Residents are being invited to support a petition which would see the “Freedom of the City of York” offered to NHS York in recognition of the work undertaken by all key workers during the pandemic.
The petition reads
In recognition of the work undertaken by professionals, key workers and volunteers during the Coronavirus pandemic in York, the City Council is asked to offer the Freedom of the City to NHS York.
This is a simple way for the City of York to say “thank you” to the many people who have “gone the extra mile” during the very challenging circumstances of the last year. It is suggested that recognition of key NHS staff is one way of highlighting the work of all key sector workers in the City.
The granting of the Freedom of the City is an ancient privilege most often exercised when recognising military units. The last award was made in 2015 to the Queens Gurka Signals.
As well as the much-publicised delays in re-letting empty Council homes, it seems that the pandemic has also resulted in delays in modernisation plans.
The “tenants’ choice” programme (bathrooms, kitchens etc.) was to have seen 294 properties upgraded this year. The Councils contractors were confident they could achieve that number.
Perhaps not surprisingly, a larger than expected number of tenants are currently declining to have the work done. According to a Council report tenants are declining the work due to” nervousness relating to the pandemic, ill health, or their inability to be able to cope with the disturbance such works would inevitably cause”.
More worrying news; work on fire safety improvements has halted. £2.2 million scheduled to be invested this year is being slipped into next year.
On a more positive note, the Councils shared ownership programme is going well. 34 properties have been acquired with several now being occupied by “key workers”. This is the project where residents identify a property available for sale which is then jointly purchased. The occupants then pay rent on part of the property while it remains in Council ownership.
Some of the 79 homes on which work has started at Lowfields, have been taken up on a shared ownership basis.
Over £7 million which was to have been invested in social housing in the City during the current year is being slipped into 21/22.