Work starts on improvements to Hob Moor cattle grids
A footpath at the top of Foxwood Lane has become so overgrown that access for wheelchair users is effectively now blocked. Nettles and thistles had in recent years been cut by a farmer, but this year there has been no control. The Council has apparently taken the margin off its weedkilling programme so the only hope is that local volunteers will help to clear a route for users
Elsewhere “Mares Tail” weeds are beginning to impede access to one of the snickets off The Reeves. It is a problem that occurred last year but the Council were slow to apply the specialist weed killer needed to control this type of weed.
Nettles are also the main problem on the cycle/foot path link which is located between Hob Stones and Windsor Garth. Again it is a problem which also occurred last year.
Possibly better news on the adjacent Hob Moor. Cattle – which are an important part of the eco system there – were taken off the area a few weeks ago as they were escaping though the modified cycle barriers. Work has started today on providing longer cattle grids in an attempt to secure the moor for grazing.
The York Council has published a long list of grants which are being made under its ward committee system. Although the system has involved public consultation in the past – to help decide priorities – this hasn’t happened in recent years. The grants (approved by local Councillors) include-
The awards include a £8767 contribution towards “The Island” to enable them to run a youth club at the Foxwood Community centre on Tuesday evenings. The award document says the award is for “Starting an open access youth club for young people aged 13-18 at Foxwood Community Centre, beginning on Tuesday 28th June. The youth club will run every Tuesday 7-9pm and will be facilitated by Youth Workers from The Island and community volunteers. As part of the project, youth workers will also be undertaking detached youth work, venturing out into the community on Tuesday evenings”
A grant of £3632 is also being made to Gateway towards the costs and materials associated with weekly After School Hangout for young people aged 5-16 in Chapelfields delivered on Thursdays term time by members of The Gateway youth and children’s team.
£875 will go to “New Visuality” to celebrate “green spaces art project involving 75 local young people. The project will focus on 3 groups of children with Westfield Ward postcodes: Westfield Primary, Hob Moor School, and 2nd Acomb Scouts Group”.
£850 will fund “”set up costs of a free to access Wednesday Play Morning sessions for children under five years old.” at Acomb Library
Toolbox Drama will get £2678 for “start up funding towards developing a fully accessible dance fitness programme within Westfield ward (at Energise) for adults with additional needs”.
York Cares received a grant of £626 for their, recently completed)Big Community Challenge Green Corridors, a large scale transformative project to improve biodiversity between urban areas throughout the west of York (covering the wards of Acomb, Woodthorpe and Westfield). Westfield Ward contribution
There are dozens of other awards across the City. One will be eye-catching for those cyclists who have long complained about obstructions to cycle paths. £1204 will go to Greenways to allow them to “ purchase new power tools which will enable the group to maintain verges along the solar systemcycle track from Tadcaster Road to the Sun (southern by-pass)”
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
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.
A planning application has been submitted which would see the bookmakers building (currently empty) ,which is located on the former car park of the old Acomb Hotel on Kingsway West, converted into 4 lettable rooms. In addition 4 more lettable rooms would be provided in part of the ground floor Clock House pub building reducing its size.
There would eb separate car parks and entrances for the holiday lets and pub. The footprint and height of the buildings would remain unaltered
It seems that the Council have failed to move forward the three vacant plots at Lowfield which threaten to extend the build timetable to over 6 years.
Although 90 of the 140 homes being built by the Councils Shape company are completed and occupied – with the rest due before the end of the year – and the 6 self-build houses progressing quickly, there is little good news on the other plots.
Neighbours were promised by the Council that the whole development would be completed with plant off site within 3 years of a start being made,. This was important as nuisance from building works to neighbouring properties can be significant.
Extra Care Home
The largest of the unused plots has been scheduled to provide facilities, aimed at older residents, since 2010. It represents the bulk of the former built footprint of the school. It is located next to the (completed) playground.
Innumerable plans have been drawn up for the site since 2010 with each being abandonedat some stage. Most recently a tender for the management of the site was accepted by the Council in December 2021. The terms of the contract have never been reported to a Council committee.
A reportto a meeting next week says, “The council has previously been unsuccessful in procuring an extra care provider to deliver this site. As such, officers are undertaking further soft market testing with extra care providers in order to deliver this ambition”
So, in reality, we are back to where the Council started in 2010.
Police station/Health Hub
This plot is on the Dijon Avenue side of the site. The Council claimed and confirmed duringconsultation (in July 2017) that it would accommodate a Police station and “health hub”. The proposals were quickly abandoned after planning permission had been obtained.
The plot was then marked as a “community building” location for several years. In May 2021 the Council’s Executive confirmed that the plot would house “specialist accommodation built for 6 adults with a learning disability who have dementia and 6 other adults. In addition to the 12 units, there will be up to 6 cluster flats for the first steps into independent living”.
In response to a Freedom of information request on 7th March 2022, the Council said
” This land has not been disposed of”.
The Council report, being considered this week, confirms that the authority is now rowing back from its 2021 decision, It says only that “on the smaller plot, located close to the site entrance with Dijon Avenue, there may be an opportunity to provide specialist housing for those who would benefit from more intensive support due to their physical or mental health. Colleagues from the Housing Delivery Programme and Adult Social Care are working together to create a business case to progress this ambition”
There are suspicions that the social care scheme was only floated to avoid criticism of the Councils withdrawal of support for providing a “health hub”.
Another case of back to square one?
Yorspace communal housing site
A secret deal was brokered in August 2017 to sell a 0.74 acre site on the Tudor Road side of the site to a communal housing group called “Yorspace” 19 homes were to be built. The scheme will not count towards the affordable homes target. The buyers of the plot are required to have started construction work within 12 months of purchase and to have completed all works within 2 years.
The Yorspace development becamecontroversial when it was revealed in January 2019 that no conditions had been attached to the sale which required occupiers to be in housing need, have low incomes or, indeed, even be York residents. There was some scepticism about the sale price of £300,000 as a similar nearby plot had been sold for 50% more than that figure.
The sale was not completed.
The latest report says only “a community build plot which the council have agreed to sell to Yorspace. Planning permission is secured for this site and the community group have discharged their pre-start on site planning conditions. The group are finalising their construction contract following sharp rises in construction costs in the last 12 months. Yorspace expect to complete the land purchase and commence construction before the end of the year.’
This is the same reason for delay as has been rolled out for over 3 years now. In the meantime, the Council is missing the opportunity to provide some much-needed social housing on the site.
The commercial value of the site – which now has service connections – is likely to have risen to nearly £1 million
The Council Leader has confirmed that there is a “Plan B” option for the site. It is time for that option to be brought forward.