“We want to stay in our home” say York seniors

The Council has released details of responses to a survey of elderly persons needs which it conducted earlier in the year.

Asked where they would like to see out their days, the majority said that they wished to remain in their existing home.

Some said that they would like to move to a smaller property.

There was little enthusiasm for placements in traditional retirement homes.

Most of the 406 respondents were owner occupiers.  The lowest response rate came from the Westfield ward (the City’s poorest) and he highest from the Guildhall Ward

Clearly location is an important factor for many older people. They want to be close to amenities and are increasingly reluctant to drive.

This need conflicts with current Council planning policies which have allocated land near Front Street Acomb – which has a full range of amenities – for family housing.

With developers reluctant to even build elderly persons homes the emphasis should be on providing easy to manage homes at sites like Lowfield, Front Street, Long Close Lane etc.

The report will be discussed next week click

Help us shape our council plan

Residents, businesses and community groups are being asked to comment on how City of York Council can help them achieve the best quality of life in the city.

Highways England have confirmed that the Council is responsible for removing weed growth on former trunk roads like the A59. Hopefully “cleaner” will come before “greener” in the York Councils list of priorities when addressing highway obstructions

Through the council plan consultation, City of York Council is wanting to hear from residents, businesses and community groups and ask them to comment on eight suggested outcomes for the council over the next four years. They are:

  • Good health and wellbeing
  • Well paid jobs and an inclusive economy
  • Getting around sustainably
  • A better start for children and young people
  • A greener and cleaner city
  • Creating homes and world-class infrastructure
  • Safe communities and culture for all
  • An open and effective council.

As well as comment on these themes and what they mean to them, residents, businesses and community groups will also be asked what they think the council could do to achieve the outcomes and what they could do in support.  

The consultation is available to complete now at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/YorkCouncilPlanConsultation2019 and closes on Sunday 15 September. 

Residents without online access will also have the chance to contribute their views at venues around the city or add their thoughts to pop-up boards in public spaces or other activities taking place across the city.

Councillor Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council said: “Residents, businesses and community groups make York such a fantastic place to live and work. We want to hear from them what we can do to deliver against the suggested outcomes and how they may be able to support this journey to being a cleaner, healthier city with an inclusive economy.”

 “Once complete, this plan will set our ambitious vision for the future of the city and set clear expectations on how we propose to deliver improvements for residents, against which we will monitor delivery and measure performance.

“We look forward to hearing suggestions from people about what our priorities should be.”

Councillor Andy D’Agorne, Deputy Leader of City of York Council said: “The council plan is important so we can clearly set out what we hope to achieve over the course of the next four years. These proposals acknowledge the need for us to address the climate emergency declared by full council and listen to residents’ ideas about what the council should do to address this. We would like to hear what actions individuals, businesses and organisations might take to support this work.

 “As well as climate change, the proposed outcomes also consider a range of social, economic and environmental factors we are keen to prioritise and ensures the city supports a good quality of life for residents.

“We look forward to hearing from residents, businesses and local community groups. We think it is really important they have a chance to discuss and play a part in the work we will be doing over the next four years and want to hear their views and suggestions.”

Getting to know you?

The Council has launched an online survey aimed at finding out how residents want to interface with their local Councillors.

The survey can be found by clicking here https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/8ZTKMZ3

The questions asked are mundane and are unlikely to unlock suggestions for improved communication.  Attitudes seem to be rooted in the 1990s with an inability to supplement the public meeting/ward committee culture.

The survey does ask whether residents would view local Councillors Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter feeds? Most competent and caring Councillors already use these channels albeit with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Some however fail to say where they live and offer no direct telephone contact.

It is ironic that the survey comes at a time when another part of the Council is trying to restrict residents access to information. Its “freedom of information” web page hasn’t been updated since last summer. The Council is removing residents association meeting details for its site and will no longer publicise local events.

The Council has never been good about communicating what is happening in local neighbourhoods particularly as far as spending its budget is concerned.

Some three months after the Council election some residents are still waiting for their first communication from their new representatives. There is a suspicion that some newly elected members were taken by surprise by their own success.  Some Councillors need to put their own house in order before publicly agonising about changes.

More can be done to create a greater sense of community. Councillors should be local “leaders” in this regard. Organising litter picks is one of the survey options offered, but something more is required.

There is no reason why the Council could not host an electronic noticeboard on which residents could pose questions and express views about the local neigbourhood. Councillors could provide answers and offer solutions to problems.

That would at least recognise that – although public meetings might still have a role to play in dealing with major issues – the day to day challenge of keeping public service standards at a satisfactory level requires a little more innovation.

As for local Councillors, they should make sure that they survey residents opinions and priorities on a door by door basisi at least once a year. 

That is the best way of staying in touch.

Some Councillors in the past have surveyed residents views on a regular basis

Residents views sought on making York an “age friendly” City

Partners working to improve York for its older residents have launched a consultation on getting out and about in the city.

The consultation has been launched at www.york.gov.uk/AgeFriendlyYork and will run until 9 August. This is a new step towards making the city more age-friendly and an even better place for older residents.

With around ten percent of York’s population aged over 65 – one third of whom live alone – the city has joined the UK network of Age Friendly communities which are linked to the World Health Organisation.

York aims to help older people live healthy and active later lives, that they are happy and are in good health while living in their community. Being an Age Friendly city means that older residents are encouraged to become active citizens, shaping the place that they live in by working alongside local groups, council and businesses to identify and make changes to the physical and social environment they live in.

In York, this will be done by working towards improving the choices older people have regarding how they can travel and where they travel to, how they spend their time and access information, the quality of their housing and services for older people.

The initiative is supported by the York Health and Wellbeing Board, and partners will work with City of York Council, York Older People’s Assembly, York CVS as well as local groups and businesses to engage older people and key stakeholders about their lives and to ask for suggestions to make the city more age friendly. 

Poll on older peoples accommodation in York

Residents across York are being asked for their views on how and where they, or their loved ones, want to live and be supported as they age in a city wide consultation this month.

City of York Council wants to hear the views of all residents, regardless of their age, about the different accommodation options and what can be done to support life long independence.

The survey forms part of York’s Older People’s Accommodation Programme which aims to ensure that older people’s accommodation needs are met now and in the future.

The survey is available online now at https://www.york.gov.uk/consultations and in paper copy Explore Library Learning Centres. The council will also be running consultations directly with key stakeholders and community groups. The closing date for the consultation is 11 August.

The Tackling Fuel Poverty scheme received £5.7 million from the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), delivered in partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, through the Leeds City Region Growth Deal – a £1 billion package of Government investment to accelerate growth and create jobs across Leeds City Region.S

63% of Council tenants say lack of car parking provision is a problem in their area

Annual Council tenants satisfaction survey results  have been published. Not surprisingly they show little change for the views record last year.

The results are based on the views of 595 tenants who returned the Councils survey form

83% of tenants area satisfied with the overall service provided by the (Council) landlord

Highest level of dissatisfaction relates to poor parking provision in estates. Despite funding having been made available, Council officials seem unable to deliver the additional parking pal-bys in locations that have been identified. It is a problem in parts of the Westfield Ward where 6 schemes, some dating back as far as 2016, have yet to be started. Only one, in Spurr Court, has been completed recently.

There are other areas where tenants say improvements are needed

  • 59% say dog fouling is a problem
  • 59% Are unhappy with the state of roads and footpaths
  • 55% say rubbish and litter is a problem in their area
  • 48% say drug use or dealing is a problem in their area.
  • 44% say disruptive teenagers are a problem in their area
  • 46% say drunk or rowdy behaviour is an issue

The Council was criticised by 1/3 tenants who said the landlord did not listen to their views. This was a marked increase in dissatisfaction since the previous survey was completed.

In 2018 the York Federation of Tenants Associations was wound up, with no independent voice now articulating residents concerns in many of the City’s estates.

Windsor Garth parking lay-by location options revealed

Local Councillor Andrew Waller is consulting local residents about the new proposals to install additional parking lay-bys on Windsor Garth.

Cllr Andrew Waller

The options are the latest in a series of plans which are aimed at reducing congestion on the narrow roads in the Kingsway/Hob Moor estate.

Several other options have been discounted either for practical reasons or because they did not represent value for money.

Residents had their  say in response to a survey conducted a year ago. Subsequently a plan to provide a lay-by outside the flats on Newbury Avenue ran into delays caused by difficulties in relocating telecoms cabinets. That plan is now expected to be implemented in the spring.

The need for better parking has become even more urgent with the Council having decided to redevelop the Windsor House/Lincoln Court area on Ascot Way. The published plans for the new buildings do not include sufficient “on site” parking space according to many residents.

The Westfield Ward delegated budget includes funding to provide up to 11 additional spaces during the current financial year. Potential locations near Kempton Close and Beverley Court have now been identified. (see plan below)

Residents have a choice of implementing option 2 or 3 this year.

Option 6 will be done as well unless there are strong objections from local residents. .

It is likely that the spaces will use matrix surfacing. This allows grass to grow though the matrix providing a “natural” appearance while also allowing “soak away” drainage.

Any work must be completed before the end of March.

Parking lay-by options in Windsor Garth area January 2019

 

 

Survey confirms that most residents oppose current Lowfields plans

The results of a survey undertaken in the Lowfields part of he Westfield Ward have revealed the depth of opposition to the Councils current plans for the sports pitch

4 out of 5 respondents are asking the Council to scale down their plans.

Most also want restrictions on building activity hours on the site.

 

Acomb Front Street improvements – report published

More flower tubs are promised

The Council is set to consider the latest report on the future of Acomb Front Street on 3rd July.

The area has had a boost in recent months with fewer empty properties and plans announced that would see several empty upper floors brought into residential use.

Nevertheless, the long-term future of the shopping area remains unpredictable, so investment of up to £100,000 is to be welcomed. Some of the fund will be spent in Haxby.

Back alleys need better refuse storage and cleaning

Part of the money is to be spent on bolstering existing activities with the aim of increasing “footfall”. These include additional grants to the ADAM arts festival and an improved Acomb Alive Christmas lights display.

Additional planters are planned for Front Street as are better signposts (wayfinding)

The Friends of Acomb Green have been allocated £5000 for “recycling area improvements” in the car park although it is unclear precisely what this would involve. (The bins could do with repainting although overfull containers, and litter drift, have been the main sources of complaint).

The Council could make a start by cleaning its noticeboards on a regular basis

A further £23,000 of the budget will be allocated later in the year.

The project has moved forward only slowly over the last 3 years.

The results of our survey undertaken in 2017 revealed that residents had clear priorities for the improvement of the area.

Residents priorities for Front Street 2017

Top of the list was the need for a level pedestrian surface across the whole of the precinct.

Achieving this would have required negotiations with the forecourt owners.

Little progress seems to have been made although consultants are now to be appointed to produce an economic masterplan for the area. They are expected to report in December 2018.

Crime survey started

click to go to survey

The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) has started an “on line” survey which she says is aimed at getting residents views about neighbourhood policing.

In some ways this is well timed as the summer period invariably brings a peak in some forms of crime – notably anti-social behaviour.

We have already seen an escalation in complaints about the “mad moped” brigade while environmental crime (e.g. dumping, dog fouling) are still at high levels. However, they are yet to reach the heights seen last year when the police presence was very low.

Since then there has been a gradual and welcome improvement with more patrols by PCSOs evident.

The survey begins by asking about satisfaction with a range of public services. There will be a suspicion that this will be to allow the PCC to say that the quality of policing is more highly rated than, say, road maintenance. The real comparison is with historical performance.

The effectiveness of policing  has never been the same in sub-urban parts of York since anti-social behaviour activities were centralised into a “hub” at West Offices. Almost overnight communication channels between residents and named police officers were broken, losing a valuable channel of information about the causes of crime and those responsible.  The boundaries of the neighbourhood policing units seem to have been in a constant state of flux.

Lists of local officers need to be regularly updated and included on public noticeboards, social media pages etc.

The local activities web page for York South famously is only updated a couple of times a year, although there are many more things going on than are publicised.

The survey fails to probe whether residents have confidence in the criminal justice system in its entirety. Many reported crimes go undetected while courts seem to lack effective powers to deter repeat offences.

The police seem reluctant to publish performance stats at a neighbourhood level. Information is available at https://www.police.uk/ but accessing it is awkward. Residents Associations no longer routinely receive information. Many Neighbourhood Watch organisations have folded in recent years.

We hope that the results of the survey will be published at neighbourhood level.