The programme of repairs to York’s highways network, that will take place during 2021/22, has finally been published. The programme is usually agreed in February. Work has already started on some of the listed schemes.
There is some mixed news in the report which was approved at a “behind closed doors” meeting apparently held on 23rd April.
The highways maintenance programme (which includes not just carriageway and footpath repairs but also drainage, street lighting, City Walls, flood alleviation etc,) is one of the services which most interest residents, the programme has been delegated for officer determination for some years. Thus, the reports are not subject to scrutiny and alternative ways of allocated the budget are not publicly debated.
One key sentence in the report sums up the dilemma faced by the Council.
“Notwithstanding previous levels of investment the current funding levels are not sufficient to keep all our assets in their current condition”.
In effect, the Council has decided to focus resurfacing works on busy roads. Most side roads are being left to crumble.
Some work scheduled for 20/21, including the whole of the micro patching programme in Woodthorpe, has been delayed into the current financial year.
There is some good news.
Several long term problem locations in west York, including parts of Foxwood Lane, Askham Lane near the A1237 intersection, The Green, Bradley Lane near Rufforth, the low numbered end of Gale Lane and Thanet Road are scheduled to be resurfaced this year.
But there is no allocation for repairs on School Street and the surrounding area behind the Front Street shops, nor at many other sub-urban locations.
No footpaths in the Westfield area will be resurfaced.
There is no mention in the programme of the repairs needed to off-road cycle track infrastructure nor is there any listing of how the £1 million delegated “ward budgets” will be spent.
£877,000 of the latter budget, due to be invested last year, is being carried over into the current year. At the very least residents should be given the opportunity to influence how that section of the budget is spent.
All in all its seems that the decline in maintenance standards is set to continue for another year.
No additional hospital deaths announced today
Twelve additional positive test results were announced today. Brings the cumulative total up to 11,942.
As forecast, the rate /100k population figure has edged up to 55.08 today. This is still the second lowest infection rate recorded since last September.
The rate is expected to fall to around 50 tomorrow.
Todays total (116) represents an increase of four cases from yesterdays figure (112)
The current weekly case rate number is better than was seen at the end of the second wave in December. The second wave trough was 17.43 (8/12/20). The current equivalent figure is 16.57.
Ten neighbourhoods now have fewer than 3 cases in each
The largest day on day increase in case numbers was in the Clifton Without and Skelton neighbourhood.
There has been a big reduction in cases in North Yorkshire which now has a rate below 50 for the first time this year..
People aged 56 and over can now book for their first jab. The Askham Bar vaccination centre expects to increase activity next week following an additional supply of vaccines.
All over 50’s will be vaccinated by the middle of April.
4209 PCR tests were conducted in York during the week ending 1st March 2021.
Of these, 2.7% were positive. That was a slight increase on the previous day (2.6%)
3027 “lateral flow” tests were also conducted on 5th March
Tests are available at the Thanet Road Rugby Club car park site on each Monday and Tuesday during March between 9am & 3pm.
Please book a test by visiting: www.nhs.uk/Coronavirus or calling 119 and selecting the option that you were asked to attend by your local council.
Deaths and test results
TWO more deaths announced by York Hospital Trust today. Both occurred yesterday. The cumulative total since 1st September is now 174.
The Trust has today said that the number of admissions has reached a record high for the period of the pandemic. The Trust currently has 135 patients with Covid-19 – higher than the 131 patients it was treating last March.
There were ONE HUNDRED AND NINETY NINE new positive test results announced today. The cumulative total number of cases has now risen to 8522.
The rate /100k population figure is now 532.74.
It is trending to reach 622.0.
There are now three neighbourhoods in the highest infection rate banding. They are Woodthorpe/Acomb Park, Clifton Without and Westfield/Chapelfields.
The Citywide case rate continues to grow following the national trend.
Test numbers down in York.
Perhaps not surprisingly the number of COVID tests carried out during Christmas week (24/12 – 30/12) fell by half compared to the previous period. Not withstanding the drop in the number of tests carried out, a record high number of positive results was recorded on 29th December.
The testing profile showed a marked shift towards the Lateral Flow method during December
The latest ONS figures also show that there is a growth in older people testing positive for the virus although the majority of cases (70%) were still found in people aged between 20 and 60.
Fines for COVID restrictions contraventions
Between 2/12/2020 and 5/1/2021 355 FPNs have been issued in total, broken down as follows:
- 194 to local residents
- 161 to visitors
- 9 for outdoor gatherings
- 334 for indoor gathering – 51% (171) of those have been in the Scarborough district.
Speaking about the number of FPNs issued in Scarborough for breaches of the indoor gathering rules, Chief Inspector Rachel Wood said:
“While the majority of Scarborough residents have followed the guidance and understood the rules around social gatherings, unfortunately the figures show that there was a minority of people who chose to openly flout the rules and host and attend house parties.
“Our Neighbourhood Policing Teams attended a number of incidents over the festive season and had to take enforcement action, as sadly some people did not disperse and go home when instructed.
“I cannot stress enough how serious our current situation is. As a nation we have moved into new national restrictions and we are being told to once again stay home to save lives and protect our health service. We are seeing infection rates rise and the impact of the virus and the new more transmissible strain is really being felt by our hospitals and healthcare colleagues. People are losing their loved ones to this virus every day.
“So I am urging Scarborough residents to stick to the rules, especially as we approach the first weekend of the new national restrictions. Stay home and only leave if it is for an essential reason such as shopping or medical assistance. People are not permitted to gather indoor or outdoors socially and you should not be meeting anyone outside your own household or support bubble. For more guidance on the restrictions and what you are allowed to do, visit the gov.uk website.
“Our local patrol plans have been revised and we have increased our presence and visibility in our local communities, so members of the public will see officers on the roads and patrolling our local areas. We will take enforcement action against those who are breaking the rules and putting the wider community at risk from this deadly virus. So please stay home and stay safe.”
Extra £100,000 for York workers having to self-isolate
An additional £100,000 is now available for discretionary payments to York residents who are required to self-isolate by the Government’s Test and Track scheme
This extra funding comes from York’s Public Health Covid Outbreak Management Fund to support the council’s discretionary payment scheme. This scheme runs alongside the Government’s Test and Trace Support Payment scheme which makes one-off payments of £500 to eligible residents suffering financial hardship during their 14-day quarantine period.
City of York Council’s first discretionary scheme was funded by the Government but was enough to support only 39 eligible people. This new discretionary scheme will support up to 200 eligible working people with fixed £500 payments. It will also accept applications from working adults living with parents and from working students where they have been experiencing financial hardship because they have been told to self-isolate for 14 days.
People eligible for the Government’s Test and Trace Support Payment will have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace because they have tested positive for coronavirus, or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive
Information on how to apply for a self-isolation support payment – either from the Government or the council’s discretionary scheme – is at www.york.gov.uk/selfisolate or please call 01904 551550.
Cllr Nigel Ayre, Executive Member for Finance and Performance, said:
“We know how worried many people are about money at this difficult time.
“This £100,000 for eligible applicants to our discretionary scheme will provide much-needed relief to those worried about not being able to earn due to self-isolation.
“Self-isolating is just one way in which people are being affected financially by the pandemic. We’re also offering help to people to maximise any benefits and extra payments they’re eligible for, and to give advice to help them manage financially through these difficult times.”
Other support available includes:
- Additional information and support at the Money Advice Service which has up to date information and guidance on the financial impacts of the coronavirus pandemic at moneyadviceservice.org.uk or on freephone 0800 138 7777.
- The benefits you might be eligible for, how to claim and how any benefits will be affected if your circumstances change at gov.uk/benefits-calculators
For help to claim any of the help above or for more advice on sources of support in the city, please go to www.york.gov.uk/BenefitsAdvice or call 01904 551556 for help or a referral to the most appropriate support.
If you’re struggling to manage, or you don’t have any support, but need it because of Covid-19, the council’s helpline is here to help you through this difficult time. Contact us by email: email@example.com or telephone: 01904 551550.
More COVID test appointment times available at Thanet Road
There are a large number of symptom free testing slots available at the Acorn Rugby Club site on Thanet Road for today.
NB. There is a period, from around 3pm – 6.30pm each day, when the Thanet Road site will not show as a testing option on the booking form. This is to allow the system to refresh.
Council guidance on the local initiative is reproduced below
As you will be aware cases in the city are rising and we need your help.
In recent days we have seen a spike in the number of cases in your area (and in some parts of the Foxwood area) and so are offering you the chance to get a symptom-free test to help keep you and those around you safe.
1 in 3 cases of Coronavirus have no symptoms but for some catching Coronavirus can have serious consequences. You could be spreading the virus to those you care about without knowing it.
To help stop the spread we are asking for you and your family to get a test. We are setting up a testing site at York Acorn Rugby Club, Thanet Road, YO24 2NW to make it as easy as possible for you to get a test. This site will be open from Wednesday 6th – Wednesday 13th January inclusive, between 9am and 3pm.
How it works
Book to have a test at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus. On this website select that you do not have symptoms of coronavirus, but in the relevant section choose the option ‘my local council or health protection team has asked me to get a test even though I don’t have symptoms’. Then select the site at York Acorn Rugby Club. Testing can be undertaken on anyone aged 5 and over. We do not recommend being tested if you have tested positive in the previous 90 days. Ring 119 if can’t book online.
If you have symptoms of Coronavirus please do not attend this site, instead book a test through www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119 and select the Poppleton Bar site or a home testing kit.
Getting your results
You should get your results within 24-48 hours of your test.
If you receive a negative test result you can continue as you were.
- a negative test result provides information about the level of the virus at one point in time
- it’s possible to become infected in the hours or days after taking a rapid test – so you must continue to follow government guidance on social distancing, good hand hygiene, and practice ‘Hands, Face, Space’
- this type of testing will only be effective if people continue to follow the guidance
Positive test results
If you receive a positive test result you must self-isolate for 10 days.
By working together and looking after each other we can get through this. We are incredibly grateful for all you have done this year to help stop the spread of Coronavirus.
Thank you for your continued support.
Stay safe and best wishes
Director of Public Health“
Essential frontline Council services announcement
City of York Council is working hard to ensure critical frontline services, such as waste and gritting services, will continue during the new national lockdown restrictions.
As the number of Covid cases increase in the city and across the country, it’s inevitable that the council will also see an increase in the number of infections within its frontline workforce, which makes delivering some services challenging.
Therefore, the council has acted fast and brought in additional measures to keep key frontline services like gritting and waste going over the coming months. This includes introducing stricter staff bubbles to protect staff, redeploying staff from other services and Public Health are also looking to roll our regular testing to staff in the council’s key services.
Immediate operational changes have also been introduced to ensure all but essential highways maintenance works have been paused during the national lockdown, prioritising household waste (refuse) collections and gritting services.
With many key workers currently using the highway network and winter weather affecting the city, it’s important that that the gritting team can continue to keep the highways clear and safe. Grit bins can be used by local residents and are being restocked. Residents are reminded to help relief the pressure on the NHS by taking extra care on untreated side roads and footpaths.
The council has worked with trade unions and its supply chain to develop new ways of working and has ensured all works will happen in a safe way for front line operatives and the public, particularly whilst roads are quieter than normal.
Cllr Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council, said:
“During this incredibly difficult period, it is important that the council continues to deliver essential frontline services, such as gritting and waste collections, to support local residents, businesses and key workers.
“Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, our crews are working hard to ensure that these services can continue despite the national lockdown. With many key workers currently using the road network, it is important that our roads are gritted, so road conditions are maintained and improved. Our Household, Waste and Recycling Centres will also remain open to local residents throughout this period.
“As ever, the resilience and reaction of our city in the face of adversity has been encouraging. We have been overwhelmed by the response of residents and community groups who are supporting more vulnerable residents across the city. Again, I would like to thank our staff, residents and communities enough for truly demonstrating how York comes together in times of crisis.”
However, even with these additional measures, some services like waste may still be affected if case numbers significantly increase amongst staff. This could include some delays or missed collections and the need to co-mingle some items. The council is doing everything it can to keep such disruption to a minimum where possible.
Key services and changes summary:
- Waste: some comingling may occur due to staff absences because of increased COVID infections and there may be some missed collections. Staff are operating in bubbles to protect crews
- highways repairs/gritting: essential pothole repair and winter gritting will continue as normal. Staff are operating in bubbles to protect gritting drivers
- outdoor gyms: sports areas, basketball courts and outdoor gyms are now closed
- household waste sites at Hazel Court and Towthorpe: These services remain open
- explore libraries will be opening at York, Acomb and Tang Hall for public access to PCs, in order to ensure that everyone in York has access to the internet and isn’t digitally excluded. There will also be a click and collect from Acomb and Tang Hall. These centres will be open Mon-Fri 10am to 3pm and Sat 10am 1pm
- a takeaway service will also operate from Rowntree Park Reading Café, seven days a week between 9am- 4pm.
- christmas tree collection – York residents can take their real trees for recycling to Tescos at Askham Bar in York between 10am and 4pm on Sunday 10 January.
- footstreets – operating hours will revert to 10.30am to 5pm (not 8pm). Extensions (Blake Street/Lendal & Goodramgate/Colliergate sections) will remain in place.
- street Works – Works to accelerate the delivery of utilities will take place were possible and whilst traffic levels are lower.
- the lockdown restrictions may affect the frequency of buses on some routes. Please check the itravelyork and operator websites for the latest information: itravelyork.info
- piccadilly car park is now closed.
Help us to ensure your waste/recycling collections can continue as normal, by following these steps:
- Personal waste (such as used tissues) and disposable cleaning cloths can be stored securely within disposable rubbish bags
- double bag – these bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste within your own room
- this should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in your usual external household waste bin
- wipe down bins and boxes etc before and after collection
- minimise the waste you throw away
- park responsibly.
- So far this season the crews have treated the roads and trial cycle network on 22 occasions, using 1,100 tonnes of salt
- each time our nine large and three mini gritters treat York’s network they cover around 390 kilometres of road, footways and cycle-paths, with up to 100 tonnes of salt
- crews leave as early as 4am to ensure the city’s main roads, footpaths and cycle ways are treated
- some circumstances affect when and how we spread grit, including, traffic, rain that can wash away grit, unexpected changes and temperatures below -5°C, which make grit less effective.
- yellow warnings of ice expected to remain in York over the next week, meaning icy patches are expected to develop, especially on untreated surfaces
- therefore, it is vital that people travel to the conditions and leave extra time to complete their journey.
- the aim of the winter maintenance service is, as far as is reasonably possible, to allow the safe movement of traffic, pedestrians and cyclists, on York roads, footways and cycleway during times of adverse winter weather
- it also seeks to keep delays and accidents to a minimum
- precautionary treatment is undertaken before ice forms or snow settles on the highway
- precautionary treatment will only be to footways and carriageways on the defined network, which excludes most footways, cycleway and all car parks
- the gritting of cycle route networks forms part of our winter maintenance, unfortunately resources do not allow us to treat these as frequently as the primary network, these routes will be treated as and when resources becomes available.
To view regular gritting updates follow – follow @YorkGritter on Twitter for updates.
With the current situation continuously evolving, it is incredibly important that residents, communities and visitors can access reliable and accurate information easily. To subscribe to direct email updates from City of York Council, visit: www.york.gov.uk/form/EmailUpdates
For more information, support and advice visit www.york.gov.uk/coronavirus
York symptom-free testing offer
Whilst national restrictions are in force, City of York Council is expanding its symptom-free testing offer to local residents.
The Council is now expanding its testing to include anyone living or working in York who is unable to work from home during the lockdown and who come into contact with other people during the course of their work, including staff working in education and early years settings and those in factories or working in construction.
Testing continues to be offered to those who support the most vulnerable in the city, to school pupils who are eligible to attend school and to teachers who will be working in schools.
We advise that tests are booked regularly (every week), and that people get tested twice, 3 days apart. More test slots have been made available and residents are being encouraged to book their place now.
The Council is also working to identify more testing sites in the coming weeks. We are seeing a high demand for testing and are working hard to increase capacity so if people experience difficulties in booking please try again later when slots may have become available.
The Council is asking that those who are no longer going into school or work as a result of the national restrictions to cancel their appointment if they no longer need it. This will help provide tests to other residents who need a test urgently. You can do this by clicking the link in the confirmation email or visiting our booking website clicking the ‘reschedule or cancel your appointment’ option.
Cllr Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council, said:
It is estimated that 1 in 3 people with coronavirus do not display symptoms and therefore, some individuals will be spreading the virus without realising.
“That is why we are committed to offering symptom-free tests to help stop the spread of the virus. Given the recent changes in restrictions, we have expanded our criteria to offer it to those most likely to come into contact with others.
“We will be looking to open more testing sites in the coming weeks, and we are hugely grateful to York St John University for their support and other partners who are offering their help.”
Sharon Stoltz, Director for Public Health said:
The early identification of those who have coronavirus and subsequent self-isolation will really help us drive down the number of new cases.
“Thank you to the thousands who have been tested so far and book a slot. I would urge anyone who is eligible to get tested regularly to protect those they love as well as the wider York community. We would also be really grateful if those who no longer need a test as a result of the change in restrictions cancel their appointment so this slot can be offered to another resident who may need it urgently.
“If you have symptoms of Coronavirus please cancel your appointment and arrange a test through the NHS at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.
“More venues will be opening across the city soon and we will share more details when we can.”
To book a symptom-free test please visit www.york.gov.uk/SymptomFreeCOVIDTest. Telephone support is available Monday to Friday, between 9.00am and 5.00pm on 01904 551559
We’ve pointed out before, that the York Council is failing to properly maintain existing cycle paths.
Instead it seems preoccupied with launching new initiatives. Recently many of these have been ill considered and subsequently little used (e.g. the Marygate car park route)
The cycle path from Thanet Road to Foxwood is a case in point.
It has been impeded by a “lego” style barrier near Sherringham Drive for over two years. Despite pleas from the local residents association (who want the traditional style barriers restoring as the current set up allows access by motorcycles) there has been no response from the Council.
Nearby the cycle path itself is now cracking while a few metres away the white line markings have all but worn away.
There still doesn’t seem to be any systematic attempt to identify and repair defects.
We have reported today paths in two locations which are impeded by overgrown hedges.
Police have issued CCTV of a man they would like to speak to following a theft in Acomb, York.
The incident happened at Lidl, Thanet Road on 25 May 2020.
Officers are asking members of the public to get in touch if they recognise the person in the images as it is believed they could have information which will help the investigation.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 2 and ask for PC209 Lewis or email Kira.Lewis@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk
If you wish to remain anonymous, you can pass information to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Please quote reference number 12200087032 when passing on information.
Contact details:Kira Lewis – #0209 Kira.Lewis@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk | 101 Incident reference:12200087032
The Council have now appointed a contractor to build a “Pavilion, Clubhouse and Changing Rooms” on Tadcaster Road near Sim Balk Lane.
It will become the home of a football team currently based in Bishopthorpe.
The contract was won by Fullwood of Pontefract
The cost is an eye watering £605,000.
In total the project is expected to cost £1.5 million. £491,000 has already been spent on new pitches.
This compared to the costs of new modular changing rooms which are available from less than £40,000 from a number of companies.
The cost of the pavilion is controversial because it is being partly funded from monies generated by building on playing fields at Lowfield.
More modest changing facilities would have allowed the surplus to be used to provide an all-weather games area to replace both the facilities lost at Lowfields and also the Kingsway West children’s games area which the Council demolished earlier in the summer.
The Council has still not made any public announcement about the replacement games area which could be located on Thanet Road.
As problems with the weed control programme in the City intensify, one Councillor has discovered that contractors may have been using the wrong type of weed killer.
The approved weed-killer is Glyphosate (Roundup). This has proved to be ineffective against many types of weeds including Horses (Mares) Tail and willow-herb.
Now Cllr Mark Warters has found that use of the “Diamond” formulation on Mares Tail in his ward has had good results. He is urging the Council to use it in the future.
The news comes as residents wait to hear when – or even if – the Council is going to organise a clean up of the weeds and detritus which has grown up on the City’s streets this summer.
Although a report to an October meeting has been promised more urgent action is needed.
The expectation was that the executive Councillor with responsibility for street services would have reported on progress to the scrutiny meeting which is due to take place on 11th September.
However a report to the meeting published yesterday pointedly makes no reference to the ongoing problems on our streets.
All these issues have been reported to the York Council for their attention