Acomb Moor update

The local residents association have added their weight to calls for access to Acomb Moor to be made safer.

Access to Acomb Moor still blocked

They have written to local Councillors making the following points.

  1. The tree trunk blocking the access needs to be moved by about 1 foot to allow pedestrian access. We understand that Andrew has this in hand. If the field tenants won’t do it then 2 or 3 fit people should be able to roll the log. The stile then needs to be reinstated
  2. The route across the field could then be re-established. Pragmatically a line down the side of the field – parallel to Foxwood Lane – could be established to link with the desire line path which is now clearly marked at the bottom of the field. (It will be for the owners to apply for a formal PROW diversion order if they wish to discourage people for walking through, what will presumably by the spring be, a cropped field). Obviously the current practice of people climbing over a 1.5 metre high metal gate is potentially hazardous and precludes some less ambient residents (who ironically are perhaps those most needing access to informal walking options) from using the paths.
  3. The stile at the bottom corner needs to be repaired and hardcore put on the approaches.
  4. Neither of the access points to the Council owned section of the path near Osprey Close have had the promised hardcore put down. Both these paths are narrow and on a gradient, They will become increasingly slippery in poor winter weather. So some action needs to be taken now.
  5. Further along the path near and in Acomb Wood there are sections which are subject to flooding and which would also benefit from having hardcore put down.
Stile needs repairs and hardcore underneath
Access points from Osprey Close are hazardous in wet weather.

Foxwood Lane to Osprey Close footpath application gains Council support

According to the Foxwood Residents Association Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/FoxwoodResidentsAssociation the Council has approved the making of an order which should – eventually – see the footpath added to local maps.

Acomb Moor public right of way – decision

Our application to have the route from Foxwood Lane to Osprey Close – across Acomb Moor – recognised has passed another hurdle.

We understand that at a private meeting held on Tuesday Council officials decided to make a definitive map modification order (DMMO). The order should be made and published within the next few months. This would mean that the Public Right of Way route would be added to footpath maps.

The meeting was held behind closed doors and no agenda was published. This meant that interested parties were not able to make (further) representations. We understand that the background  papers may not be published on the Councils website until next week.

We understand that initial consultation and review of the available evidence was completed and it was apparent that there is sufficient evidence to “reasonably allege that a public right of way subsists over the application route”. Under these circumstances the Council is required to make a DMMO by section 53 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

There will be a period of time during which objections to the designation can be made. If any objections are not subsequently withdrawn then the matter is referred to the Secretary of State for determination. This sometimes results in a Public Inquiry.

Footpath line before the field was ploughed

So it could be several months before the issue is entirely resolved.

In the meantime we have asked the Council to take steps to ensure that public access to the path is available for the point on Foxwood Lane where the stile used to be located (currently blocked by a tree trunk).

NB. We hope that the promised extension of the York Strays will include at least part of Acomb Moor. It is already used as an informal “country park”, is an important leisure area  for the neighbourhood, it falls within the Green Belt and is on the most accessible side of the A1237.  There is considerable scope for promoting conservation of flora and fauna in the area not least through re-establishing hedgerows where they have disappeared”.

Taking a pride in local neighbourhoods

As “normality” returns to our streets we are looking to the authorities to demonstrate that they have a plan which will see an increase in social pride in local neighbourhoods.

The Councils much hyped “health hubs” are winding down as the premises they occupy – such as libraries – are made ready for a return to their normal uses.

The longer established neighbourhood hubs have yet to reopen although the extended summer holidays mean that demand for their services is greater than ever. Informal meeting places would provide a welcome relief from social isolation particularly for those who have endured lock-down on their own. They are also a potential valuable resource for families during the extended school break.

Many of the venues for these hubs remain closed with no published plans for them to reopen when social distancing rules allow.

Perhaps surprisingly the York Council has yet to address other tensions which are likely to increase as more people are out and about. There is no room on the agenda for community safety at today’s first COVID “Board” meeting. Yet anti social behaviour is already increasing in some estates as lock-down is eased.

Still too much fly tipping despite amenity sites having reopened
Pleased to see that the unused telephone kiosk at the Foxwood shops has finally been removed. Hopefully the Council will get this prominent empty bungalow repaired and re–let quickly now
Still too much self inflicted grief. Graffiti on local junction boxes needs to be cleaned off
Grass has now established itself on the area near the new Osprey Close land drain.
Still waiting for hardcore to be put down on the path to ensure that it remains useable in wet weather
Continuing battle to get road repaired. It appears that the funding delegated to ward has not been utilised. Carriageway surfaces are likely to disintegrate when icy weather arrives.
Some good news with the cul de sac on Kingsway West now swept of detritus.
Ongoing problems reported on the “Save Lowfields Playing Field” Facebook page. Main issues relate to early morning noise, dust and further damage to verges in the Dijon Avenue area. (The latter thought to be connected with BT “Open World” works).

Exercise more difficult as York Council route improvements not completed.

We reported before Christmas, that a Council project aimed at reducing flooding in the Osprey Close area, had stalled. The result was that in wet weather the link to Acomb Moor and Acomb Wood became impassible.

The Council promised to put hard core down on an alternative access but this was delayed.

Work on completing the job didn’t recommence before the Coronavirus lock-down prevented further progress.

Although most of the path is accessible now that the mud has gone, the alternative link path is steep and potentially hazardous for the less physically able. This is a shame given the large numbers of people wanting to use this, and similar, routes for their daily exercise.

Nearby the Public Right of Way application for Acomb Moor has also stalled and will not be pursued until normal work resumes at the Council.

In the meantime volunteers are trying to keep hedges trimmed back to allow continued use of the path.

Volunteers are trimming back thorn hedges from local footpaths
Acomb Wood is popular with recreational walkers. It also is maintained by volunteers.
Abandoned barriers at the site of the drainage works
The pedestrian Link to Osprey Close. Passable in dry weather but very uneven
Acomb Moor has been popular with walkers, dog owners and families in recent weeks. Formal approval of the footpath access has still be be agreed by the Council.

Council asked to take action

Car parking sign at Foxwood Lane bus shelter has disappeared
We’ve reported detritus build up on the highway in Osprey Close. The footpath link to Acomb Moor is now just about passable now although we’ve asked for some hardcore to be put down.
Definitely “Wellingtons” needed if you plan to use the footpath link to Acomb Moor. This can be improved when the right of way is formally recognised. Ward Councillors have promised to follow this up
Not sure that this advertising signs are authorised

Some strange Council responses to problems

Some reports of highway defects are being knocked back with “no further action required” responses this year.

One of the deficiencies of the Councils “report it on line” system is that no reason for inaction is given. There was a time when a pothole might go unfilled because it didn’t meet what were styled “the Councils intervention level”. Basically they weren’t judged to be deep enough.

Eventually frost damage would, of course, ensure that it did become bad enough to justify filling.

But there are some very uneven roads which are, perversely, being judged as safe these days

Morrell Court access road potholes which are not judged to require attention

Council officials are also reluctant to send warning letters to drivers who have damaged verges, even when it is obvious who is responsible,

Verges need hard-surfacing to prevent damage

One piece of better news, with local Councillors reporting that work on finishing drainage work on the Osprey Close footpath will recommence shortly. The footpath may be diverted around the worst of the mud with further repairs to the land drains taking place when the area dries out.

Public Right of Way blocked at top of Osprey Close

Council progress on Public Rights of Way

A council report says that all but one outstanding applications, for a Public Rights of Way in the City, have now been processed for a decision.

Council barriers used to obstruct public right of way

Unfortunately the outstanding application is the one for Acomb Moor (the link from Foxwood Lane to Osprey Close).

The Council promised to determine this by the end of February.

Following our story yesterday, were advised that the Osprey Close footpath obstruction has resulted from drainage works undertaken in the area.

The residents association is pressing local Councillors to provide a hardcore surface to ensure that walkers can at least get past the mud.

In that respect the path provided by the Council for the Hawkshead Close access into the wood.

Leaf detritus needs to be swept from Osprey Close footpaths

NB. We’ve asked for the Osprey Close area to be swept to remove tree detritus and the remains of last years weed growth which can still be found in some gutters.

Some weeds still obstructing drainage gullies.

Council blocks popular footpath link

Over the last few days contractors have been working on the Council owned section of Acomb Wood near the top of Osprey Close.

They put some hard core down near the entrance gate (good) but they have left a large spoil heap blocking the popular footpath access to the wood.

They have also erected Council owned barriers on the PROW footpath link to Acomb Moor and Foxwood Lane beyond.

As well as the spoil heap, the actions of a tractor have reduced the path to an impassable quagmire. A spectacularly bad time of year to undertaken work like this.

It is unclear who is responsible for the work (the farmer has a right of access but he usually accesses his field direct from Askham Lane).

Paths in the Council owned section of Acomb Wood get very muddy. Their condition contrast with the well maintained – by volunteers – section of the wood on the other side of the road.

Only the Council would have any reason to work on this land – which is a publicly owned amenity area – but to do so without any warning or consultation is remarkably insensitive.

The residents association are planning to discuss the issue at their meeting next week.

There is scope for putting down hardcore on other sections of the popular footpath which goes through the Council owned part of Acomb Wood and which gets very muddy in places.

Acomb Moor footpath project takes step forward

The Foxwood Residents Association has now served notice on the owners of the land that the Foxwood Lane/Osprey Close Public Right of Way crosses.

This forms part of the proposal to have the path included on the definitive rights of way map.

The York Council will now consider the proposal.

The link has been used by residents for over 30 years.  It starts on Foxwood Lane, near the former kennels site, and finishes at the kissing gate access on Osprey Close.

Many “evidence of use” forms have already been submitted. There is still time to confirm that you have used at least part of the claimed route at some time over the last 20 years. Even a couple of years occasional use helps to build the evidence base.

If you would like to fill in a form please Email Foxwoodra@btinternet.com and they will email a blank one to you.

When the PROW is confirmed it will be possible to seek repairs to the stiles and kissing gate on the route.

The application processes does normally take several months to conclude.

Public Right of Way between Foxwood Lane and Osprey Close

Foxwood Lane access

The Foxwood Residents Association  have today launched a project aimed at getting the footpath which links Osprey Close to Foxwood Lane (opposite Foresters Walk) designated as an official Public Right of Way (PROW).

Doubt had been cast on the status of this well-used path by the landowners who are we understand objecting to its inclusion on the definitive footpath map.

The path forms part of a network of walks which are particularly popular with dog owners.

The landowners stopped grazing the field last year. As a result, sections have become overgrown

About 6 years ago the owners tried to get Acomb Moor (of which the affected fields form part) allocated as development land. This proposal was rejected in 2015 but a public inquiry into the Council’s new “Local Plan” is due to start shortly and there are concerns that the green belt boundary may once again be brought into question.

Confirmation of the line of the path would help to ward off any change and would also allow much needed repairs to be undertaken to the access stile

To register a Public Right of Way, at least 20 people are needed to sign a document saying that they have used the route during, at least, part of the last 20 years.

It is clear from the wear on the entrances to the path that many people do use it.

If you are prepared to sign an evidence form confirming that you have used the path during the last 20 years (or more) please Email: foxwoodra@btinternet.com We will arrange for a form to be sent to you.

Following the delivery of a newsletter over the weekend several people have already come forward and offered to fill in evidence of use forms.