“Clay sir?” That’ll be £50,000 please

York Council claims it has no money to repair speed warning signs or lop trees on Wetherby Road

Work on the Wetherby Road roundabout is almost completed with no further road closures expected.

It has been revealed that the costs of managing the night time closure of the junction were over £39,000.

The Council recently also awarded a contract for the supply of clay for the project. The contract for the clay was valued at £50,000 (!)

Provision of a street lighting “passively safety scheme” at the junction cost £220,000.

These sums can be compared to the potential cost of a few thousand pounds to lop trees on Wetherby Road which are currently obstructing vehicle and pedestrian movements. The Council says that it does not have the budget to compete necessary tree work or reinstate the speed warning sign which has been missing for over 12 months.

Some landscaping work is expected to take place in 2019 at the Wetherby Road/A1237 junction before contractors move on to upgrade the next roundabout.

Rotary Club of York launches tree-planting scheme for local babies

This from the York City Council,

“City of York Council is joining forces with the Rotary Club of York – and partners across the city – to launch a new scheme which will see thousands of trees planted across York: one for every child born in the city over the next 12 months.

Every parent registering the birth of their child through York Register Office will be offered the chance to get involved in the scheme at no cost to them. Parents will be asked to send their baby/babies’ names to www.yorkrotary.cvo.uk/tree-partnership.

A tree will then be planted on land owned by York St John University and Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust to commemorate their arrival.

Around 3,000 children are born in York each year and it’s hoped that the majority of parents will want to get involved in the scheme. The trees planted in York are part of 47,000 Rotary UK are aiming to plant across the country over the next 12 months”

Shame that the Council doesn’t manage its existing tree stock on public land with the same enthusiasm.

They also remain stubbornly aloof from the proposal that an avenue of trees be planted on rural Askham Lane to commemorate the end of WW1.. (more…)

The axe man cometh

The Council has now appointed a contractor who will lop trees in the Council owned section of Acomb Wood (to the rear of Osprey Close/Hawkshead Close/Pheasant Way).
Residents met with Councillors and officials late last year and tagged the (mainly self seeded) saplings which needed to be removed.
The work should benefit the remaining trees and reduce problems with overhanging branches.
The contractor hopes to start work during the fortnight commencing 8th March. The work should take about 6 days to complete, subject to weather conditions. The timetable avoids the bird nesting season.

Elsewhere, on little Green Lane, the same contractor will lop dead branches from trees. Residents met with Councillors at a site meeting in September and discussed what work needed to be done to the trees.

The work should benefit the trees and should also reduce problems with overhanging branches. The work should take about a week to complete, subject to weather conditions.

 

 

Problem hedge cut back from Osprey Close corner

The Council has cut the hedge back from the corner of Osprey Close and Acomb Wood Drive.

The hedge had grown on “no mans land” over the years to the point where it was obstructing access along the footpath in summer.

The street name plate was also obscured.

Nearby, work on lopping trees in Acomb Wood near Hawkshead Close is due to take place during February and March. The programme of works, which were agreed with local residents last year, is expected to take 6 days to complete.

Before

After

After

Dangerous trees – meeting agenda published

Sheena Jackson with trees requiring maintenance in Otterwood Lane

The Council have now published a report which could lead to improvements in tree management work in the City.

It suggests updates to the ineffective polices decided 18 months ago which have seen the number of dangerous and overgrown trees in the City multiply

The Council has a map available which it claims shows all public trees and their status. (Click). However, this concentrates on those subject to Tree Preservation Orders or which are in Conservation Areas.

The bulk of complaints about lack of proactive maintenance concern other trees and bushes.

Fungal growth threatening trees in Foxwood Hill

The Council says that it only has resources available to address “emergency storm damage, road blockages, attending as necessary to make safe. In addition “very urgent. dangerous high-risk hazards” such as predicted imminent failures including “full collapse, limbs, decay, defects” are addressed within “3 months” of being reported.

The Council currently has 42 outstanding reports of dangerous hazards such as full collapse, limbs, decay and other defects which it hopes to address “within 6 months”.

So bad has the problem become in some areas, that ward committees have agreed to use part of their delegated budgets to address problems.

No list of outstanding work has been provided in the report but in the Westfield ward, for example, major issues are known to exist in;

  • Acomb Wood (Council owned section near Osprey Close)
  • Wetherby Road
  • Little Green Lane
  • Otterwood Lane
  • Foresters Walk

Nor does the report address the increasing problem of private trees and bushes overgrowing the public highway. In some cases, like Burgess Walk, street lights have been blocked by tree canopies – leaving footpaths dark and with an increased security risk

The report suggests changes to the tree management policy document. It is unlikely that these changes will go far enough to satisfy residents. The work backlog is simply too large.

The use of outside contractors may be necessary if resident’s safety concerns are to be addressed.

The report will be presented to a “decision meeting” taking place on Monday 18th December at 4:30pm. The meeting will be held in the Thornton Room at West Offices.

Residents may make personal representations to the meeting about tree issues but must register to do so before the meeting. The deadline for registering to speak is 5.00pm on Friday, 15 December 2017.  Residents may also submit written representations, but these must be with the Council by 5.00 pm on Thursday, 14 December 2017.

In both cases notice must be sent by Email to: fiona.young@york.gov.uk  or tel: 01904 552030

Tree map covers all of York. Interactive

Tree management – Council to review policies

Its nearly two years since the York Council changed its polices on the maintenance and management of the trees which grow on public land in the City.

At the time, the then Councillor with responsibility for the service, was told that officials had grossly under estimated the number of problems that were caused by overgrown trees and bushes in the City. He didn’t heed the warning.

Dozens of problem cases have since been reported to the Council with little response. Even when the Ward committee has responded to residents demands for action by making funding available for tree loping and replacing dead trees, progress has been ponderously slow.

Overgrown highway hedges are a problem in some locations.

In others private hedges are completely blocking public footpaths

Now we are promised a review of the policy at a meeting which will take place on 18th December.  A different Councillor is now responsible for this service so hopefully some progress will be made.

The notice of the meeting says that “experience has highlighted the need to include additional policy statements on trees in formal landscapes, woodland management and Ward funding for tree care and management”. Indeed.

But trees need to be loped and bushes removed during the autumn/winter period & that time is now upon is.

Vital road link resurfaced as wind brings down branches in parts of Westfield

The Council has finished resurfacing the carriageway linking Askham Lane and The Green. The road had become badly potholed with the road humps posing a particular threat for cyclists. The Council completed the resurfacing work this week

In the same area, residents continue to complain about vehicles parked on the bend. They obstruct traffic and cause sight line problems. The Council will be asked to consider introducing restrictions on this section of road.

Recent winds have brought down several branches from trees in the Wetherby Road and Askham Lane areas. The problems has been exacerbated by lack of routine maintenance to highways trees in recent years. In some cases branches are fouling over head communications cables while in others public footpaths have been obstructed. It is hoped that some maintenance work will take place this winter.

“Meet on the bridge” plan as Councillors seek residents views on Green Lane trees

A few weeks ago Westfield Councillors asked residents to fill out a short survey. The survey asked about attitudes to the height and width of the trees which grow in the verges in (little) Green Lane.

While there was a mixed response, the vast majority of residents asked for at least some maintenance work to undertaken on the trees.

There were complaints that the trees blocked both natural and street lighting or interfered with communications wires.

Some residents pointed to excessive leaf fall in the autumn. Some felt that this was responsible for blockages on the street drainage  systems.

To make progress on the matter local Councillors have organised a public “on site” meeting.

It will take place on the bridge near the school entrance at 5:45pm on Tuesday 26th September.  The results will be discussed at the meeting which is taking place later the same day at which a tree expert will be present.

The Council will be undertaking some work on trees on the west of the City during the autumn and the Ward committee has a small budget available which could be used to supplement this programme

 

Site visit to decide on pruning plan for trees in little Green Lane

Most residents, who responded to a survey conducted by local Councillors, said that they wanted the trees in little Green Lane (Acomb) lopped.

The trees hadn’t received any maintenance by the City of York Council for over 20 years. Now some are interfering with communication wires and several are blocking street lights.

Councillors have arranged to meet local residents on Tuesday 26th September st 5:45pm on the bridge at the school end of Green Lane.

It is hoped that a consensus will be developed on precisely how much work needs to be undertaken on each tree (there are about a dozen in the street)

It is hoped that a tree expert will be present at the site meeting, and later at the Ward committee meeting (see below), when the crisis in tree management in the ward will be discussed.

The Ward Committee has allocated over £3000 to pay for urgent works required to trim trees and remove self seeded bushes which are causing problems in parts of the Westfield area. This work is best undertaken in late autumn so decisions need to be taken quickly.