York Council reform – Greens face up to the issue

Green party Councillors in York are proposing that the decision making processes of the York Council are changed.

According to a report in The Press they favour holding a referendum – to coincide with next years local elections – which will decide whether to adopt a more inclusive committee based way of taking decisions.

York Press 1/7/22

The call has already received the backing of other Councillors including Independent Mark Warters

The modern committee system was adopted by the Sheffield Council following a similar referendum held 14 months ago.

The initiative to move to the new system was expected to come from the Liberal Democrat leadership who included the plan in their 2019 election manifesto. However, the Council Leader has consistently declined to make his position clear with a deafening silence greeting any enquiries about progress on fulfilling the manifesto pledge.

Internal Council private meeting records, dating back 8 years, have recently been circulating which show that then opposition Councillors – including Keith Aspden and Andy D’agorne- supported the adoption of a more consensual decision making system.

Voting patterns on the Green proposal may give some indication why reform has been delayed.

All parties will shortly be beginning the process to select candidates for the 2023 elections.

New candidates may be required to give unequivocal support for a more inclusive system.

They may also be asked to oppose the planned introduction of a North Yorkshire Mayor – a post which could further erode local democracy.

Liberal Democrat Councillors in York called for a return to a committee based decision making process as long ago as March 2015

North Yorkshire Police launch #NYPThinkOfTheConsequences

North Yorkshire Police has launched a hard-hitting video campaign this summer to encourage young people to think of the consequences before abusing alcohol.

The video which is titled #NYPThinkOfTheConsquences was commissioned following instances of alcohol fuelled anti-social behaviour in open spaces within York during the summer months. It will be shown to all secondary school children within the City of York ahead of the summer break and posted externally on NYP social media channels.

York College drama students are used as actors in a scenario which involves a visit to a park. The students consume alcohol which impacts on their decision making and results in five consequences which involve the emergency services and family members. Viewers of the video are then asked, “Is it worth it?” and the video concludes with the message of #NYPThinkOfTheConsequences.

Police hope the video will highlight the risks associated with alcohol and help educate young people about the impairment on their decision making following the consumption of alcohol and the devastating consequences that this can bring.

The commander for York and Selby, Superintendent Mark Khan from North Yorkshire Police said:

“Alcohol related anti-social behaviour is time consuming for us to deal with so anything which we can do to reduce the calls to service is beneficial.

“We are not unique in York and North Yorkshire experiencing problems with anti-social behaviour particularly as the weather improves and students finish for their summer break. We will continue to work with our partners to patrol hotpot areas at key times.

“It’s our job as the police to engage with communities to prevent crime. My hope is that this video will be shared far and wide so they key messages will reach as many young people as possible.”

York College’s Chief Executive and Principal, Lee Probert said: “To be involved in this video has been an incredible opportunity for our Media Makeup degree students and our Level Three acting students.

“To be part of such a professional production is an amazing experience for them, especially working with North Yorkshire Police.

“The video also delivers a serious and important message and it’s one we very much support here at York College; anti-social behaviour is not only a nuisance, but in the most serious cases can have major consequences on the lives of those involved.

“York College is very proud to be a part of this campaign”.

NB. ITV Calendar have been filming today in Foxwood as part of the new anti drink campaign

Good growing weather is mixed news for City

The recent rain means that grass, weeds and hedges are now growing rapidly. Some footpaths have already been overgrown blocking the route for pedestrians.

On Foxwood Lane nettles now obstructed a public footpath. In the past the margin was treated with weed killer but this hasn’t happened this year. The farmer who tends the adjacent field – from which some of the overgrowth originates – has in the past trimmed back the nettles but this hasn’t happened this year.

Similarly some grassed areas adjacent to blocks of flats haven’t been cut by the Council. The Council blames labour shortages for their woes.

Elsewhere a metre wide strip has been cut adjacent to the Rufforth – Knapton cycle path to facilitate safe access. However, hedge branches are still obstructing parts of the track. We have said for a long time that routes which form part of the York cycle network should be inspected regularly with basic maintenance work then commissioned to ensure that they remain safe for users.

Elsewhere, Highways Yorkshire have confirmed that they are currently inspection the York – Tadcaster cycle track next to the golf club with a view to trimming back obstructions.

Transport planning in York

York Press 21/6/22

The headlines in today’s local paper suggest that the York Council is delaying a decision on its long term transport strategy until after the local elections, which are scheduled to take place next May

With the present plan covering the period up to 2030, the Council can afford to take its time. It needs to monitor how lifestyles change in the wake of the pandemic, BREXIT, international instability and industrial unrest.

We don’t yet know how the government intends to make u pits shortfall in fuel duty income as electric vehicle start to dominate the roads. If – as is widely expected – some sort of road pricing scheme is introduced, the technology deployed could also be used to vary charges to encourage off peak use of our transport infrastructure.

It is important that the different political parties offer clear choices in their local election manifestos next year. It is true that many recent transport investments in the City (including some really quite odd cycle network priorities) appear to have been driven by lobby groups,

it is vital that computer modeling data is used to support objective decision making. .

In the meantime the Council should concentrate on getting the basics right.

People aren’t going to opt to use two wheeled transport if routes are blocked by overgrowth or if cycle parking is inadequate.

Both issues can be addressed relatively cheaply.

Path obstructed. This one is in the Rawcliffe neighbourhood

York celebrates Armed Forces Week

City of York Council is joining partners across the city and the UK, to celebrate and recognise the contribution of our Armed Forces this week (20-26 June).

The week culminates with National Armed Forces Day, on Saturday 25 June,  giving individuals and organisations the opportunity to celebrate the work of our Armed Forces, veterans and reservists, and the sacrifices they and their families make for the country.

Organisations across York will be showing their support for Armed Forces personnel once again this year, offering discounts either on Armed Forces Day, or for the week 20-26 June. Many businesses and attractions offer discounts to serving personnel throughout the year.

The national Armed Forces Day flag will also be flown above York’s iconic Mansion House throughout the week as part of the city’s celebrations.

City of York Council is committed to working across the city to support its armed forces community, setting out its support through the Armed Forces Covenant. It focuses on helping members of the Armed Forces community have the same access to government and commercial services and products as any other citizen, with regular events including a programme of Veterans’ Breakfast Clubs at

  • The Dick Turpin, Woodthorpe – First Saturday in each month from 10am to 12pm
  • The Toby Carvery, Hopgrove – Second Saturday of each month from 10am to 12pm
  • The Plough Inn, Fulford – Last Saturday of each month, from 10am to 12pm

A weekly Armed Forces Drop Centre at the Spurriergate Centre (YO1 9QR) also provides social and welfare support for members of the armed forces community in York.

The council publishes an Armed Forces Community Information and Directory of Support, which provides serving armed forces personnel, their families, reservists and veterans, with the details of help and support available from a wide range of organisations locally and nationally.

Cllr Keith Aspden, Armed Forces Champion and Leader of City of York Council, said:

York is proud of its military history and of our armed forces personnel, veterans and reservists. Through the Armed Forces Covenant, we continue to honour our commitment to improve services; offering employment and education, health and housing, and support and advice to serving members of the forces, veterans and their families.

“Armed Forces Day gives us all an opportunity to recognise and reflect on the sacrifice that they and their families make on our behalf and to say a heartfelt ‘thank you’ for the work that they do. “

Further information about Armed Forces Week offers, regular events and a copy of the directory is available online at www.livewellyork.co.uk/information-and-advice/health-and-wellbeing/armed-forces-community/

For further information on the Armed Forces Covenant is available at www.york.gov.uk/armedforcescovenant

At Last! Monk Cross vehicle charging hub opens today

12 months behind schedule and still no satisfactory explanation for the delay

No news on opening date for the Poppleton Bar “hyper hub” or recharging costs

The Councils media release reads:

  • Monks Cross HyperHub is one of the largest charging hubs in Northern England
  • Four 175kW ultra-rapid chargers, four 50kW rapid chargers, with an adjacent area having 30 7kW chargepoints
  • Solar canopy allows site to generate renewable energy which can be stored in batteries at both Monks Cross and Poppleton
Two customers who have been queuing for some time at Monks Cross

York’s new electric vehicle HyperHub at Monks Cross is open from today [15 June]. For a limited time, the new site won’t be charging for electricity in a bid to test the new technology and encourage residents and visitors to visit the new site.

The Monks Cross HyperHub is located next to Park and Ride site and will be one of the largest charging hubs in Northern England. Poppleton HyperHub is set to open this summer.

Both HyperHub sites will contain 4 Ultra-Rapid (150kW) and 4 Rapid (50kW) vehicle chargers, helping to support the uptake of modern EV’s that have larger battery capacities and are capable of Ultra Rapid charging.

Monks Cross features four 175kW ultra-rapid chargers (which can be upgraded to 350kW when vehicle charging rates make that worthwhile), four 50kW rapid chargers, with an adjacent area having thirty 7kW chargers for Park and Ride users.

The HyperHub also has a solar canopy which allows the site to generate its own renewable energy which can be stored in the Tesla Powerpack batteries at the charging hub, helping to reinforce the grid.

The ultra-rapid and rapid chargers are user-friendly for EV drivers and offer contactless payment methods. Cars and vans can access the chargers, and the facility has been designed with no kerbs to allow disabled access. Protection from the weather is provided by the solar canopy and all of the electricity supplied from the National Grid will be generated by renewable sources.

A key element behind the development of the HyperHubs was the production of an Electric Vehicle Charging Strategy by the council. This looked at a wide range of issues in order to ensure that the HyperHubs met the needs of residents, fleets, commuters and through traffic. The convenient location of the charging hubs was a central part of the strategy, with the first two HyperHub sites being located off the ring road next to established Park and Ride sites.

The Electric Vehicle Charging Strategy also identified that it wasn’t yet commercially viable for the private sector to develop such charging hubs, so the council would own its charging network in order to guarantee the best results for residents. This allows the council to plan how the network will grow and to set tariffs, as well as making it directly accountable and enabling it to deliver next generation chargers as quickly as possible.

The funding for the HyperHubs is also unique, with City of York Council successfully securing £1 million of European Regional Development Funding and £800,000 from the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles, along with £400,000 of the council’s own capital funding to install the first two HyperHubs. This has resulted in 80% of the £2.2 million project being externally funded.

For more information about the HyperHubs visit https://www.york.gov.uk/hyperhubs

There was a slight delay to the originally planned completion date of Monks Cross due to finalising commercial and contractual arrangements. There is no additional cost as a result of this delay. (!)

The unique project is the result of a partnership between City of York Council and EvoEnergy.

Hob Moor eco system under threat

York Council was warned, but they didn’t listen.

Click to read the warning issued last September

The York Councils decision to remove part of the barriers that protect Hob Moor have backfired.

According to a local Councillor, the cattle which graze in the moor during the summer have been removed following a series of “escapes” over the last few weeks.

The beasts have found a way round the cattle grids and are now using the cycle by pass as an escape route.

As a result the cattle have now been removed.

Hopefully the plinths can quickly be reinstated and the cattle returned to their traditional grazing grounds .

There are disabled access gates available for use by wheelchairs and tricycle users.

Grazing forms an essential part of the eco system on the moor.

Normally around 70 cattle are grazed on the moor – a tradition which goes back centuries.

The impulsive decision to remove the barriers was, it is understood, taken by a newly appointed Council official who was, no doubt, keen to impress his new employers with what he, no doubt saw, as decisive action. It followed several months of representations from a small cycling group in the City who essentially want to see all impediments to biking removed.

The action has put at risk the very reason why many people want to visit the moor.

Add in the original concerns about access to bird nesting grounds by off road motorcyclists and scooter riders, and you have a perfect example of the law of unintended consequences.

Fortunately there has not yet been a repeat of the issues which affected those living in the Windsor Garth area who =- over 20 years ago – had to suffer the noise from off roaders – sometimes until quite late into the night

The lesson for the Council is that, in future, they should consult properly on transport proposals and then make an informed decision at a properly convened public meeting.

Ill informed, impulsive decision making has to stop.

Thank you to all the volunteers in York!

It’s Volunteer’s Week 2022 and City of York Council joins with other organisations to thank every single volunteer in the city for all they give to their community.

The council is calling on residents and businesses to thank the volunteers who supported the city through the pandemic and who continue to support us all. Thousands of people volunteered to support York at that time, making an invaluable contribution. Thousands continue to volunteer with a host of organisations in the community, private and private sectors, as well as individually.

The council works with hundreds of volunteers giving their time, energy and talents to an enormous breadth of tasks. These range from supporting refugees, to supporting organisations like York Pride, to being school governors, to helping run clubs or helping keep our city’s parks looking lovely. In addition, volunteer partners such as York CVS and York Cares, make and enormous contribution.

“Anyone can send ‘Big Thanks’ to a volunteer with a postcode in the York area, who has helped them or someone they know. Please submit your thanks at http://www.york.gov.uk/BigThanks.”

Tadcaster Road – more changes to layout proposed affecting cyclists, pedestrians and parking

The York Council is proposing further design changes on Tadcaster Road.

The following has appeared on a “combined authority” website (click)

Following the consultation that took place between August and September 2021, we have reviewed the feedback and we have carried out further design work. We are proposing some further changes in the vicinity of Slingsby Grove shops.
These include:
* reducing the existing number of parking spaces by two (one on either side of Tadcaster Road, north of Slingsby Grove), leaving a total of nine spaces (five on the Slingsby Grove side and four on the racecourse side).
* a new location for the pedestrian crossing, which you can view in the drawing here (opens in a new tab). This is to provide a safe place for people who park in the southbound layby, and for residents who live in the Hunters Way estate, to get to the shops, bus stop and beyond
*a stepped cycle track between The Horseshoe and Slingsby Grove (please see attached drawing here and a cross section here). The cycle way would be higher than the road but lower than the footway, and is divided by a kerb, providing some protection for people cycling from motorised traffic
*new cycle lane bollards at strategic locations along the route. These highly visible plastic bollards will clearly indicate the cycle lane, to help provide additional protection to people cycling from motorised traffic (please see attached drawing here). The cycle lanes will also be surfaced green, across the mouth of side roads, to highlight their presence to other road users
Local residents are being contacted about these further proposals via a letter – a copy of which can be found here.
We encourage anyone who lives, parks or shops in this area to look at the designs and get back to us with any feedback.
If you have any feedback on these proposals, you now have the opportunity to let us know by Monday 27 June 2022.
You can get in touch via phone on 01904 555 557 or email on tadcasterroad@york.gov.uk(External link)

To view the outcome report of the consultation that was carried out in August / September 2021, please click here.