After seemingly years of inactivity, the Council has made good progress in installing new, off street, parking spaces over the last few weeks. The funding for the bays was made available from delegated ward budgets and the “housing estate improvement programme”. More work is needed, but hopefully the new budgets, which will be available from Monday, will allow more speedy progress to be made over the next year.
Building contractors have moved onto the Newbury Avenue building site before a promised parking bay has been brought into use. The contract is worth £730,000 and will see 5 bungalows built on the site.
The Council had originally insisted that the 4 space bay be provided before work started on demolishing the garages. They later hurriedly changed the condition to say the bays must be provided before construction work started.
The intention was that the bays would provide some relief for local residents forced to park “on street” when 20 or so vehicles are displaced from the garages.
That hasn’t happened and work has only just started on the bays.
Official’s had blamed a slow response from a utility company that had been asked to move one of its boxes.
Sadly the other parking bays promised for the beleaguered estate have also not been provided.
Local Councillors had allocated funding from their delegated estate improvement and ward committee budgets. They surveyed residents opinions on suitable sites a couple of months ago and received the thumbs up for locations near Beverley Court and Kempton Close.
But no feedback on the plans has subsequently been given to residents.
With only 6 weeks until the end of the financial year, there is now doubt whether the Windsor Garth and Danesfort Avenue spaces will actually be provided.
At long last, work has started on providing additional parking spaces in the Spurr Court area.
However there is still no news on the other half a dozen lay-by schemes that are outstanding in the Thoresby Road, Dijon Avenue, Windsor Garth, Askham Lane and Chapelfields areas.
The Council really should keep residents up to date with the progress being made.
Local Councillor Andrew Waller is consulting local residents about the new proposals to install additional parking lay-bys on Windsor Garth.
The options are the latest in a series of plans which are aimed at reducing congestion on the narrow roads in the Kingsway/Hob Moor estate.
Several other options have been discounted either for practical reasons or because they did not represent value for money.
Residents had their say in response to a survey conducted a year ago. Subsequently a plan to provide a lay-by outside the flats on Newbury Avenue ran into delays caused by difficulties in relocating telecoms cabinets. That plan is now expected to be implemented in the spring.
The need for better parking has become even more urgent with the Council having decided to redevelop the Windsor House/Lincoln Court area on Ascot Way. The published plans for the new buildings do not include sufficient “on site” parking space according to many residents.
The Westfield Ward delegated budget includes funding to provide up to 11 additional spaces during the current financial year. Potential locations near Kempton Close and Beverley Court have now been identified. (see plan below)
Residents have a choice of implementing option 2 or 3 this year.
Option 6 will be done as well unless there are strong objections from local residents. .
It is likely that the spaces will use matrix surfacing. This allows grass to grow though the matrix providing a “natural” appearance while also allowing “soak away” drainage.
Any work must be completed before the end of March.
Demolition contractors (who suspended their activities yesterday following complaints that the work was unauthorised) will be able to demolish the Newbury Avenue garage blocks when the current public consultation period ends.
Officials claimed that this will be before Christmas
The planning committee was asked enforce the condition that four additional parking spaces be provided before the garages are demolished. This had been the wish of the planning committee when it met in May.
It was pointed out that some of the heaviest plant and lorries would be accessing the site during any demolition works, making additional off street parking options, on the narrow roads, even more essential.
The Council had been criticised for refusing to let several of the empty garages over the last 6-year period despite there being a waiting list of potential renters.
They moved quickly in the summer to end the remaining tenancies and secure the garage area.
A telecoms junction box must be moved before the car parking spaces can be provided. The junction box had been provided after the plans for new bungalows were published but before the committee took its decision in May. Councillors and officials were aware then of the existence on location of the equipment
Yesterday officials were unable to explain why they had not acted more quickly to get the telecoms equipment moved
NB. Work on providing additional parking lay-bys on Windsor Garth – which was authorised over a year ago – is also still outstanding. The Council has failed to provide a completion date despite many deadlines having come and gone. The lay-bys are being funded under the Westfield ward delegated budget.
The planning committee have approved the plan to demolish 28 garages in Newbury Avenue. They will be replaced with 5 bungalows.
The committee declined to impose a condition requiring the developer to contribute towards the provision of alternative off street parking provision in the area.
Some of the garages have not been let for several years following a decision by the housing department to leave them empty. This has already exacerbated the parking situation in the Windsor Garth area.
The only hope for more parking provision now rests with the use of a small delegated ward committee budget. However this would provide only a handful of spaces (on lay-bys situated on Windsor Garth) and it could be the autumn before the work is started.
The Kingsway area has been poorly treated by the York Council in recent years. It has only just begun to get over the extended (nearly 3 years) build period for the Hob Stone development. Roads are still showing signs of the effects that heavy building wagons had. Damage to speed tables has been very pronounced.
Residents living in the area will be viewing with apprehension the possibility that the redevelopment of the Windsor House site could take place at the same time as the Newbury Avenue building works.
On the basis of yesterdays planning committee decision, they cannot look to that quarter for any support in addressing transport and planning problems in the area.
Anger as parking problems not addressed by York Council officials
Council officials are recommending that plans to build on the garage site on Newbury Avenue are given the go ahead.
The issue will be discussed at a planning sub committee meeting taking place on 3rd May.
On the previous day (10:15am Wednesday 2nd May), Councillors will be visiting the site. They will no doubt be able to see the parking problems which already exist in the area.
Residents may attend both meetings and can register to speak at the committee meeting. To do so residents should telephone York 551088 before 5:00pm on 2nd May.
The officers report is negligent in at least one way. Objectors have pointed out that the loss of 28 garages – and with them an equivalent number of off street parking spaces – will have a major impact on congestion and parking problems on the estate.
The report offers no response to this concern.
There are already problems when large vehicles and buses try to access the narrow roads. The problems have got worse since the Council stopped new lettings at the garages while the overspill from the Hob Stone development has also hit the Windsor Garth area.
Now the Council is also threatening to redevelop the Windsor House site on Ascot Way. Again it has given little thought to the parking problems that will emerge both during building works, and afterwards.
It could mean that major building works will take place within the next year at both sites at the same time – a recipe for transport chaos with the only available access to the estate being the relatively narrow route from Kingsway West.
Some objectors to the Newbury Avenue plan have demanded that alternative off street parking spaces be provided before demolition starts. They have pointed to several sites where the provision of matrix protection on grassed areas would provide an option while retaining the green appearance of the estate.
Currently an increasing number of vehicles are being parked on these grassed areas anyway – resulting during periods of wet weather in unsightly damage which is expensive to repair.
NB. Efforts are being made to form a new Hob Moor Residents Association in the area. The residents group will focus on opposing the Councils plans for the estate and will seek additional investment to address existing problems.
The old Kingsway Area Residents Association (KARA) was disbanded about 5 years ago.
Elderly residents of sheltered accommodation units at Lincoln Court can expect the building to be modernised next year,.
Top of the priority list is new windows although a general uplift is also needed.
The building was discussed yesterday at the Councils Executive committee meeting which decided to close the adjacent Windsor House elderly persons home.
The two buildings share a heating system.
Residents of Lincoln Court had been left in suspense while Council officials consulted about closure plans but it now seems that the future of the sheltered accommodation is secure.
A report on the future of the Windsor House site is expected early next year. One is suggestion is that a “centre of excellence” for disabled people should be built there.
The Council will first have to address chronic traffic congestion and parking problems in the Kingsway West/Ascot Way/Windsor Garth area.
Residents responding to a survey in the Kingsway West/Windsor Garth/Hamilton Drive area have identified their priorities for public service improvements.
The survey is the latest of a series being conducted by Councillors representing the Westfield ward on the City of York Council
212 residents have so far completed and returned the questionnaires
Generally the results suggest that most residents are at least satisfied with the quality of most public services in the area
However Councillors are now seeking improvements to road repairs, car parking and overgrown trees/bushes in the neighbourhood.
Further details can be downloaded from http://tinyurl.com/surres2017
Other findings included: