Cost of Ascot Way disabled centre soars by 37%

Council blames the “complexity” of the selected design for the increase.

A Council report published today reveals that the cost of the Centre of Excellence for Disabled Children will increase from the originally budgeted figure of £4.3 million (January 2018) to an estimated £5.9 million.

Demolition works have started at Windsor House

This comes after the Council, In April 2018, had agreed to increase the proportion of the costs which would be funded by borrowing

£1.1 million of the increased costs will come from a Health service grant with the rest being transferred from the education budget.

It appears that some features  of the building are being “value engineered” out of the design.

The centre is being built on the site of the Windsor House elderly persons home. The neighbouring Lincoln Court independent living building is also being modernised and extended at the same time.

While both projects have been welcomed, concerns have been expressed about traffic congestion and parking issues in the area.

The impact of the developments on open space and sports facilities in the neighbourhood have also been criticised.

Details of the new budget allocations are being kept secret by the Council. It is unclear what promised features in the building may now be omitted.

The meeting to consider the budget increase is taking place on 18th June.

Games area being ripped up by contractors

The demolition contractors for the Windsor House/Lincoln Court/Hob Moor school developments have taken over the Multi User Games Area (MUGA) on Kingsway West.

It in no longer accessible for local children.

Councillors have reportedly agreed to it being used as a building compound.

Sections of the fencing around the area have been removed to allow access to a new service road. The entrance used by children has been secured.

While the loss of the play area is not unexpected following a controversial planning decision a few months ago, the failure of the Council to provide updates on when a replacement facility will be provided (and where) is very disappointing. The location favoured by Sports Clubs and local residents, is on the Thanet Road All Weather Sports area near the junction of Gale Lane and Thanet Road.

At one point the Council promised funding for a new facility but all has gone quiet since the LibDems took control of the Council at the beginning of May.

The loss of the sports facility comes in the wake of similar erosion of facilities in the Westfield area with the Lowfields playing field now being developed as is the Acomb Bowling Club.

The Our Lady’s school field was developed about 3 years ago.

Support for the provision of more public open space – possibly in the form of new strays – on the outskirts of the City is growing.

New access road constructed across Hob Moor school playing field
MUGA entrance sealed
Access road into site compound

Windsor House demolition plan falls at first hurdle

Residents warned the York Council that local roads in the Ascot Way/Kingsway West area were too narrow to accommodate heavy construction traffic.
Windsor House construction site

Despite these warnings, the planning committee approved plans for the demolition of Windsor House but failed to specify any highway improvements.

The foolishness of that decision was highlighted on Friday when two very large trucks made their way from the site onto Kingsway West.

They failed to observe the agreed one-way system forcing other vehicles to mount the footpath and verge.

The traffic plan – regarded by many residents as inadequate – was published on 8th May. (Click here to read).

It was clear yesterday that it will be impossible for construction traffic and other larger vehicles, like buses, to pass each other on the twisting roads.

Several other conditions were imposed on activities on the site (click here). Most have still to be implemented.

Car parking is now at an even greater premium with whole of the Windsor House/Lincoln Court site cordoned off.

The problems have arisen only a few days before residents will be given an opportunity to quiz contractors on their plans.

The “drop in” meeting will take place at the Hob Moor School Children’s Centre (Green Lane) at 3:30pm on Wednesday 5th June.

There is still no news on the Council’s plans to provide an alternative play facility to replace the Multi User Games Area which will be lost when construction work starts. It had been hoped that by now, permission would have been granted for a new pitch to be provided on the nearby Thanet Road Sports Area.

There is also a major question mark about the costs of the “Centre of Excellence for Disabled Children” which will be constructed on the Windsor House site. A Council meeting on 18th June (click) will hear that additional funds are required to sustain the project.

One way system odged on 28th May 2019
Meeting on Wednesday

BIFFA bin taking root in Acomb?

A full BIFFA bin has been abandoned in the little Green Lane garage area in Acomb. It has been there for over 4 weeks. The bins is stuffed high with black bags.

The garage area is owned by the York Council but is rarely inspected and even more rarely cleaned up.

Hopefully whoever rented this bin will get it removed quickly.

We’ve reported black bags left next to the litter big on Hamilton Drive West

Some verges haven’t been cut this year and are looking untidy. We have reported those on Foxwood Lane and Bellhouse Way
Weeds are growing on the path and road at the end of Sherringham Drive. The Council has not yet published when it hopes to schedule weed treatments this summer.
Work has started on the demolition of Windsor House. There is still a lot of confusion about this project with additional costs scheduled to be discussed at a Council meeting taking place on 16th June. There has still been no update on the plans to relocate the children’s all weather play area.

Latest planning applications for the Westfield Ward

 Below are the latest planning applications received by the York Council for the Westfield ward. 

Full details can be found by clicking the application reference 

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Former Lowfield School Dijon Avenue York

Condition 2 – 17/02429/OUTM

Self build code for 6 plots. Specifies maximum 12 months build period

Ref. No: AOD/19/00161 

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Former Lowfield School Dijon Avenue York

Conditions 10, 13 & 37 of 17/02428/FULM 

Revised plans for boundary treatments, fencing, open space plan, highway works on Dijon Avenue,  highway works Tudor Road and similar details.  

Ref. No: AOD/19/00160 

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Windsor House 22 Ascot Way York YO24 4QZ

Conditions 16,19 & 21 of 18/01467/GRG3 

Relates to drainage plans.  Construction traffic management plan (Access via Ascot Way for delivery lorries using a one-way system! Worker car parking at Hob Moor school, bus stop moved temporarily along Ascot Way), replacement school playing pitches (at York R I)

Ref. No: AOD/19/00159 

——

17 Foxwood Lane York YO24 3LH

Fell Ash tree protected by Tree Preservation Order no. 3. 

Ref. No: 19/00907/TPO 

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15 The Reeves York YO24 3ES

Single storey rear extension. 

Ref. No: 19/00726/FUL 

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56 St Stephens Road York YO24 3EQ

Change of use from dwelling (use class C3) to a House in Multiple Occupation (use class C4). 

Ref. No: 19/00562/FUL |

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Representations can be made in favour of, or in objection to, any application via the Planning on line web site.  http://planningaccess.york.gov.uk/online-applications/

NB. The Council now no longer routinely consults neighbours by letter when an application is received

Costs up on Council’s Ascot Way development plans

It looks like there are more problems ahead, as the York Council tries to let contracts to establish a new Centre of Excellence for Disabled Children (CEDC) and a major expansion of the Lincoln Court  independent living building.

A year ago, the Council said that it would need to invest £4.3 million in the CEDC. They later revised their budgets and agreed to borrow an additional £330,000 to fund the centre.

Centre of Excellence layout proposals

A £4.7 million contract was awarded in February to Sewell’s. It was said to cover work at both Windsor House and Lincoln Court.

Now papers released yesterday suggest that there may be a significant increase in the costs for the project. Officials are expected to make a case for extra investment at a meeting taking place on 18th June.  A note in the Councils Forward Programme says, “A value engineered exercise has been undertaken and further funds are required to ensure there is an adequate contingency. This needs to be done within this timeframe in order to meet the requirements of external health funding”.

The meeting will take place after the local elections in May so it is anyone’s guess what will now happen to the project.

A cost drift has also occurred on the Lincoln Court side of the project. Earlier this month officials admitted that the cost had soared from £1.9 million to £4.8 million.

The Lincoln Court project is still mired in controversy. The planning approval is being referred to the Secretary of State for consideration for calling in. The move stems from objections from local sports organisations and residents who want to see the existing all-weather play area moved to Thanet Road. The play area would be lost under the Council’s current proposals.

There are also concerns about access arrangements for the buildings both during building works and afterwards. A case has been made for a private (pedestrian) access to be made available to the adjacent school car park. So far, the Council has turned a blind eye to the suggestion, reinforcing concerns about traffic congestion and parking problems on Ascot Way

Both the CEDC and Lincoln Court modernisation have attracted widespread local support. It is a change that lack of attention to detail and poor consultation arrangements seem to be hindering progress.

Hedges ripped out near Lincoln Court

Hedges are being ripped out by contractors in preparation for the start of building works at Windsor House and Lincoln Court.

The new disabled centre, which will replace Windsor House, does have planning permission. It is understandable that developers Sewells will want to remove the hedges before the bird nesting season starts.

Work to the rear of Lincoln Court is more controversial. A planning permission granted in December was found to be flawed. This forced the Council, to submit a new application which has yet to be determined. It has attracted a lot of objections including a significant one from Sport England.

It is therefore premature to undertake work in that area.

Copies of the Lincoln Court planning application together with details of objections can be found by clicking here 

Contractors removing hedge from school playing field boundary

Hedge to side of Windsor House has already been removed

£4.7 million contract awarded for Lincoln Court and Windsor House redevelopment

Lincoln Court

Notwithstanding the fact that the York Council still has an planning application outstanding for the redevelopment of Lincoln Court, it has gone ahead and awarded a construction contract covering the building, and a plan to establish a centre for disabled children on the Windsor House site.

The £4.7 million construction contract has been awarded to Sewell’s, the company who were involved in the PFI deal on the adjacent Hob Moor school development 15 years ago.

The number of tenders received for the work has not been revealed by the Council.

The completion date for the contract is 31st January 2021.

Ascot Way electricity sub station application recommended for approval

Proposed sub station site

Officials are recommending that a new electricity sub station on Ascot Way be given the go ahead at a meeting  which is scheduled to take place on 10th Dec

The application had caused some controversy when first publicised as some residents feared it could lead to an increase in crime.

The sub station will reduce the width of the footpath to the rear entrance to Hob Moor school.

Meanwhile there has been no response from the Council yet to complaints about the way in which the planning application for the Lincoln Court redevelopment was handled.

Sport England asked for the all weather games area to be replaced if the existing facility is bulldozed. The condition was omitted when the planning decision was published.

Later it emerged that the Council had included a condition requiring the additional 10 flats on the site to be used for “extra care” facilities.

Extra care beds require 24/7 staffing support the provisional of which would be economically unsustainable for such a small unit.

The plan could also have significant  transport implications for the area.

 

Work starts on edging park footpaths – more on Lincoln Court

Dickson park footpaths being edged. Residents are seeking similar work in other areas

The Kingsway all weather games area is now in good condition and available for use. Unfortunately the Council has decided to scrap it and have ignored a request from Sport England that a replacement be provided elsewhere. The decision is now subject to a formal complaint

The scaffolding has been removed from Lincoln Court. We understand that work on installing a new boiler, pipework and a full rewire of the building – together with the construction of 10 additional flats – will not commenced until the late spring at the earliest. In the meantime most of the building is likely to remain empty.

Windsor House may also be empty for a period of time. Demolition work can’t start until a replacement central heating system has been provided for Lincoln Court