York’s green spaces; going, going…

It is sad to see so many green spaces in the City being gradually eroded.

The reality of planning decisions, taken by the Council over the last few years, are rapidly becoming clearer. The trend is particularly evident in west York where former school playing field have proved to be vulnerable.

It started with the development of the playing field at the former Our Lady’s school site on Windsor Garth. The “Hob Stone” estate took up the whole of the site with no open space retained.

Next was the controversial decision to build on the Lowfields playing field. The decision was made worse when over £400,000, intended to fund alternative sports pitches, was earmarked for a site near Bishopthorpe, which is some 3 miles from Lowfields.

Concrete now dominates the Lowfields school playing field

The Hob Moor playing field has been torn up and is now part of a building site
The Acomb Bowling club and adjacent Council owned land on Front Street is now also a building site

There are alternative brownfield (previously developed) sites in the City. Strangely the local MP over the weekend announced her opposition to building 2500 homes on the land to the rear of the station while planners have omitted the Strensall army camp from Local Development Plans.

There seems to be little reason why a development at the latter could not be restricted to the “built footprint” of the former army buildings. This would still leave large amounts of new public open space. That option is under consideration as part of the latest consultation on the Local Plan

But for west York the outlook remains bleak. The Council is still dilly dallying on proposals to replace the Multi User Games Area on Kingsway West. The existing one is no longer usable as it is no part of a buildng compound.

…and the newly elected Council, despite lofty talk of having a new “stray” in the City, has noticeably failed to put any flesh on the bones of the idea. Prompt action is needed to secure more public open space on the periphery of the City.

Currently there is little sign of any urgency, or even engagement, by the occupants of West Offices.

Cattle return to strays – Council offers dog walkers advice

Take the lead and follow the countryside code on Strays

City of York Council is urging dog owners to take the lead and follow the countryside code when cattle are reintroduced onto Strays across York later this month.

The countryside code encourages everyone to respect other people and animals, protect the environment and enjoy the outdoors. This is particularly important when cattle are reintroduced onto the city’s strays for grazing to help manage the land.

Dog owners are being encouraged to be responsible around cattle. This includes keeping dogs on a lead when near cattle as they can spook them, picking up dog waste as this can spread disease and closing gates to ensure cattle don’t escape.

Grazing is a recognised form of managing grassland, including on nature reserves, throughout Britain.  Since 2010 Hob Moor, Bootham Stray, including the Clifton Backies nature reserve, and Walmgate Stray are in  Higher Level Stewardship agreements with Natural England.  The management prescriptions to which we have to comply for the sites include grazing and hay cutting to support the wildlife interest of open grassland, rather than be intensively managed or being left to scrub over.

For information on walking near livestock visit www.ramblers.org.uk/advice/safety/walking-near-livestock.aspx

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Stray dogs to cost York taxpayers £102,000

The York Council has let a contract for provision of a stray dog kennelling and collection service “pursuant to its statutory duties, powers and functions”.

This will include the provision of 5 kennels for the sole use of the Council for the housing of stray and other dogs held by the Council.

The contract will start on 1st June and will last for 2 years.

It is expected that the value of the  contract will be £102,000

Only a small proportion of the cost is expected to be reclaimed from dog owners although most dogs are now micro-chipped.

1 abandoned dog per month is destroyed in York

A dog is for life not just Christmas

christmas_dog

Several families will be giving or receiving dogs this Christmas.

New figures published by the York Council – together with the alarming dog attack in Leeds – should provide food for thought.

In response to a Freedom of Information request, the Council has revealed that over the last 12 months it has collected on average 1 dog per day Monday to Friday (there is no weekend service).

Over 50 % of dogs are returned to the owners.

In the period January to September 2013 on average 1 dog a month was destroyed 2 because of very old age / ill health meaning that it could not be re-homed.

7 were of a breed (Staffy / Staffy cross) that no carer was prepared to take.

Kenneling stray dogs costs about £30,000 a year in York

Those dogs who are re-homed go to a mix of national charities or specialist breed rescue centres for further re-homing or long term care, or to individuals / families for permanent adoption.

Many charities are looking for good homes for dogs and cats that they receive during the festive period.

Click below for links.