5G telecoms mast approved on Thanet Road

Council officials have given the go-ahead for a replacement telecoms mast to be provided outside the Acorn Rugby Club on Thanet Road.

There have been problems with sight lines for vehicles exiting the car park as the equipment cabinets were originally placed too close to the road.

Hopes were that they might be moved a couple of metres to improve road safety. Instead Council officials have given the go-ahead for the scheme.

It appears from the papers on the website that local Councillors did not make any representations on the plan

The 20-meter high pole will be 5 metres taller than the existing pole. It will have one fewer cabinet.

Weed killer trial failing

The York Council decided some 6 months ago to trial the reduced use of weed killer in some parts of the City. Councillors volunteered their wards for the trial which involved 2 treatments of weed killer a year instead of three. In parts of Fisergare, no weed treatment would take place.

Some verges weren’t cut this year

Weeds are controlled by the Council on hartdsurfaceds including gutters and paths. The aim is to ensure that surfaces are safe to walk on and to avoid blockages to drains.

The trial idea arose out of a proposal to stop the use of weed killers altogether in the wake of concerns about the safety of glyphosate which was an active ingredient in many weed killers until recently.

Those who thought that labour would be available to strim vulnerable areas and improve sweeping standards were quickly disabused of their views as the Council found it impossible to recruit staff to even cut grass verges, many of which became badly overgrown.

Several cycle paths have also been obstructed this summer.

The Council is now discussing when to start the third weed spray. Councillors are being asked how well the trial has been going. Most have been underwhelmed.

One area that has fared poorly is Leeman Road. Gutters are choked with weeds while paved areas (which could have been adapted to accommodate wildflowers) are also blighted.

One Councillor has responded by saying, “Most of the associated actions aimed at reducing the need for spraying such as better physical cleaning of traffic islands, gullies etc continue to be ignored, huge areas of the city remain abandoned with weeds blowing in the wind to complete the cycle of stupidity.It’s pitiful”.

York celebrates A Level students’ success

City of York Council education leaders have praised the hard work and dedication of students across the city who have received their A Level results today (Thursday 18 August).

This year’s results have seen a return to formal examinations after the move to teacher-assessed grades during the Covid pandemic.

For anyone who didn’t get the results they were hoping for, support is available across the city, for people who may be seeking an apprenticeship or other employment opportunity or for those wanting to move into full-time education. Young people who are concerned that their personal circumstances may make accessing education, employment or training more difficult could also benefit from advice.

People can find support in York from:

  • Their school. Teaching staff will be able to support pupils with their next steps.
  • Careers Advisers employed by our schools
  • Admissions teams at York College and Askham Bryan College
  • National Careers Service – for local employment and training opportunities; or call the national help-line 0800 100 900
  • Council-led ‘York Apprenticeship Hub’ – find us on Facebook @ York Apprenticeships; email us at York.apprenticeships@york.gov.ukwww.york.gov.uk/yorkapprenticeships for local apprenticeship vacancies.
  • There are still around 50 opportunities in the city and many more in Leeds across a range of sectors and job roles and we can sign post you to agencies and training providers.

Information and advice is also available for school and college leavers at www.york.gov.uk/SchoolLeavers, which includes a handy ‘next steps’ factsheet for A Level or GCSE students, which explains many of the options available, including apprenticeships and further learning

Support is also available for anyone who is particularly worried about their results and next steps.

York mind offer services to young people at https://www.yorkmind.org.uk/ , email office@yorkmind.org.uk or call 01904 64336

For more general information for learners of all ages, visit www.york.gov.uk/LetsBeYorkSkills

Cllr Andrew Waller, City of York Council’s Executive Member for Children, Young People and Education said: “I’d like to offer my congratulations to everyone who has received their results today. I have seen the hard work and dedication put in by the young people, their families and teaching staff across the city, which have produced such fantastic results, especially against the backdrop of the disruption to schooling caused by the pandemic.

“I hope that these hard-earned qualifications will enable the young people to take the next stage on their skills development journey, whether that’s work, further or higher education, or other opportunities.

“I wish them the very best of luck on the next stage of their journey.”

Mixed news for cyclists in York

Obstructions cleared

Overgrowth has been cleared from the York – Selby cycle path near London Bridge. The path had become overgrown over the last few weeks and was reduced to a single file. The improvement followed the intervention of local Councillor Paula Widdowson..

There are hopes that there will be further improvements to this section of the track with work starting in the autumn

Cycle path now clear of obstructions

Active Travel England & York

Media announcement in January 2022.

There was much excitement earlier in the year when the government announced that “Active Travel England” (ATE) would be located in York. An immediate search for suitable premises was launched with the promise that the decision would bring around 100 jobs to the City.

Since then things have gone ominously quiet, even though – as we reported yesterday – there is plenty of vacant office space in the City.

Active Travel England has been actively recruiting with a £110,000 a year Chief Executive being appointed.

Government programme funding has also been allocated,

There are now rumours that Active Travel England will not be coming to York this summer.

Coronavirus York updates- 17th August 2022

Hospitals and deaths There has been one further death of a York resident over the last 7 days. It brings the cumulative toll up to 490. There are currently 68 COVID+ patients being treated by the York Hospital Trust. 2 are in the ICU. This is the lowest number since the middle of June.

Infection rates and case numbers The number of cases in the City has fallen to 167. The infection rate is 79.1. This is the lowest rate seen since 1st June 2022 (69.66). It is now slightly above the regional and national averages but well below the level seen last year (331.7).  77% of recent cases are first infections.

Neighbourhoods Only 6 neighbourhoods now have an infection rate above 100. The highest (172.4 = 10 cases) can be found in New Earswick. The lowest (30.7 = 3 cases) can be found in Heslington/Fulford. 

One neigbourhood, Poppleton/Rufforth/Askham, now has fewer than 3 cases. 

Vaccinations The government has announced this week that a new vaccine has been developed which protects against both the Delta and Omicron variants. It is likely to be administered as a booster jab at the same time as the autumn flu jab. This program may start as soon as the end of September.

Tests The proportion of PCR tests proving positive has fallen below 5% for the first time since the middle of June. 

Trends

So just how many people are now working in York Council’s West Offices?

West Offices

A row is brewing at the York Council as officials are refusing to reveal how many staff are still “working from home”. For much of the pandemic, many opted for the home working option with the Councils expensive new offices virtually mothballed. The open plan nature of the new offices caused concerns about virus transmission rates.

Working from home does have advantages for both staff and employers. More flexible working hours can be a boon for those with children while pressures on transport systems are also eased.

At a recent meeting, Council officials declined to say publicly how many spare desks there now are in West Offices.  

Several other organisations including the Citizens Advice Bureau, NHS, Public Health England, Network Rail, the Probation Service and North Yorkshire Police also occupy parts of the building

When the offices opened in 2013, the Council trumpeted its “one stop shop” service for residents. Available services included those dealing with Benefits, Council Tax, Business/training, Education/learning, Environment/waste,  Planning/building control, Housing &  Parking/concessionary travel. Many of these services are also now available “on line”

Some critics have claimed that the building is “half empty”. Even if that is an exaggeration, there is a need for some action not least because of spiralling energy costs.

The Council have already apparently been hawking redundant workstation spaces to other organisations including Great British Railways, the proposed North Yorkshire Mayor and other public services.

There is another point.

The most effective managers are those who regularly “walk the job”.  They need to be seen by staff and, critically, also by customers. The only way to do this effectively is by spending a lot of their time where services are delivered to the public.

The absence of this sort of commitment fosters a “jobsworth” attitude and customer care soon suffers.

For that reason alone, the authority needs to make clear which of its services are being managed and delivered remotely.

Council offering exam results “support”

With A Level results and Key Stage 4 results out over the next few days [18 August and 25 August, respectively], City of York Council is reminding young people across the city of the support available at this challenging time.

This year’s results are based on course work and examinations following changes to the grading system over the last two years due to the Covid pandemic.

Support is available for school leavers who are seeking an apprenticeship or employment opportunity, wanting to move into full time education in York or who are concerned about their personal circumstances acting as a barrier to accessing education, employment or training.

People can find support in York from:

  • Their school. Teaching staff will be able to support pupils with their next steps.
  • Careers Advisers employed by our schools
  • Admissions teams at York College and Askham Bryan College
  • National Careers Service – for local employment and training opportunities; or call the national help-line 0800 100 900
  • Council-led ‘York Apprenticeship Hub’ – find us on Facebook @ York Apprenticeships; email us at York.apprenticeships@york.gov.ukwww.york.gov.uk/yorkapprenticeships for local apprenticeship vacancies. There are still around 50 opportunities in the city and many more in Leeds across a range of sectors and job roles and we can sign post you to agencies and training providers.

More information, including a handy ‘next steps’ factsheet for A Level or GCSE students, which explains many of the options available, including apprenticeships and further learning is available at http://www.york.gov.uk/SchoolLeavers

Support is also available for anyone who is particularly worried about their results and next steps.

York mind offer services to young people at https://www.yorkmind.org.uk/ , email office@yorkmind.org.uk or call 01904 643364

For young people who prefer online messaging there is  Kooth.com

Kooth is a free, online counselling and emotional wellbeing platform for young people aged 11 to 18 (you can use Kooth until you turn 19 yrs old).

The Kooth website allows young people to gain anonymous access to advice, support and guidance on any issue that is affecting their wellbeing. From friendship or relationship issues, family disagreements or difficult home lives, to concerns around eating, anxiety, stress, depression, self harm, suicidal thoughts etc.

Their qualified counsellors can give young people the support they need, when they need it. Kooth.com’s live chat service is available from Monday to Friday 12 noon – 10pm, Saturdays and Sundays 6pm – 10pm and is accessible through mobile, tablet and desktop. completely free of charge.

Councillor Andrew Waller, the council’s Executive Member for Children, Young People and Education, said: “I know that it’s a nervous time for many young people and their families and results days can be a daunting experience for students of all ages.

“The important thing to remember is that support and advice is available, whatever your results. If you want to change your plans, did better or worse than you’d hoped, there are several services across the city which can help you take your next steps.”

More information for parents and students is available at www.york.gov.uk/SchoolLeavers