Work begins on Lincoln Court double glazing

Lincoln Court

Work has started on modernising the apartments in Lincoln Court. New windows are being fitted in advance of the expected demolition of the adjacent Windsor House building.

What happens next is dependent on decisions being taken by the Councils planning committee on Thursday (West Offices, 4:30pm).

The planning committee will be visiting the area tomorrow (Wednesday) morning shortly after 10:00am.

Future of all weather ball games area – more confusion

The area under the adjacent trees has been tidied. The MUGA can now be viewed form Lincoln Court following a request from residents there to have boundary hedges cut back.

Correspondence has emerged which casts further doubt on the Council plans for the Kingsway Multi User Games Area (MUGA).

It appears that in October Sport England did clearly object to the removal of the facility.

It followed an extraordinary exchange of Emails in September in which the Council made several bogus claims about the area not having been used for “7 years”.

The Council goes on to say

“As part of the development outlined within this planning application the MUGA will not exist in its current form however there will be alternative provision of physical activity equipment at a suitable location within the Ward”.

No mention is made of the type and location of this “alternative provision” in the planning officers report to the committee on Thursday.

Residents will want to know more before any decisions are taken.

Council Email in September

Sport England response in October

Residents sceptical about Council planning applications.

Concerns ignored in committee report as play, congestion and parking fears rise

Kingsway area residents have expressed concerns that their views have been ignored in reports being presented to a planning committee meeting on Thursday. The reports consider plans for new developments in the area on Council owned land.

Newbury Avenue

The lack of alternative car parking provision was a major issue in the Newbury Avenue area when planning permission to demolish 28 garages was granted last May. The planning committee specifically required that 4 alternative spaces be constructed before demolition works started. This would have involved moving a telecoms cabinet which would have taken about 8 weeks to complete. 24 weeks later it turns out that the Council have only just asked the telecoms companies to act. Rather disingenuously the Council states that, as the garages are now all empty, demolishing them will not add to the parking problems in the area. They don’t admit that, despite a long waiting list of people wanting to rent them,  the Council stopped new lettings in 2012. It was this action that has contributed to the parking problems which are already apparent in the area.

Hob Moor School playing field

It has been known for some time that the Council intended to expand by building on the school playing field which lies to the rear of Windsor House and Lincoln Court. It came as something of surprise to many residents that this included the demolition of the Multi User Games Area (MUGA) Early in the consultation process the Council said that any sports or play facilities that were affected would be provided elsewhere on the site.

This is now under question.

Children’s ball games facility threatened

The proposal at Hob Moor school is for  “a playing pitch on presently unused land to the east of the school together with an area of informal “Forest School” activities including a wetland, timber walkway and a fabric covered outdoor teaching space”.

The new location, “ comprises an area of unimproved grassland which partially includes an area of derelict ridge and furrow of good quality which represents a survivor of a once more elaborate area surrounding the outskirts of the City and dating back to the Medieval period”.

There is no mention of either an all-weather kick about area or any other play facility being re-provided.

Windsor House

The redevelopment of this site mentions the need for” a Community Use Agreement” for the new school playing field.

It is unclear with whom the agreement would be, for what hours and via with what access route?

The report on the Windsor House site dismiss the concerns raised in a petition collected by local residents. Officials accept that the local highway network is sub-standard (too narrow to meet modern standards). They claim only about 18 car trips a day would be generated by the 42 members of staff who will work at the new Children’s Centre. They claim 13 parking spaces will be adequate.

The officials conveniently forget that parking problems in the area have already been exacerbated by other building works including the 66 additional homes at Hob Stones.

Changing lifestyles mean that many more delivery vans also now visit the area.

At the very least the Council should ensure that there is a service road provided, from the parking area at the Hob Moor school, to the rear access to the centre. This might reduce the traffic impact on Kingsway West while providing an access for mini buses carrying disabled children and for deliveries.

Lincoln Court

Lincoln Court. Work has started on replacing windows. Concerns about parking

The proposal would see an additional 10 “extra care” bedrooms provided on the site. There are currently 22 apartments located on there. These are

being modernised with work having started recently on providing new double glazing. These will generate additional traffic and parking demands.

The report makes the outrageous claim that the MUGA is “disused”; something that officials apparently told the Sports Council in a bid to get them to withdraw their objection to the closure plan.

In fact, the Council suspended routine maintenance on the facility while discussions took place and later secured the entrance to prevent use. Funding had been made to provide “off the streets” activities there last summer but this was never implemented.

The MUGA has now been renovated and is once again usable with surrounding vegetation cleared back

It seems that west York faces a further loss of green fields and play facilities.

Inadequate parking provision will blight the area while congestion levels will increase

The neighbourhood deserves better.

Disabled children’s centre site plan 1

Lincoln Court expansion plans 2018

 

Good news and some bad news

The Kingsway kickabout area (MUGA) has been repaired. It was litter and vandal free when we visited yesterday and once again could fulfil a role in getting kids “off the streets”.

The area under the trees adjacent to the MUGA has been tidied. The MUGA can now be viewed from Lincoln Court following a request from residents there to have boundary hedges cut back.

We’ve asked for the weeds to be cut back

The Askham Grove snicket is looking very tidy these days. Not always the case in the past

Andrew Waller has had some success in getting a pothole filled in on Beaconsfield Street

Fly tipping has been cleared from around the recycling bins on the Acomb car park

Unfortunately the dumped sofa has not yet been removed from the Cornlands Road playground

A litter bin has been upended on Chesneys Field

 

Another sports facility to close in Westfield?

Kingsway West all weather football pitch

Council officials are pressing for the neighbourhoods only Multi User Games Area (MUGA) to be permanently closed

The MUGA is located off Kingsway West and was provided at the same time as the Hob Moor school was rebuilt in 2004. It was hailed as one of the community facilities that the PFI funded new build school would unlock. It proved to be the only causal use facility provided on the campus, with other facilities like the nursery later closing.

Initially the MUGA was to have been located within the school perimeter fence. It would have been secured by caretaking staff when not in use. Following pressure from the PFI contractors the MUGA became a stand-alone facility accessible outside school hours.

It satisfied the demand for “kick about” facilities to the east of Gale Lane.

Initially it was successful with detached youth workers staging events there. However, the then Labour controlled Council shredded the youth service following budget cuts in 2013. The organised use of the MUGA ceased. Calls for the Ward Committee to fund events there failed to get off the ground.

An experiment in leaving the area open resulted in arson damage to the all-weather surface which was never repaired. The service access gate was also damaged and not reinstated by the Council.

It is now little used and often strewn with litter and detritus.

Council consultation card Sept 2018

Yet there is still a demand for play and sports facilities for use by children in the area. The nearest alternative is the Energise (Better) sports centre on Cornlands Road which is run on a commercial basis.

Typically the cost of hiring an all weather pitch for a match is around £50.

Now officials are consulting on replacing the MUGA with other structures. They suggest wooden climbing frames, tree planting and better lighting.

There is a demand for better play facilities in the area but not at the expense of existing sports facilities.

We have already seen the Our Lady’s sports field developed and more recently plans have been approved to build on the football pitch at Lowfields. The Hob Moor school playing field will be reduced in size and an application to build on the Acomb Bowling Green is being considered by the Council.

Officials promised that, as part of the Lowfields scheme, pitches on Chesney’s Field would be levelled and upgraded. But the football season* has started without any sign of improvement.

The Council acknowledge that there is already a deficiency in sports and green space provision in the Westfield area. The Councils own Local Plan identifies the existing shortfalls as 4.98 ha of outdoor sports facilities, 6.02 ha of children’s play and 2.86 ha of young persons facilities.

Life expectancy in the Westfield ward is lower than in other parts of York. This is partly put down to unhealthy lifestyles.

Council run consultation exercises were discredited by the Lowfields fiasco. Rather than asking people to record a vote in favour or in opposition to multiple options, the exercise depended on narrative responses.

These were easy to manipulate by official’s intent on justifying a particular outcome.

This must not happen again.

There is a demand for “off the streets” activities for young people. Facilities like the MUGA – if well maintained and promoted – can make a difference. The plans for the new children’s centre on Ascot Way could also unlock the potential for better play facilities for younger children.

But all age groups need to be catered for.

*NB. The Beagle FC beat Cawood 4-0 in their Chesney Field encounter on Saturday

York Council sports and open space need assessments