Front Street regeneration – residents views sought

Residents are being asked to give their views on what needs to be done to revive the Front Street area.

There are fewer empty shop units on Front Street compared to 3 years ago (above)

The York Council recently announced that it will invest in the Front Street area and the expectation is that experts will recommend a way forward. Although the shopping area has had a boost over recent years, with the Acomb Alive traders organisation holding a series of events, many feel that a change to the physical layout of the precinct will be necessary to tempt larger numbers of shoppers back to the village.

A monthly street market has been very popular and it is hoped to build on its success.

The next market is being held on Saturday 24th June.

Responding to a door to door survey, recently launched in the Hamilton Drive and St Stephens Road areas by the Westfield ward Councillors team, residents have already indicated how often they use services on the Front Street area.

The majority have said that they frequently use the supermarket, local shops and the bank/post office facilities.

Residents are also being asked to rate several potential improvements. These include:

  • Providing a level surface across the whole of the pedestrian area including the forecourts
  • Improving litter and rubbish management
  • Providing a “big screen” focal point
  • Generally repaint and refurbish street furniture and signs
  • Providing easier parking
  • Narrowing the carriageway in “old” Front St to make it more pedestrian friendly.

The hope is that the survey will prompt some original thinking by both residents and commercial users in the area.

A public meeting has been scheduled to take place, on 12th July at 6:30pm in the Gateway Centre, to discuss how the Front St area can be regenerated. 

In the meantime, interested parties can complete a brief on line survey by clicking here



Some surprises as Chapelfields residents give their views on public services

Younger residents want better play, sports and youth club facilities

Failure to repair the bus shelter – damaged 3 months ago – was criticised by many

A door to door survey of residents views, undertaken by the Westfield Ward Councillors and helpers, has revealed the top priorities of Chapelfields residents. 170 households completed questionnaires with the top priorities for local improvements being:

  • Better parking facilities
  • The reinstatement of a regular skip service (halted by the council in April) and
  • Better maintenance of trees/bushes & verges.

:There were a lot of concerns about security. 38% of residents described policing in the area as “poor”.

For the first time the survey included a separate section aimed at finding out the priorities of younger people.

The responses revealed that listening to music and watching TV were the most popular current pastimes.

Many respondents wanted to see better sports facilities with a usable football pitch a high priority.

The Grange Lane Park and Playground “needed an uplift” being described as “dirty and insecure”.

Some wanted to see more events at Sanderson House – the local community centre.

One child – with a more down to earth priority – said that she wanted to see the “ice cream man visit the estate earlier in the day”

All respondents gave a high priority to providing funding from the Ward Committee budget for younger persons activities.

71% of respondents rated the Acomb Explore Library as good or satisfactory with 57% giving similar support to the Energise leisure centre.

For the first time in the annual survey the bus service was the top rated public service 97% rated it as good or satisfactory.

A full analysis of the Chapelfields Residents survey can be downloaded by clicking here

The residents survey now being extended to cover the Kingsway West area


Views of older people sought in York survey

City of York Council and its partners are asking for older people across the city for their views on how we as a city can keep them healthier, happier and more independent for longer.

The survey asks for answers and suggestions on a range of issues including; social life, health, their local community and how they access information.

The survey, which is open for comments until Tuesday 30 June, will be distributed by partners across the city. Residents will also be able to pick up a survey from any of the Explore Library Learning Centres across the city or take the survey online at

The last citywide older people’s survey was held in 2008 and led to some really positive outcomes following feedback from residents. These included the introduction of a handy person service, a toe nail cutting service, and the Age UK first call information service.

Martin Farran, corporate director of health, housing and adult social care said: “Older people bring a great deal of knowledge, skill and energy and contribute enormously to the city.

“We are interested to know how our older residents currently live, the issues they face and to hear ideas on how we can keep older people healthy, happy and independent for longer.”

George Wood, Chair of the Executive Committee from the York Older People’s Assembly said: “This is a real opportunity for older people across the City to have their voice heard and to impact in a very real way on the future planning of services.”

The survey is being conducted collaboratively between the York Older People’s Assembly, Age (UK) York, Healthwatch York, York Council for Voluntary Services, York Blind and Partially Sighted Society, York Alzheimer’s Society, the Vale of York CCG, the Police and Crime Commissioner and City of York Council.

For more information, or to take the survey online, visit

LibDems consult on parking improvements in Windsor Garth area

Beverley Court

Local Liberal Democrats are conducting a door to door survey in the Windsor Garth area following escalating problems with car parking.

The problems have been exacerbated by recent developments and the Liberal Democrats now want to see alternative parking spaces provided if the proposed demolition of garages on Newbury Avenue gets the go ahead.

Plans for the garage site development are expect to be published late next month with a  referral to the planning committee expected before the end of the summer.

Local residents anticipate that a section 106 notice will be served requiring the developers to fund alternative parking space.

The Council stopped re-letting empty garages as long ago as 2012 – a step which has made the lack of off street car parking space an acute problem.

Some of the possible sites for new parking lay-by area shown on the map below. 

LibDem survey asks about NHS, police profile and garages

A new survey launched today in west York seeks residents views on the NHS, GP appointments, dentists, Police visibility and council garages

The survey will be delivered to each household in the Westfield area but can be completed “on line” by clicking here

A similar survey, completed in the autumn in the Chapelfields estate, revealed that:

  • Most tenants thought that the Council was doing a good job in managing houses in York. Despite this high rating—which mirrors the Councils own poll results—York is still considering passing Council housing management to a third party.
  • Unfortunately no one thought that the police were doing a good job in controlling crime levels in the Chapelfields area. This probably reflects recent problems with anti social behaviour although residents were evenly divided when asked whether vandalism, graffiti and rowdy behaviour had increased during the last year.
  • 67% did say that they thought that more should be invested in crime prevention
  • No strong views were expressed on a proposal to secure the Grange Lane park boundary with a kissing gate (to stop access by motorcyclists)




Customers asked for their social care views by York Council

Social careAdults receiving care and support from City of York Council will be asked for their views and experiences of the services as part of a nationwide survey throughout February and March.

The Adults’ Social Care Survey, which will be sent out by every council in England and Wales, will be used by the council to understand the experiences of people receiving its care and support services.

The survey will focus on customers’ quality of life, how well informed they are about services, their health and well-being and their levels of safety and security.

The questionnaire will go out to a total of 1232 customers, and will include adults living in residential/nursing care, people with learning disabilities living in the community or supported living units, as well as those receiving services in their own home.

Police seek views on their priorities

The Police and Crime Commissioner is asking residents to tell her what the policing priorities for the next few years should be.

While the decline in police visibility over recent years may lead some to be cynical about the surveys value, generally we think that residents should take every opportunity to highlight this important issue.

You can do so by clicking here or here

In completing the form, residents will no doubt bear in mind the increase in anti social behaviour seen over the last couple of years in parts of the City.

This has mostly been blamed on the decision of the police to centralise anti social behaviour officers in the York Councils HQ building; robbing local communities of both named Police Officers and Police Community Support Officers.

Taking one estate (Chapelfields) as an example, stats show crime is on the increase with  229 instances of anti social behaviour reported in the last year


Residents complain that, despite CCTV cameras being in operation, youths routinely harass passers by.

So we need to make tackling anti social behaviour the priority that it was until 2011.

In Acomb this will mean:

  1. The Police appointing named Police Officers and PCSOs for each neighbourhood and the reintroduction of regular foot or cycle patrols together with attendance at residents meetings
  2. Setting up a police reporting desk in a public building such as Acomb Library (while at the same time abandoning plans for an expensive and unnecessary replacement police station in Lowfields)
  3. Proactive communication with residents telling them about crime trends and the action taken by police to address concerns. Use of local newsletters and noticeboards should be reintroduced.

We will then be able to get back to the Police and community working together to improve community safety

Residents have until the 18th November to complete the survey


Carers asked for feedback on support services

Adult Carers receiving support services from City of York Council will be asked for their views on the services they receive over the next few weeks.

downloadThis survey, which is being run nationally, looks to find how services received by carers are helping them in their life and their view of services provided to the cared for person and where improvements can be made.

The questionnaire will be sent to over 900 carers across the city from next week and the consultation will close on 18 November. The survey will be undertaken in every local authority in England, and will result in the most significant pool of personal outcome information for those carers to date, providing an important resource for understanding services for carers and enabling them to make better choices about their support.

The survey looks to hear carer’s views on the quality of life of both themselves and the people they care for and looks to understand the impact that the services they receive have on quality of life.

Cllr Carol Runciman, Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Health said: “The information we get from this national annual survey of adult carers is incredibly useful in helping us to evaluate and improve our services for carers and cared for people in York.  As well as understanding the views of carers across the city this survey will enable us to compare the experiences of people living in York with those who live elsewhere in the country.

“I would urge everyone who receives a survey to complete it and return it as soon as possible and would like to thank carers and their families for their help with this process.”

That was the year that was – 1980

Following on from yesterdays story about public satisfaction with Council services, it seems that little changes. 

According to one of our Focus newsletters published in 1980,  local residents were most satisfied with refuse collection and least happy about highway maintenance. 

That’s much the same story today although the relative ranking of some other public services has changed. 

The two local Councils (York District and North Yorkshire County) were both Conservative controlled in those days. York was to become a Labour run authority in 1983, something which pretty much continued unchanged until 2001 when the Liberal Democrats gained ground in local by-elections. 

Focus newsletters have improved from being hand written to using a computer design with full colour printing. So some things do change.

NB. The 1980 editor was Peggy Barker who lived in Stuart Road. She was a Liberal Councillor in the Westfield Ward for 5 years. 

1980 Focus survey result



60% of York residents say road maintenance is “poor”

With the York Council’s ruling Executive due to discuss it’s first quarter performance later today, a new survey has revealed that many residents are unhappy with public service standards in the City.

West York survey results July/Aug 2016

West York survey results July/Aug 2016

Road repairs (60% rated “poor”) and footpath  repairs (57%)  top the list of woes, but there is also criticism of litter bin provision and car parking arrangements in some sub-urban estates.

Best rated service was recycling (92% rated good or satisfactory), with refuse collection also rated positively (89%).

The Council’s investment in new street lighting seems to be impressing people  with 87% now rating it as good or satisfactory.

However there is little evidence that the Council’s proclaimed priority – investing in street level service quality – is having a positive effect.

Dissatisfaction with roads and footpaths is at an all time high.

Councillors today will be given a different set of figures to consider. Their “key performance indicators” are not included on the Executive agenda but can be accessed via the”open data”  web site.

This is in itself a step forward from previous years when data was often hidden from residents.

Transport KPIs August 2016 click to access

Transport KPIs August 2016 click to access

However a closer look at the stats reveals that, not only are most quarter one figures unavailable, but also many of the out-turn figures for 2015/16 haven’t been updated.

No improvement targets are identified.

Quite what “performance”  – other than a bland anecdotal commentary – Councillors will therefore be considering later today is a mystery.

The York Council must now put more emphasis on customer satisfaction. Publishing the results of quarterly residents “talkabout” panel views would be a start.

The key message though, as the Council begins to construct its budget priorities for next year, is that  residents want to see more invested in repairing our roads and footpaths.