe from 27 October for two days with work taking place from 8am – 5pm. A temporary road closure will be in place during working hours. Throughout the works the cycle lane/footpath between Merchant Way and Low Green will be open to vehicle traffic. This will be managed using two way lights and safety signs to ensure the safety of all road users.
  • · Fulfordgate on 27 October for one day with work taking place from 8am-5pm. A temporary road closure of Fulfordgate will be in place during working hours. Residents are advised there will be no access or egress for vehicles during working hours except in emergencies.

As with any construction work, there is likely to be a certain amount of disruption. Residents are assured that everything reasonably possible will be done to keep this to a minimum, however motorists should expect some delays and plan their journey accordingly.

The contractor carrying out the work will be responsible for safety and providing pedestrian access at all times.