Lowfields residents update newsletter. Parking plan criticised as inadequate

The Lowfield Residents Group have criticised the Councils plan to provide only 2 alternative off street spaces to replace a parking lay-by on Tudor Road.  They are circulating a newsletter to affected residents (see below)

The existing 4 space lay-by will be lost when the Council, starts work on providing a new access road into the Lowfield site.

Part of the garden of an adjacent flat block (108 Tudor Road) is being used to provide 4 spaces but residents point out that Tudor Road, along with the adjacent Gale Lane, has on street parking restrictions.

This means that the Tudor Road bays are heavily used.  Occasionally drivers park on the garage forecourt opposite causing an obstruction.

More parking spaces are required.

At the other end of Tudor Road (low numbered) a communal housing experiment will see only 12 parking spaces provided for 19 properties. Some of the properties have 4 bedrooms. The occupants of similar properties elsewhere often have 2 or 3 cars.

All in all, we don’t think that the Council has got its transport and parking policies for the development right yet.

Ironically The Press is today running a story saying that life expectancy in the Westfield Ward is the lowest of any in the City.

We’ve pointed out to the Council that its relentless attack on open space and sports provision in the area is partly to blame.

Loss of the football pitch at Lowfields  is a major factor as is the threat to the bowling green on Front Street, the erosion of the Hob Moor playing field and the loss of the Kingsway all weather games area.

The playing field associated with Our Lady’s school has, of course, already been built on.

Citywide review of green and recreation space provision

At last nights the City of York’s Executive call-in meeting regarding the sale of Willow Lodge, the Liberal Democrats called for a review of green and recreational space provision across York.

It was announced during the call-in, that the highest bidder for the sale of Willow Lodge had reduced their offer for the purchase of the land. The decision will need to come back to the Executive for a future report, after assessment of the commercial bids.  This report would itself be subject to the same possibilities of a call-in.

In a separate vote, Liberal Democrats Councillors called on Council Officers to undertake a review of green and recreational space, when considering future decision on developing Council land.

Cllr Andrew Waller added:

“There is a growing interest in public open space, whether it is playing fields or small recreational sites, which provide a break in the urban development of York.  All residents in York should feel that they are being considered when decisions are taken on developing Council land.

Shake up in York open space contributions

It seems likely that there will be more openness in future about how money contributed by developers for public space improvements is used.

A report to a meeting taking place next week proposes that a list of monies available will be updated on the Councils web site each month.

This is a welcome proposal.

The Town and Country Planning Acts created the ability for Local Authorities to seek a payment from developers in lieu of providing children’s play space, amenity space and sports pitches within new housing developments. This is commonly known as a s.106 payment.

How the payments are used has been shrouded in secrecy for years. In the past some were even syphoned off to help private member’s sports clubs.

One area of concern is the threat that local public spaces will have lower maintenance standards in future.  This concern is likely to be heightened by a reference in the new policy that the S106 funds will be concentrated on “the development of more ward based green space maintenance and care”. 

Land near Acomb Library which could be improved. Click to enlarge

Land near Acomb Library which could be improved. Click to enlarge

If the Council hopes that local residents will clean and maintain large public opens spaces, then they are kidding themselves.

The proposed policy also fails to identify the opportunity to acquire additional pieces of land for informal recreation. There are opportunities near the Westfield area which could see land – currently used for grazing – acquired for informal leisure use.

One idea is the establishment of a “country park”

The only likely significant redevelopment in the area – the former Lowfields school site – would also provide an opportunity to improve the adjacent playing fields. Similarly, the landlocked waste land to the side of the library on Front Street could be grassed over and used as a garden area.

But both require the York Council to start to actively manage its assets

NB. Section 106 payments are generally made where there is an existing or identified shortfall arising from a proposed development and it is not practical or desirable to have open space within a development (for example where developments are for individual or a small number of dwellings or where there is existing open space nearby which could be improved to accommodate the additional use from new residents). Payment is based on an approved formula related to the number of new bedrooms within the development.