Judgement day for parking discounts in York

Councillors are to take a fresh look today at proposals to abolish the current discounts for Respark permits.

15 years ago, the then LibDem led Council, introduced discounts for the owners of short, low pollution cars. The intention was to make maximise the use of kerbside space, while providing a modest incentive for drivers to buy low emission models.

Under Tory proposals, discounts would only apply to Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs).  Essentially these are electric and plug in hybrids.

The proposers omitted to tell people that no “on street” charging facilities are available in York.

Hence, in effect, the discounts are being abolished.

Perhaps surprisingly the move to retain the traditional discounts comes from Green Councillors. They have something of a vested interest as they represent areas with many ResPark zones.

Small cars will lose their discount

They risk being characterised as opposing low emission transport; perhaps a parallel with the Tory government decision to abolish emission based Vehicle Excise Duty bandings in favour of rates based on a vehicles purchase price.

Both positions are counter intuitive to the party’s traditional positions.

Hopefully LibDem and Labour Councillors will get behind the rethink and support a more logical approach to ResPark charges.

The change could lead to a “hole” in the Councils income budget for next year. This could mean a 5% general increase in permit prices.

Newbury Avenue

Demolition contractors (who suspended their activities yesterday following complaints that the work was unauthorised) will be able to demolish the Newbury Avenue garage blocks when the current public consultation period ends.

Officials claimed that this will be before Christmas

The planning committee was asked enforce the condition that four additional parking spaces be provided before the garages are demolished. This had been the wish of the planning committee when it met in May.

It was pointed out that some of the heaviest plant and lorries would be accessing the site during any demolition works, making additional off street parking options, on the narrow roads, even more essential.

The Council had been criticised for refusing to let several of the empty garages over the last 6-year period despite there being a waiting list of potential renters.

They moved quickly in the summer to end the remaining tenancies and secure the garage area.

A telecoms junction box must be moved before the car parking spaces can be provided. The junction box had been provided after the plans for new bungalows were published but before the committee took its decision in May. Councillors and officials were aware then of the existence on location of the equipment

Yesterday officials were unable to explain why they had not acted more quickly to get the telecoms equipment moved

NB. Work on providing additional parking lay-bys on Windsor Garth – which was authorised over a year ago – is also still outstanding. The Council has failed to provide a completion date despite many deadlines having come and gone. The lay-bys are being funded under the Westfield ward delegated budget.

Outrage as York Council ignores its own planning condition

Newbury Avenue garage demolition starts before committee has opportunity to consider an application to change a planning restriction.

Two days before the Councils planning committee was due to consider whether a planning condition on the Newbury Avenue garage site should be changed, to allow for early demolition of the blocks, contractors have gone ahead and started the work anyway.

As previously reported, the Planning committee imposed a condition when granting planning permission for the erection of 5 bungalows on the site in May. The condition required alternative parking spaces to be constructed before demolition works commenced.

The provision of the parking spaces required a telecoms cabinet to be moved, but it appears that officials failed to issue the order for this work to be done. It takes about 8 weeks to complete.

It appears that they have compounded the error be letting, and now implementing, the demolition contract.

Plant is on site today and garage doors have already been removed.

Local Councillor Andrew Waller is taking up the issue and the unlawful action is likely to be raised when the planning application is debated at Thursday’s meeting.

Even then officials will not be able to authorise the work until the statutory period for resident objections expires on 20th December.

The demolition will come as a major embarrassment to those involved in the planning system in York. They have already been criticised for allowing changes to developments like Spark in Piccadilly without the proper planning permissions.

However, a flagrant breech of a planning condition by one of the Council’s own departments sets a new low.

The Council has been heavily criticised for ignoring planning concerns at Lowfields on a similar site where it is the land owner, developer and planning authority.

At Newbury Avenue the York Council seems to have decided to ignore the planning laws altogether

Traffic calming for Thoresby Road?

Scheme could cost £41,000!

With no recorded accidents over the last 3 years and mean traffic speeds only 21 mph, it is something of a surprise that Council officials are considering installing speed humps on Thoresby Road.

There have been some complaints about speeding in the past but, partly because of the narrow carriageway and also significant levels of on street parking, high speeds are the exception rather than the rule.

There is more concern from residents about vehicle speeds on the neighbouring St Stephens Road which is a through route and used as a short cut by some drivers.

The possibility of installing speed humps or repeater 20 mph speed limit warning signs will be considered at a meeting taking place next week

A new parking lay-by is planned for construction outside the Thoresby Road flats between The Reeves and St Stephens Road (low numbers).

Councillors are being recommended to defer any changes until the effects of the lay-by on driver behaviour is clearer.

Car parking availability signs still out of order

“On line” web guide scrapped

Car parking space availability signs still not working

The Council has about 20 signs on arterial roads which, until about 5 years ago, showed how many empty parking spaces there were at each car park.

Such facilities became commonplace on City streets more than a decade ago. They’re still to be found at many tourist destinations.

The FOI response has also revealed that the counters which allow the number of spaces to be identified, will only be reactivate on three of the signs before the end of the financial year.

The Council – after promising that its on line service, which also gives a guide to finding space, would be updated – has now been decommissioned.  The number of spaces shown has been incorrect for several years.

Users are now referred to the iTravel web site which contains only a list of car parks (and without an indication of the number of spaces at each).

Commercial sites like https://en.parkopedia.co.uk/ are much better.

There were also hopes that space availability would be linked to GPS systems to allow “Sat Nav” users to optimise their routes. Now it seems that driving round the inner ring road will continue to be the only way of finding a space.

That’s bad news for a Council leadership that claims to be trying to reduce pollution levels in the City centre, by cutting out unnecessary travel. Its also bad news fro some City centre traders who sell goods that require a purchaser to have access to their own transport.

Additional parking restrictions planned for several streets in York

Following consultation, parking restrictions are to be introduced on the following streets;

Moorcroft Road

  • St Olave’s Road (x2),
  • Moorcroft Road,
  • Barbican Mews,
  • Farrar Street,
  • Pasture Farm Close,
  • St Leonard’s Place,
  • Windsor Drive / Ripley Gr,
  • Dodsworth Avenue (x5),
  • Melrosegate (near Harington Ave),
  • Redmires Cl. / Ebsay Dr,
  • Esk Drive,
  • White Rose Way Lay-by
  • St James Place

Restrictions planned for the following streets have been modified following resident’s comments.

  • Copmanthorpe Ln/ Kirkwell Main Street,
  • Fulford,
  • St Saviourgate R43,
  • Clifton Moor industrial estate
  • North Field Lane

Following opposition, no changes are now proposed in the following streets Barlow Street, Railway Terrace, Shipton Road / Manor Lane Barley Rise, Strensall (shops) Geldof Road

Details of the schemes can be found by clicking here

Newbury Avenue garage demolition approved. No plans for better parking

Inadequate parking causes obstructions for buses and deliveries

The planning committee have approved the plan to demolish 28 garages in Newbury Avenue. They will be replaced with 5 bungalows.

The committee declined to impose a condition requiring the developer to contribute towards the provision of alternative off street parking provision in the area.

Some of the garages have not been let for several years following a decision by the housing department to leave them empty. This has already exacerbated the parking situation in the Windsor Garth area.

The only hope for more parking provision now rests with the use of a small delegated ward committee budget. However this would provide only a handful of spaces (on lay-bys situated on Windsor Garth) and it could be the autumn before the work is started.

The Kingsway area has been poorly treated by the York Council in recent years. It has only just begun to get over the extended (nearly 3 years) build period for the Hob Stone development. Roads are still showing signs of the effects that heavy building wagons had. Damage to speed tables has been very pronounced. 

Residents living in the area will be viewing with apprehension the possibility that the redevelopment of the Windsor House site could take place at the same time as the Newbury Avenue building works.

On the basis of yesterdays planning committee decision, they cannot look to that quarter for any support in addressing transport and planning problems in the area.

 

Newbury Avenue development – planning recommendations published

Inadequate of street parking in Windsor Garth

Anger as parking problems not addressed by York Council officials

Council officials are recommending that plans to build on the garage site on Newbury Avenue are given the go ahead.

The issue will be discussed at a planning sub committee meeting taking place on 3rd May.

On the previous day (10:15am Wednesday 2nd May), Councillors will be visiting the site. They will no doubt be able to see the parking problems which already exist in the area.

Residents may attend both meetings and can register to speak at the committee meeting. To do so residents should telephone York 551088 before 5:00pm on 2nd May.

Grassed areas have already been damaged by vehicles and plant

The officers report is negligent in at least one way. Objectors have pointed out that the loss of 28 garages – and with them an equivalent number of off street parking spaces – will have a major impact on congestion and parking problems on the estate.

The report offers no response to this concern.

There are already problems when large vehicles and buses try to access the narrow roads. The problems have got worse since the Council stopped new lettings at the garages while the overspill from the Hob Stone development has also hit the Windsor Garth area.

Now the Council is also threatening to redevelop the Windsor House site on Ascot Way. Again it has given little thought to the parking problems that will emerge both during building works, and afterwards.

It could mean that major building works will take place within the next year at both sites at the same time – a recipe for transport chaos with the only available access to the estate being the relatively narrow route  from Kingsway West.

Grass damaged by parked vehicles

Some objectors to the Newbury Avenue plan have demanded that alternative off street parking spaces be provided before demolition starts. They have pointed to several sites where the provision of matrix protection on grassed areas would provide an option while retaining the green appearance of the estate.

Currently an increasing number of vehicles are being parked on these grassed areas anyway – resulting during periods of  wet weather in unsightly damage which is expensive to repair.

NB. Efforts are being made to form a new Hob Moor Residents Association in the area. The residents group will focus on opposing the Councils plans for the estate and will seek additional investment to address existing problems.

The old Kingsway Area Residents Association (KARA) was disbanded about 5 years ago.

Demolition of Newbury Avenue garages set to add to parking problems in Kingsway area

Residents only have until 11th April to record any objections to plans to demolish the 28 garages on Newbury Avenue. 

There is a lot of concern that the planning application, to build 5 bungalows on the site, has been submitted before work on providing alternative, off street, car parking in area has even started.

Although the bungalow proposal has received more support that the original plan to build a block of flats on the site, parking problems have increased in the intervening 2 years.

As long ago as 2012 the Council stopped letting the garages when they became vacant. Some were used for temporary shortage, but several have remained empty.

There is a long waiting list of people wanting to rent garages in the area.

These underused garages, together with the pressures put on spaces by visitors to the new Hob Stone development, has led to a campaign by local residents to get more off-street parking (Email Hob.Moor@btinternet.com).

Last year, local Councillors identified at least 8 possible sites.

These included one on Kingsway West with the rest being on Windsor Garth and Ascot Way. The plan was to use matrix surfacing so the spaces continued to look like they were still part of the green areas (the technique has already been used successfully on other plots in the estate).

The spaces were to have been partly funded by the “Ward Committee” who have a delegated budget of around £50,000 a year. Initially it was hoped that lay-bys would be provided in 2016 but this didn’t happen.

A report to a recent meeting has now confirmed that none of the 2017/18 financial year laybys will be completed before November 2018 at the earliest.

To add to transport pressures on the estate, the Council is also considering major redevelopment plans for the Lincoln Court/Windsor House site which could further add to parking and congestion problems on estate roads.

Inadequate parking provision has led to access problems for larger vehicles and the bus service.

The planning application gives details of a  contamination survey that have been completed on the site together within internal layout plans for the bungalows.

Objectors to the planning application – who can ask that the planning committee impose a Section 106 agreement requiring the developer to fund 28 alternative parking spaces before any work commences – should be Emailed to the Council at planning.comments@york.gov.uk quoting reference 18/00410/GRG3  before 11th April.

Changes to leases and parking on York council land proposed

A new lease agreement, for use with future sales of council flats, is being proposed, along with improved parking enforcement on council housing land.

The proposals aim to make the new leases for council flats clearer.

The plan is to update them in line with current best practice and, through them, to allow City of York Council to recover costs from leaseholders for services from which they benefit.

The proposed new leases would give council tenants and leaseholders the same clauses across both tenures, such as in regard to keeping pets.

Updating parking charges and enforcement on council housing land is being proposed too.

Introducing charging for parking permits on housing land would initially be at a lower rate than current resident parking rates but will increase to their levels over five years. Income from the scheme would help to cover the cost of parking enforcement.