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.
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.
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
Council officials are also reluctant to send warning letters to drivers who have damaged verges, even when it is obvious who is responsible,
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.
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.
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: email@example.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.
The Council has cut the hedge back from the corner of Osprey Close and Acomb Wood Drive.
The hedge had grown on “no mans land” over the years to the point where it was obstructing access along the footpath in summer.
The street name plate was also obscured.
Nearby, work on lopping trees in Acomb Wood near Hawkshead Close is due to take place during February and March. The programme of works, which were agreed with local residents last year, is expected to take 6 days to complete.