Many public service workers will be on duty over the festive period. Inevitably the services of the Police, Council workers and health professionals will be required by some members of society.
However we can all help to reduce the pressures on public services with a little forethought and consideration
Vandalised car seats in Cornlands Road garage area.
Litter on Cornlands park
Trolley dumped in little Green Lane parking area
Abandoned bike chained to Indoor bowling club railings
Vandalised house sale sign
Full litter bin
Litter near Foxwood shops. (Residents undertook a litter pick near the bus shelter yesterday)
It looks like there is a backlog developing on street lighting repairs in York. Cllr Sheena Jackson has been pressing for a lamp at the end of Foresters Walk to be repaired but has now been told that it could be as long as a fortnight before it is working again. Officials blame an increased number of fault reports for the backlog, although an extra member of staff has been taken on.
Elsewhere recycling collections have been erratic with several instances reported where cardboard has not been collected.
The Councils web site instructions on how much cardboard can be collected at the kerb are byzantine and really could do with simplification before the peak Christmas period arrives
We were disappointed to find that a “keep left” bollard on Gale Lane – reported 5 weeks ago – still hasn’t been repaired
We’ve asked for the repair to be expedited The darker nights, and potentially foggy weather, mean that illuminated bollards are often a key safety aid for drivers
There have also been problems in getting overgrown hedges cut back for some public footpaths.
We’ve asked for some self seeded bushes on the Thoresby Road garage area to be removed.
We reported the full litter bin on Askham Lane near the bus stop and asked it to be emptied.
The York Council seems to be slipping into an alternative world as they launch “democracy week” in the City. They suggest various ways of influencing their policies and priorities including attending “budget consultation meetings”.
They seem to have developed a blind spot about the quality of some of the public services in the city.
Roads, footpaths and verges in many areas are now in appalling condition and this before we suffer the ravages of icy winter weather.
Reality check needed
One resident has written to us to complain about his difficulty in getting potholes repaired in a local road “the complaints procedure is a farce”
Potholes on poorly maintained carriageway in Welborne Close
The results, from the Westfield Councillors annual survey of public opinion, have been updated to include the Cornlands Road area.
The summary report can be downloaded by clicking here
Residents said they were satisfied with most public services in the area. The best performing was the bus service, mirroring the similar result obtained in the nearby Chapelfields estate.
Lack of car parking on local roads was the key grievance.
Residents wanted to see the return of a regular skip service.
There were many complaints about overgrown Council owned trees and bushes which are obstructing paths and gardens.
Several policing issues were highlighted with anti social behaviour apparently on the increase.
The top priority for regeneration of the Front Street area was the provision of level forecourts across the whole shopping area.
The future of the Front Street area is due to be discussed at a public meeting taking place tomorrow (Wednesday) at the Gateway Centre starting at 6:30pm.
The York Council is seeking volunteers who will check the quality of local public services in their local estate or neighbourhood.
Although in much of the Westfield area, Residents Associations and local Councillors do routinely inspect the quality of public services we think that the more people who are involved the better.
So we hope that some will volunteer and feedback their experiences of getting problems rectified.
The speed of reaction by the Council to problems with dumping and litter has improved recently although there are still problems with some services such as the maintenance of communal garage areas and trimming hedges and trees.
Problems with road and footpath surfaces are a continuing issue as is dog fouling in some areas.
The Council has issued a media release saying,
“City of York Council’s Executive is facing some tough decisions in 2016-17. Below outlines why these difficult choices need to be made and why residents’ views are so important.
To help shape the 2016-17 Budget proposals, the council is inviting residents to have their say through a consultation by Wednesday 20 January:
· Online at www.york.gov.uk/consultations/
· By post to FREEPOST RTEG-TYYU-KLTZ, Budget consultation, City of York Council, West Offices, Station Rise, York, YO1 6GA
· By hand at West Offices or libraries/Explore Centres”.
On line consultation questionaire https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/YorkBudget
The Council of course omits to mention many options that many residents might like to take.
- You noticeably won’t be able to vote for a pay freeze for Councillors or to reduce their support costs,
- There’s no option to stop the “Our City” newspaper.
- Quangos like “Make it York” are off the options list.
Not can you vote to save money through the lower debt (interest) charges which would come if the subsidy was reduced for big investment schemes like the:
- New swimming pool at Monks Cross
- Access bridge to the York Central development or
- Development of the Guildhall site.
There isn’t even a “write in” option for those feeling inventive!
You can say whether you prefer a tax rise to service cuts but you aren’t offered a choice on how much any increase might be!
NB It is likely that the cap in increases will be around 3.9% most of which will be ring-fenced for elderly care.
The Council justifies its stance by saying, “This year’s budget proposals will seek to ensure the council’s priorities continue to be delivered, whilst also ensuring the council’s financial position is managed effectively.
Thanks to those living in the Front Street and Hob Moor areas who have been returning the LibDem Focus “grumble” sheets.
So far the most complaints have been about:
- Uneven footpaths
- Dog fouling
- Weeds/bushes obstructing paths
So pretty much basic public service standard issues.
This weekend we’ve moving on to look at services in the Cornlands Road and Askham Lane areas.
We’ve already been out and about this week checking on public service standards in the west of the City. Around 255 issues have been reported via “Fix My Street” including
Dogs have badly fouled the Tithe Close snicket
Weeds are still a problem on some footpaths
Grange Lane park play equipment still needs strimming
Swings damaged on Grange Lane park
Full litter bin on Askham Lane reported by Cllr Sheena Jackson
Well you’ll not find out from looking at the stats presented to the Council’s Executive committee
Graffiti 2nd September
Those reported on 27th August contain performance measures for only a minority of street level services.
click to enlarge
Many residents would expect that the volume of issues raised on each of the core activity areas of the Local Authority (see left) would be routinely reported to the Councils Executive together with stats showing the speed of response, the results of quality checks and customer satisfaction measures.
In August performance states were only provide for:
- Graffiti removal where the Council claimed to have dealt with issues “in less than 3 days” (quicker for obscene graffiti)
Graffiti 26th September
- % of roads in poor condition (No results since 2013/14)
- YCC % telephone calls answered in 20 secs (45%)
Even in these cases the validity of the claimed performance must be open to doubt.
We reported graffiti on the flood gates on North Street on 2nd September.
25 days later it was still there.
We had similar problems when reporting broken glass in School Street and nettles overhanging a footpath in Bellhouse Way
Residents can report issues using “Fix My Street” they can record progress made in remedying issues on an interactive map (click here)
A large number of issues with Council service standards on the west of the City have been lodged – through the “Fix my Street” system – this week.
In many cases it seems that the York Council is struggling to catch up with a backlog which developed over the bank holiday.
Full clothers recycling bin Acomb car park
Abandoned bike on rack off York Road
Broken Glas back School Street
Dumped black bags in back lane
Litter and weeds on Front Street back lane
School Street carriageway needs resurfaicng
Vandalised garage door Thoresby Road