Oliver House – £30,000 taxpayers bill for property empty for 18 months

It has become clear why the Council’s leadership were so reluctant to answer questions about the future of the former elderly person’s home at Oliver House in Bishophill at the last council meeting.

Oliver House York

A Freedom of Information response has revealed that the building is costing taxpayers nearly £2000 a month to keep empty.

The building has been unused since April 2012.

The only “occupants” are a firm called “ad hoc property management” who – in return for access – offer a “free” security service.

No rent or other income has been received for the property.

Discussions with the York CVS, which might have led to the building being sold to them, started in May 2012. They stalled several months ago.

The value of the prime site has been put at over £1 million with offers having apparently already been made, to the Council, by housing developers.

The Council has spent £30,000 over the last 18 months paying rates and on maintaining the empty property.

There are currently over 4500 people on the waiting list for social accommodation in the City. Many of these require single person accommodation

NB. The Guildhall has also now been empty for 8 months and is costing Council taxpayers around £160,000 a year in maintenance, rates and other costs.

York Council footpath investment down by 40%

New figures reveal that investment, in keeping York’s footpaths in a safe condition, has fallen by 41% over he last 5 years

Expenditure on repairs peaked at £1.8 million in 2009 when the Council was under Liberal Democrat Leadership.

Neglected roads and paths in Kingsway West reported on Saturday

Neglected roads and paths in Kingsway West reported on Saturday

This year only £1 million will be spent. The detailed figures – revealed in response to a Freedom of Information request – are:

• 2009/10 – £1,794k

• 2010/11 – £1,784k

• 2011/12 – £1,667k

• 2012/13 – £1,160k

• 2013/14 – £1,050k

The Council received 48 claims for compensation last year from people who had fallen on badly maintained footpaths. £6,750 was paid out in compensation

The number of complaints about pavements doubled in 2012/13 to 554 from a level of 258 two years earlier.

The Council admits that 5% of its footpaths require resurfacing.

Each year the Council resurfaces less than 1% of the total mileage of footpaths in the City.

The most complained about footpaths are Front Street in Acomb and Coney Street.

NB. The Council are currently spending £500,000 relaying flags in Kings Square. despite the area being in a generally good condition

First announce new bus fares

From Sunday 29 September the following fares will apply on First buses in York:

• • York FirstWeek reduced to £12.00 (from £16) – a 25% cut and a saving of £4

• • York FirstMonth reduced to £44 (from £53) – a saving of £9 and now monthly (rather than for four weeks)

• • York FirstAnnual reduced to £440 (from £583) – a saving of £143

• • A new minimum single fare of £1 – meaning all York customers have access to a £1 single fare to somewhere in York

• • York FirstDay prices frozen (£3.70)

old bus

First say, “In the summer we talked extensively to our customers and partners in York and have listened to what they have said to us. Value for money was one of the major points raised and with this range of lower and more attractive fares we are giving both new and existing customers the chance to save money when they use First buses on a regular basis.

For those customers who plan ahead there are a range of savings to be made on our week, month and annual tickets. We have also looked at our single ticket structure and have offered some new cheaper fares from just £1 and will publish widely for the first time our simplified single fares structure to encourage new bus users to try the bus.

Our key message, and it came out of the public consultation, is that we should be fair. Some singles are going up but the increases are capped at 20p, while some singles are being reduced by as much as 70p. When people do have increases on singles many will still have an opportunity to pay less by buying a different type of ticket”.

Labour Council targets “noisy” students

Ahead of the autumn festivals and to help students settle into the new academic year, City of York Council has said that it will be running additional ‘noise patrols’ this autumn and issuing waste disposal reminders.

Noisy students

The council’s environmental protection unit will be carrying out extra noise patrols at the start of the new academic year, and around Hallowe’en and Bonfire Night at the end of October and early November.

As part of their welcome to the city (!) – which includes advice on waste disposal – noise patrol officers called out to investigate reports of noise will be helping establish acceptable noise levels.

These patrols will run during Fresher’s Weeks: 16-19 September for York St John University and 29 September-3 October for the University of York, plus on Sunday 6 October. On each night the Noise Patrol will operate from 10pm to 1am in addition to its regular hours of 9pm to 3am on Friday and Saturday nights.

The noise patrols will also operate over these same hours on Halloween on 31 October and on Bonfire Night on 5 November.


York Council call centre customers face 20 minute wait

Figures for August released today by the Council will confirm many residents experiences.

The time being taken by the Council to answer telephone calls is ridiculously high.

West Offices

In some cases, residents have had to wait for 20 minutes for their call to be answered.

Many Councils routinely publish on their web site quality of service stats covering basic services such as the time taken to deal with issues. The York Council fails to do so.

In response to a Freedom of Information request, the Council has now admitted that the maximum time that telephone callers had to wait, during the week commencing 5th August, was:

Between 8:00am and 9:00am 3:52 mins (maximum waiting time for call to be answered)

9am-10am 11:30 mins

10am-11am 09:22 mins

11am-12am 08:34 mins

12am -1pm 12:32 mins

1pm -2 pm 11:56 mins

2 pm-3pm 20:22 mins

3pm -4pm 10:27 mins

4pm -5 pm 10:03 mins

5pm -5:30pm 16:21 mins

The failures have prompted calls for the switchboard to remain open for an additional hour to deal with the backlog.

It is likely that many callers will have abandoned their attempts to get through.

The figures suggest that the quality of service being provided by he Council has declined since it moved into its new “state of the art” West Office building

Council admit error and apologise for failure to collect medical waste

The Council have admitted that they should have collected the medical waste put outside a property in the Holgate area last week.

They say that their records have now been updated.

They have also apologised for the delays in answering calls to the Councils switchboard.

We understand that they are experiencing unprecedented levels of complaints mostly arising out of the waste collection shambles.

Dlevene twitter 17th Sept 2013

Meanwhile Councillor Levene, who is responsible for waste collection, has “tweeted” to York Liberal Democrats claiming that the non collection of recycling on Chapelfields Road yesterday was “explained on the Council web site”.

In reality neither neither Chapelfields Road nor recycling is mentioned on the web site.

In a separate development, some residents trying to use the “report it on line” system to report a missed bin have not been able to do so. It appears that the database has not been updated for the new collection rounds.

This rather suggests that management simply don’t know what is happening on York’s waste collection rounds?

Both the Chief Executive and the Leader of the Council are understood to have in Belgium when the crisis peaked at the beginning of the week.

House sales in York picking up

There has been an increase in the number of properties sold in York over the last quarter.

In west York, a 1 bedroomed terraced property in Invicta Court sold for £103,000. A 2 bed semi in St Stephens Square fetched £116,000 while a 3 bedroomed semi in Thoresby Road went for £125,000. In Coeside £217,500 bought a 3 bedroomed detached.

Homes currently for sale include:

2 Bedroomed flat Helena Mews £110,000 click for more details

2 Bedroomed flat Helena Mews £110,000 click for more details

1 bed flats in Vyner House priced from £95,000

2 bed flat on St Stephens Square at £65,000

2 bed flat on Foxwood Lane for £110,000

2 Bed semi in Minter Close for £144,000

3 Bed house on Kingsway West for £135,000

• Those with a very large family might be interested in a £395,000 6/7 bedroomed property in Thanet Road

While at the other end of the price range a new 5 bedroomed property in Dalton Terrace will set you back £595,000

The cheapest property that we could find in York is a 1 Bedroomed flat in Buckingham Street currently advertised for £55,000

To Rent

Baker Street 3 bedroomed house £625 PCM click for more details

Baker Street 3 bedroomed house £625 PCM click for more details

2 bed terrace in Hanover Street is advertised at £575 pcm

3 bed in Baker Street is advertised at £625 PCM

4 Bed in Danebury Drive is advertised at £695

The cheapest (private sector) property available to rent in York at present is a 1 bedroomed end terrace in Eccles Close Rawcliffe available at £300 per month.

York archive modernisation project enters next phase

A £1.77 million transformation of the city’s Archive has moved a step closer. An invitation to tender to create new public spaces and build a state-of-the-art store at York Explore Library Learning Centre has now been issued.


Six builders have been shortlisted to date following a pre-qualification competition. The contractors have until 27 September to submit their bids to City of York Council for evaluation. The successful firm will start work at the library in late November this year.

The scheme is part of the Gateway to History project, made possible by a £1.6 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The first floor of the Grade II listed library will be refurbished to provide dedicated spaces for the Archives and Local and Family History. A climate-controlled extension will be built to house the city’s unique records.