Security and noise issues at Lowfields building site

Residents have been complaining about noisy plant on the Lowfields building site on Saturdays.

The site was quiet today (Sunday) but the access gate to the building compound was off its hinges – representing a possible security risk.

The building work on the playing field side of the site is proceeding quickly. No doubt the developers are hoping to sell all the homes before the mortgage crisis reduces the number of potential purchasers.

Less quick progress at the other end of the site with no work yet on either of the plots reserved for elderly care or “communal ownership”.

Both projects are now over 3 years behind schedule.

York City centre access improvements – major changes from today

Several changes are being introduced this month.

The York Council says that listening to feedback from disabled residents and local businesses – particularly those who have pavement cafe licences, has been an important consideration in these changes.

In a bid to further drive work forward on improving access across the city, work has been underway since the pandemic on developing the City Centre Access – Action Plan, with a number of actions being progressed from October.

This includes access specialists, MIMA, being appointed by the council to lead on a number of actions including the pavement café guidance review. An update report on this is proposed to be taken to an Executive meeting in November.

The specialists will also lead on reviewing seating and resting places in the city centre and preferred car parking and access routes to the city centre for disabled users as per the city centre access action plan.

Other measures include a trial, which will also start in October, to introduce temporary accessible kerb ramps, within the furniture which can be licensed as part of a pavement café area, where these are required in the city centre.

The use of the temporary ramps will then be considered through the pavement café guidance review .

In addition to this, the council has identified the need for additional dropped kerbs to be installed in locations across the city centre, including Fossgate and Low Petergate, from October. Footway improvement schemes are also set to take place on Lendal, Blake Street and Stonegate early next year, which includes installing dropped kerbs and resurfacing.

Cllr Ashley Mason, Executive Member for Economy and Strategic Planning, said:

“We remain committed to the long-term vision of the city centre, with outdoor cafe culture playing a part in the success of our economy, but the current city centre infrastructure is not yet ready for this vision to become a reality.

“There’s more work to be done to support the promotion of a safe, thriving and accessible city centre. I look forward to discussing the best ways to get on with this work for the benefit of businesses, residents and visitors.”

Old Fossgate
  • Also, from today (1 October), the council will be reverting its foot street hours to the pre-covid operation times of 10.30am to 5pm.  However, as per every year, the footstreets will be open until 8pm for the Christmas Market, which takes place from 17 November until 23 December.
  • Access restrictions in Fossgate will also revert to pre-covid times, restricting motorised vehicle access into the street between 8am and 6pm.
  • Loading restrictions on Castlegate will also be lifted to enable Blue Badge holders to park on double yellow lines for up to three hours, as was permitted before covid.
  • The temporary platforms which were constructed in Castlegate to enable hospitality venues to operate during the covid pandemic are being removed.

View a map of footstreets locations in York’s city centre here 

The return to 5pm in the footstreets follows the decision, made by the council’s Executive in July 2022, to postpone a statutory consultation to permanently extend footstreet hours to 7pm.

The decision to postpone this consultation aims to provide the opportunity to experience pavement cafes under a revised licensing guidance, wait for more clarity from the Government on the long-term legislative framework for pavement cafes, and make further progress with the delivery of the City Centre Access – Action Plan.

The decision to reinstate Blue Badge access and parking on Castlegate was taken by the Executive in November 2021.

An update on the City Centre Access – Action Plan, was taken to Executive in July. To read the report or find out more about the meeting, visit: here

Haxby Station – Councillors to receive progress update

Senior councillors will receive an update on progress to bring a railway station back to Haxby for the first time in nearly a century.

The next steps in the Haxby Station project, including the submission of a planning application, will be discussed at a meeting next week, on 6th October.

The controversial scheme is set to cost over £16.3 million, some of which is being taken from highways budgets, which otherwise could have been used to repair roads and footpaths. The Council’s record on cost control on major projects is mixed so the station scheme – which is scheduled to be completed in 2024 – is likely to prompt close scrutiny.

The latest Council report offers no more information on projected passenger numbers or any knock-on impact on local bus or park and ride services.

The report confirms that government funding for their share of the costs of the scheme has not yet been confirmed, so any expenditure incurred by the Council in the interim may be abortive. Around £4 million of Council taxpayer’s money could be at risk.

The government, over the last couple of days. has said that central departments must begin the process of identifying expenditure cuts.

A Council media release says “The progress made on the project in recent months includes the completion of a resident consultation, securing of an additional £1.1 million funding from government and the submission of a Levelling Up Fund bid to increase sustainable travel options around the station.

Councillors will also be updated on the results of the resident consultation carried out over the summer, which saw 1,200 responses, with 81% of respondents supporting a station and 83% saying they would use it. Residents also provided a list of concerns, questions and general comments on the scheme which will help to shape designs as the project progresses.

The Executive meeting will ask councillors to note the progress and agree to progress a planning application for the new station, instructing that officers carry out procurements for the design and construction of the highways parts of the project”.

More plastic and other items to be collected for recycling from 17th October in York

Plans to expand the range of materials collected at the kerbside across the city this October are set to be approved by councillors next week.

If the plans are approved, residents will be able to recycle more items at the kerbside, including:

  • foil
  • more plastic bottles (e.g. fruit shoot bottles)
  • cleaning product bottles with lids/trigger spray nozzles
  • plastic yoghurt pots
  • margarine tubs
  • light-coloured and clear plastic food trays

All our recycling is processed first in Yorkshire, then the UK and finally Europe – zero processing of our recycling takes place outside of Europe.

The changes are set to come into place on the week commencing Monday 17 October.

Cllr Paula Widdowson, Executive Member for the Environment and Climate Changes said:

“I am pleased that we are progressing with plans that will make it easier for residents to recycle even more. This is just the latest step in our work to expand and improve recycling and waste services across York.

“We know residents are doing a fantastic job of recycling in York, with around 43 per cent of all waste being either reused, recycled or composted. The addition of foil and more plastics to kerbside collections will help us further boost our recycling rates and continue our work to make York greener and cleaner.

“Please make sure to check the latest info on the expanded range of items that can be presented and accepted in your kerbside recycling boxes.”

The changes will be communicated to residents through the council’s website, and more information about recyclable items and waste services can be found here: www.york.gov.uk/recycling

A report proposing the changes will be taken to the Executive Member Decision Session on 5 October at 3.00pm.

NB. The report confirms that, at present, the Council is not planning to purchase any additional electric-powered waste vehicles.

Coronavirus York updates: 29th September 2022

Hospitals and deaths There has been one further death during the last week. This brings the cumulative toll among York residents up to 501. There are currently 104 COVID+ patients being cared for by the York Hospital Trust. Two are in the ICU.

Cases and infection rates The number of cases in the City has increased to 187. The infection rate has risen to 88.62. It is expected to top 100 for the first time since July when next week’s figures are confirmed. 76% are first infections The rate remains below that seen in both October 2020 & October 2021.  Case numbers are also increasing at both regional and national levels. The infection rate is however increasing more quickly in York. Infection rates are increasing most rapidly in the over 60 age group. 

Neighbourhoods Large increase in case numbers in Dunnington/Elvington/Wheldrake. The infection rate there is now above average at 284.5. This has happened before and was put down then to an outbreak within a local school. Lowest infection rates can now be found in Clifton North & Heworth South/Stockton 

Vaccinations. 15,474 (19.2% of those eligible) autumn booster vaccinations have now been completed 

Tests The percentage of positive results found during PCR tests has been showing a small fall recently and currently stands at 4.4%.

Trends

Get official public notices sent to your inbox

An interesting new way of keeping in touch with what is going on in your area has been launched today.

For some years, what are termed “public notices”, have been published by the commercial media. The notices are mostly generated by local authorities.

In truth, they were often hard to find and involved purchasing a newspaper.

The information is now available – via the Yorkshire Post website – online. Information can be tailored to the local neighbourhood.

You simply key in your post code and details of highways, licensing and other notices are displayed on a map.

Click here to test it out

Free help for teenagers to quit vaping

A rise in teenagers vaping and smoking in York is being tackled head on by City of York Council, which is launching a new campaign to offer free support.

Targeted at York secondary schools and sixth forms students, which includes young people aged 12 to 17., the campaign takes place for 3 months, starting in October, during the national stop smoking campaign Stoptober.

A recent NHS Digital national campaign (NHS Digital) surveyed around 10,000 school pupils aged 11 to 15 years of age, which showed a decrease in numbers of school children taking drugs and smoking cigarettes. However, there was a rise in vaping, with 9% of 11 to 15 year olds currently using e-cigarettes.

Closer to home, the council surveyed 4,267 children and young people from across 37 schools, as part of its York Schools Survey (Health York – York School Report.pdf). This survey happened between October 2021 and January 2022.

The results represented 63% of all children and young people in the selected year groups.

Of those surveyed:

  • 19% of secondary and sixth form pupils had used an e-cigarette and 10% had used conventional cigarettes
  • 26% of year 12 pupils have tried or used cigarettes
  • 52% of year 12 pupils do not know where to get help to stop smoking
  • 12% of pupils said they wanted help to stop smoking, this rises significantly to 44% in year 12

Cllr Carol Runciman, Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care at City of York Council, said:

Wheelchair access ramps to be a condition for street cafes in York

Their has have been some bad publicity for the City recently following instances when wheelchair users have found their way blocked by pavement cafes.

Some have found it difficult to move from the footpath onto the adjacent carriageway because of the absence of dropped kerbs.

All temporary pavement café licences expire automatically on Friday. They were introduced in response to pandemic restrictions,

Owners will have to apply for a new license if they wish to occupy the public highway – which includes the footpath – in the period up to the end of December 2022. After that new regulations will come into force.

The Council has now decided that a condition applied to any new licenses will be that cafe owners will have to install appropriate temporary ramps to allow free movement for wheelchair users.

Type of temporary ramp which may be used in York

Where such a ramp is included in a pavement café licence, the licence holder will be required to install the ramp according to manufacturer’s instructions at the start of the licensed period, check the ramp regularly during the day, and remove the ramp at the end of the licensed period.

The ramps will be compliant with the requirements set out in Inclusive Mobility regulations

During the trial period, the ramps and cones will be provided by City of York
Council free of charge although the licence holder will be asked to replace any missing or damaged ramps or cones at their own cost.

The use of the temporary ramps will then be reviewed through the consultation on the proposed ‘City of York Guidance and Conditions for Pavement Cafes’.

Ramps will need to be installed within the pavement café area (adjacent to the licensed premises) unless the licence holder has obtained permission from the neighbouring landowners to place the ramp in front of their premises.

Footpath obstructions information request – still no reply after over 2 months

Last year cycling campaigners asked for the path over the river Ouse on the A1237 near Poppleton to be widened to encourage more cyclists.

The request was eventually turned down with the York Council claiming that the bridge was structurally unable to accommodate the change.

The focus then turned to the existing – quite narrow – path which is shared by both cyclists and pedestrians. It was pointed out that both over and under-growth reduced the path, in places, to a single file. There was a quick win available if the Council moved quickly cut back the vegetation.

In July the Council said that it wouldn’t do so immediately, but that the work would be done as part of its routine maintenance programmes.

We’ve heard that one before! Cyclical maintenance regimes are a thing of the past, so we submitted a Freedom of Information request which asked where residents could view these maintenance schedules. Armed with that information taxpayers would at least know when to expect the maintenance teams to arrive.

But no reply has been received despite that request being well beyond the legal date by which a response should have been sent.

Meanwhile, the position of pedestrians and cyclists using the bridge has not improved. There is still a lot of overgrowth.

In addition, the access path surfaces are beginning to subside with several potentially hazardous cracks having appeared on the section near the Park and Ride site