Council blames the “complexity” of the selected design for the
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.
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 whatpromised features in the building may now be omitted.
The meeting to consider the budget increase is taking place on 18th June.
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.
Residents warned the York Council that local roads in the Ascot Way/Kingsway West area were too narrow to accommodate heavy construction traffic.
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.
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.
A £4.7 million contract was awardedin 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 admittedthat 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
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 byclicking here
Contractors removing hedge from school playing field boundary
Hedge to side of Windsor House has already been removed
Notwithstanding the fact that the York Council still has anplanning application outstandingfor 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.
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