Its over 3 years since the York Council looked at the problem of vehicle damage to grass verges. Alengthy reportpromised improvements not least in taking action against drivers who carelessly damaged verges.
Verge damage was costing taxpayers around £35 per sq metre to fix. Enforcement action was promised and some “Ward Committees” also said they would use their delegated budget to provide lay-bys.
There has sadly been little progress. Problem locations such as the flats on Thoresby Roadcontinue to be blighted. Promised lay-bys have not materialised. There has been no enforcement action, no protective bollards or “eco grid” surfacing have been installed.
Drivers do need somewhere to park their vehicles but the Council’s response has been glacial recently.
UPDATE: We understand that this planning application is being withdrawn. We are happy to point out that the Restore charity rents an office at the Gateway Church premises on Front Street but is otherwise not connected with that organisation.
Councillors on 6th June will consider a planning application to convert a property in St Stephens Road into homeless accommodation.
Four bedrooms in the semi-detached property will be let to individuals who are judged to be currently homeless. The application is associated with the Gateway Church in Acomb and is part of their “Restore” programme
It is unclear from where the clientele, intended to be
accommodated there, will come from. A few years ago, a similar application to
provide accommodation for former offenders in a property in Tithe Close also raised concerns.
Several residents have objected
to the plan which involves declaring the property a “House in Multiple
Occupation” (HMO). HMOs have a long history of controversy in parts of York with
family accommodation being converted to meet the demands of the City’s burgeoning
Maintenance issues prompted the Council a few years ago to
specify the maximum proportion of HMOS that there could be in a neighbourhood. This
was an attempt to retain “balanced” communities”.
The number of HMOS in the St Stephens Road area – which is
some distance from the nearest higher education facility – is not an issue.
There is only one other property nearby which has the designation.
Rather residents concerns have focused on the transient
nature of the likely occupants of the property.
They are concerned that few will stay long enough to become integrated into, what
is, a tight knit community.
Of course, we will never “solve” the problem of homelessness
if permanent accommodation options are not made available to those who fall on
difficult times. So, initiatives like these are generally to be welcomed.
The charity operates outside the direct control of the local
authority and therefore has a responsibility to be accountable to the local community.
The effectiveness of their management and communications is likely to be under scrutiny if the planning application is – as expected – approved.
Residents can attended and register to speak at the meeting taking place on 6th June.