All issue will be reported. We expect to have some good news to report later this afternoon!
The planning committee last night approved the proposals for the extension of Lincoln Court.
They failed to include a timetable for the replacement of the all-weather games area which will be destroyed as part of their plan.
Successive Council officials and Tory Councillors claimed that the “MUGA” had not been used.
That is simply not true. The area was popular for many years but fell into decline because of lack of maintenance with overgrown bushes providing a screen which encouraged anti-social behaviour.
That was down to poor management by the York Council.
Nevertheless providing an alternative at the Thanet Road site would have been a positive proposal. The Councils executive had seemed to take a step in that direction on Monday when they offered to support a new facility.
Council officials admitted last night that they had not even opened discussions with the rugby club which currently leases the Thanet Road site.
So, what have they been doing for the last 6 months?
The issue will now be referred to the Secretary of State for decision. Residents will make representations in support of Sport England’s position which is that an alternative should be provided before the existing facility is lost.
If this results in delays, then it will be on the heads of the Councillors who last night voted through a scheme which not only sells down the river the hopes of younger people in the Westfield area but also endorses a scheme which provides only a very small external garden space for the use of the elderly residents of Lincoln Court.
Car parking provision is inadequate while a confused traffic management model can only lead to more congestion in the estate with verges and footpaths likely to be damaged by large vehicles.
The future of the all weather games (MUGA) provision in the Kingsway part of York remains unclear. Sport England – with the backing of local Netball and Football governing bodies – is insisting that, if the present facility is removed, then a similar provision must be made nearby.
In effect, Sport England have a veto over new developments if they involve the loss of sports fields. They can insist that a development application is referred to the Secretary of Sate for a decision.
The Foxwood Residents Association has also voiced its concerns claiming that a fitness trail – planned by officials for Chesney’s Field – would not meet the informal sports/leisure needs of the 8 – 13 age group. Instead they urge that discussions take place with the Acorn Rugby Club aimed at funding improvements, and wider access, to the floodlit area that is already in place on the Thanet Road Sports area.
York Council officials are being particularly stubborn on this issue. It is putting at risk a plan to modernise the sheltered housing flats at Lincoln Court.
Some flexibility, urgency and imagination in addressing the issues now needs to be shown by both Councillors and officers at West Offices.
Sport Englands representations can be read by clicking here
The Residents Association comments can be read here
The Council is consulting on a new design for cycle barriers on the cycle track next to the Thanet Road sports area.
Chicane style barriers would replace the existing design. The barrier at Sherringham Drive was removed recently following damage.
In the main the aim of any cycle barriers is to prevent access by motorcycles while allowing use by pedestrians, wheelchair users and cyclists.
WE UNDERSTAND THAT THE COUNCIL WILL NOT NOW DISCUSS THE CHESNEY FIELD ISSUES ON 19TH OCTOBER. INSTEAD THE QUESTION OF PROVIDING FENCING AND A STORAGE CONTAINER ON THE SITE WILL BE CONSIDERED AT A LATER MEETING WHEN THE EXECUTIVE MEMBER FOR LEISURE WILL REVIEW THE PROPOSALS. THE MEETING WILL, OF COURSE, BE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC AND RESIDENTS WILL BE ABLE TO MAKE REPRESENTATIONS.
EARLIER: Despite overwhelming opposition to the proposal to fence off most of the Chesney Field public open space, the York Council is set to discuss the plan at a meeting of its Executive taking place on 19th October.
The same meeting will also consider selling off land at Burnholme and plans to provide sports pitches on land at the “Askham estate” on Tadcaster Road.
However it is the proposal to erect 1 metre high railings, on the public open space on Foxwood Lane, that is likely to attract the most controversy.
The Foxwood Residents Association is organising a public meeting to discuss the issue. It will take place on Wednesday 20th September starting at 7:00pm. The meeting will take place at the Foxwood Community Centre and will be attended by those Council officials who favour the railings plan.
Local Ward Councillors have now completed delivering a door to door survey to households in the Foxwood area seeking views on the Council’s plans.
Of those who have responded so far
- 124 (72%) do not want to see the amenity area fenced off
- 48 (28%) support putting railings round up to 60% of the area
These was no support for securing the whole of the site.
Most respondents said they had no objection to the current arrangements where football and rugby pitches are marked out on the area and rented on a seasonal basis by local clubs.
There was no opposition to plans to level the 2 pitches.
There was strong opposition to siting a shipping storage container on the open space, although some said they had no objection to one being located in the Thanet Road sports area (Acorn Field) behind the landscaping mounds.
Views about the provision of a trim track or outdoor gym were mixed. Some favoured provision of such a facility (which is not dependant on the area being fenced off) on Chesneys field although others felt the provision would be more appropriate on the Acorn field, where there is already a significant amount of sports infrastructure (and which is already secured with 2 metre high railings).
Residents were asked where provision for the local football club, which faces eviction from the Council owned pitches at Lowfields, should be made. The majority of respondents said that the Lowfields plans should be redesigned to allow the existing pitches to remain.
Others pointed to the Councils promise to provide an alternative on Tadcaster Road, while some asked if the joint use of pitches on the Acorn Rugby field was possible (given the projected cost of the project which is put at £40,000)
Foxwood residents, who have so far not completed the survey, can do so “on line” at http://tinyurl.com/Chesneyaug
Residents have until 31st July to object to the latest plan to build on Lowfields playing fields.
The plan, published by the Council with little advance notice, was subject to a “drop in ” consultation last week. However residents can still record their views direct to the Council at the following Email address email@example.com.
Overall the development has now increased in size to nearly 200 homes reinforcing concerns about the impact that additional traffic will have on the neighbourhood.
The plan would seen another open green space – currently used for sports – built on.
An Action Group has published a detailed critique which can be downloaded by clicking this link http://tinyurl.com/LowJulyob
It is likely that opposition will increase if the Council carries out their threat to move a football team from the Lowfields site onto Chesneys Field.
The move could mean part of the public open space lying next to Foxwood Lane being fenced off. A consultation “drop in” on the £40,000 proposals- again with very little advance notice – is taking place at Acorn Rugby Club on Tuesday between 4:00pm and 6:00pm