£35,000 cost of making West Bank Lodge safe

As we reported in February, West Bank Park Lodge is to be made safe.

The building was subject to an arson attack in 2016.

It has now been revealed that the demolition contract will cost £35,503, The contract was awarded to MGL demolition.

The police have still to make any arrests in connection with the arson incident

Holgate Lodge to be “made safe” 15 months after arson attack.

Its taken a  long time, but the Council has now agreed to step in and make the West Bank Park Lodge (14 New Lane) safe.

The lodge was damaged in an arson attack in 2016.

The derelict building has stood as an unwelcome monument to disorder since then.

A meeting earlier in the week heard that before and after the fire

the West Bank Park Heritage Group have had a keen interest in the building as a possible local heritage centre celebrating the origins and history of the park. The building is currently in an unsafe condition and therefore needs partial demolition to make it safe.
To assist this project access has been requested for specialist surveyors to record the layout and condition of the building. This can be facilitated as part of the making safe process”

As part of the demolition process any reclaimable building materials identified as having architectural heritage value will be taken into safe storage for possible reuse in any future rebuild in the park.

The Council has agreed that a further decision on the future of the bsite will be taken upon completion of making the building safe.

No arrests have yet been made by Police investigating the arson attack


Something better for Holgate?

With the major parties now being well on their way to selecting candidates for the 15th February Holgate by election, local voters may well be asking “can we do better than the present lot?”

One test of a good local Councillor is how sensitive they are to local opinion and how proactive they are in leading and supporting local campaigns. In Holgate there have been several major issues over the last couple of years which prove a clue to the answer.

York central access route

The preferred access route of the York Central development was decided in 2007. The link would be from Water Lane and would have the advantage of providing a “by pass” for the Leeman Road area. It had the advantage of avoiding the busy Poppleton Road communities. In 2013, the local Councillor James Alexander brokered a deal which saw the council buy land for a route which passed close to Cleveland Street (Chancery Rise) .  This route was approved by the Labour Executive with two, of the Holgate Wards three Councillors, supporting it. It wasn’t until the Council leadership changed in 2015 that the plan was reviewed. Opposition to the Chancery Rise option was led almost entirely by residents. No Leadership was provided by Holgate councillors. The Chancery Rise option has now been dropped.

Severus nature reserve

More recently, a planning application to develop land between Lindsey Avenue and the Water Tower (Severus SRE) was submitted by Yorkshire Housing. The opposition to the proposals was led entirely by residents. 159 letters of objection were tabled at the Planning committee meeting held on 16th November. Many objected to the loss of a natural nature reserve.  Only one Holgate Councillor attended the Planning committee meeting although the application was refused.

Arson attack on Lodge

West Bank Park

An active voluntary group now helps to sustain the West Bank Park. To address anti-social behaviour issues, they have used “crowd funding” arrangements to secure the park at night. Crime concerns peaked last year when the park lodge was set on fire. It remains as a monument to ineffective policing in the area. There is no evidence that local Councillors have prioritised addressing the issue, although they did authorise a Ward Committee* donation of £2000 to the gate locking project

Carlton Tavern planning application

An application to demolish the Carlton Tavern Pub attracted widespread concern. Opposition was led entirely by residents. Only one Holgate Councillor recorded an objection to the plan when a report was presented to the planning committee in December. The demolition proposal was refused although an appeal against the decision is expected.

Closure of Acomb Police Station

Two years ago, North Yorkshire Police announced that they intended to close the Police station on Acomb Road. The plan might see an alternative depot established in Lowfields. However, the present site provides a high-profile hub for community safety activities plus good access to the whole of west York. The Holgate ward Councillors have failed to oppose the closure plan.

The Holgate area is fortunate in having many active voluntary groups. The Holgate Windmill Preservation Society is an inspiration for many while – against the odds – the Poppleton Road Memorial Hall continues to be sustained entirely by volunteers.

Whether these, and other, local groups get the support they deserve is open to question.

We will try to answer that question next week.

*NB. Most of the delegated Holgate  Ward Committee  budget for 2017  remains unused.

Hamilton Drive dog attack owner fined

Owner of dangerous dog to pay £320 for not keeping it under control

  The owner of a bull terrier which was issued a dog control order in May this year, has been given a conditional discharge for 12 months and has been charged £320 by York Magistrates Court.

Leanne Wyrill, aged 27 of James Backhouse Place, York, owns a Staffordshire cross breed which attacked other dogs in a York park and killed a neighbour’s cat. She was given a dog control order on 24 May 2017 with £260 costs.

In court today she pleaded guilty to failing to keep her dog under control. The Magistrate charged her prosecution costs of £300 and a court surcharge of £20. The conditional discharge means that if she is found guilty of the same offence in the next 12 months, she could face further costs and possibly a sentence.

The court order requires Ms Wyrill to keep the dog under proper control at all times, muzzled and wearing a collar whenever it’s outside, and also to be kept on a lead whenever it’s in a public place.

The court heard today that on 28 and 29 May, 13 and 16 June 2017 the dog was seen in its owner’s back garden without a collar or muzzle. After the sightings in May, the council wrote to Ms Wyrill reminding her of the order’s conditions.

On 24 and 25 June 2017, the dog was seen again in the back garden without a muzzle and, in the early hours of the morning of 26 June 2017, it was seen running down the street towards Hamilton Drive, York and later that same day in the garden without a muzzle.

Council neighbourhood enforcement officers visited Ms Wyrill again and asked her to attend an interview to discuss the offences and be given further advice about the order.

Between 27 June and 4 August 2017, Ms Wyrill allowed the dog in the back garden without a muzzle on four further occasions. She failed to attend the interview or answer questions sent by letter.

The Magistrate confirmed that if Ms Wyrill wanted to vary the control order she would have to contact the court to do so.

To report a dog on dog attack in York, residents should call the council on (01904) 551551 or email neo@york.gov.uk. Reports of dog attacks on people should be reported to North Yorkshire Police by dialling 101. (more…)

Police seek witnesses following reports of aggressive dog in West Bank Park


West Bank parkNorth Yorkshire Police are appealing for witnesses and information about a dog that was reported to be acting aggressively in West Bank Park, Acomb, York.

Police are appealing for information from the public who may have witnessed an incident that happened in West Bank Park, Acomb today (29 December 2016).

Police responded to reports of a dog acting aggressively towards members of the public within the park at around noon.

If anyone witnessed anything or was involved in any way please get in touch with North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 2, and ask for Benjamin Stevens. You can also email Benjamin.stevens@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk

Please quote the North Yorkshire Police reference number 12160233158.

Acomb Green booze ban takes step forward

The Council is set to confirm new restrictions on the use of Acomb Green at a meeting taking place on 20th June.

Acomb Green Play area  group in 2011

Acomb Green

On Acomb Green during 2015, North Yorkshire Police were called to 49 incidents, 44 of which were ASB and there were 5 criminal incidents.

The proposed ban, first announced in Marchcovers:

  • Banning the drinking of alcohol
  • The ability to remove large groups of 3 or more people who are causing anti-social behaviour (ASB)
  • Banning under 16’s from the possession of lighters in the play area
  • Setting the amount of any Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) at £100, which would be reduced to £75 if paid within the first 14 days.

The proposals received the support of over 90% of residents who responded to a Council consultation on the issue. This is similar to the number who responded to a separate survey included in the last issue of the local Focus newsletter. Ward Councillors and local Police also supported the restrictions.

Many residents wrote to highlight the problems that they had witnessed on The Green.

Asked whether there were any other improvement s that they would like to see, residents said a CCTV camera should be installed and they also felt that more enforcement action should be taken against dog fouling.

The “Public Space Protection Order” is likely to become effective later in the year

West Bank Park

Separately the Council is set to go ahead with similar restrictions in West Bank Park.

Here the Executive member is being recommended to impose a requirement that dogs should be kept on a lead between 8:00am and 6:00pm. Residents, in a consultation poll, had opposed this idea by 101 votes to 32.

Used condoms prompt West Bank Park anger

Not amused!

Not amused!

The York Council has been criticised for failing to secure West Bank Park at night.

Along with some other parks across the City, the Council discontinued its routine of locking the park a few months ago.

Bowling greens

Bowling greens

Some residents say that there has been a decline in standards in the park as a result with one volunteer claiming to have cleaned up “used condoms” and beer cans from the park area.

Generally West Bank Park has been well respected by residents and visitors alike.

It has an active group of “friends” and last week a meeting heard plans which could lead to local residents taking responsibility for managing the park.

Signs vandalised

Signs vandalised

Ironically ,locking and unlocking the park’s four access gates may be something that could be done by volunteers.

As with the Councils plans to offload community centres and libraries – the reality may come home in a few years time when volunteers may tire of the added responsibilities.

Some of the furniture in the park is looking a little “tired” now and in need of cleaning and repainting.

The bowling greens – which are protected only by one metre high railings – are immaculate.

One resident commented,

“Within the park, I’ve also noticed an increase in litter and vandalism.

Summer Fayre planned

Summer Fayre planned

 The children’s play area has been daubed with graffiti, the railings around the bowling green have been kicked in, there is graffiti on trees and one of the notice boards has been damaged with paint.

I’ve also seen rough-sleepers emerging from the park, drink in hand, on some mornings”.

We understand that Holgate Ward Labour Councillors have not responded to the complaints