What’s on in York: Finding the Words with Nicki Heinen, Paul McGrane and Ramona Herdman

Thursday 26th May 2022

19:00 – 20:00

Online event (Free)

Register (click)

Listen to some of the best poets from Yorkshire and beyond at Finding the Words, a relaxed and welcoming poetry evening

About this event

Finding the Words with Nicki Heinen, Paul McGrane and Ramona Herdman

Nicki Heinen’s work has been published in a variety of magazines and anthologies, including Magma, and Bloodaxe’s Staying Human anthology. She was shortlisted for the Pat Kavanagh Prize and was commended in the Winchester Poetry Prize 2018 and 2020. She founded and hosts Words & Jazz, a poetry and music night, at the Vortex Jazz Café, London. Her pamphlet Itch was launched with Eyewear Press in May 2017 and it was one of London Review Bookshop’s books of the year. There May Not Be a Reason Why, her debut collection, is out with Verve Press now. She identifies as disabled, living with bipolar disorder. She lives in London.

Paul McGrane As a result of winning the Geoff Stevens Memorial Award, Paul McGrane’s first collection Elastic Man was published with Indigo Dreams Publishing in 2018. His new collection British People in Hot Weather was published by Indigo in 2021. He is the co-founder of the Forest Poets poetry collective in Walthamstow and, until recently, The Poetry Society’s Membership Manager.

Elastic Man and British People in Hot Weather are available from https://indigodreamspublishing.com/paul-mcgrane

Ramona Herdman’s latest pamphlet, ‘A warm and snouting thing’, is published by The Emma Press. Her new collection, ‘Glut’, will be published by Nine Arches Press in August 2022 and will be available for pre-order soon. Ramona lives in Norwich and is a committee member for Café Writers.

Ashley Mason promoted to York Council Executive

Cllr Ashley Mason

Cllr Ashley Mason, the City’s retiring Sherriff, is set to be promoted to a position on the Councils Executive according to papers published by the Council today.

He will take over responsibility for Economy and Strategic planning from Andrew Waller who moves over to take on the Children and Education portfolio. Ian Cuthbertson leaves the Executive.

The appointment of Ashley Mason is likely to be widely welcomed in the City following a successful Civic year.

There may be some surprise that a reorganization of responsibilities has not gone further, with concerns about street level public service standards, such as highways maintenance, as well as growing problems with Council housing management and anti social behaviour in the City,.

Elections for a new Council are due to take place in May 2023.

Moves are afoot to hold a referendum, to coincide with the elections, to decide if the City should adopt a modern committee system of decision making. The Sheffield Council decided to take a similar the step some 12 months ago.

Coronavirus York updates: 20th May 2022

Hospitals and deaths

There have been no further hospital deaths

Hospital COVID+ patient numbers remain stable at 78.

Test results

The number of cases in the City has fallen by one to 189.

The infection rate has fallen to 89.56. It is expected to remain at around this level over the weekend and beyond.


33 third dose booster jabs were completed yesterday


  • 577 “lateral flow” test were completed yesterday


Most York neighbourhoods now have an infection rate which is lower than the average seen over the last two years.

Wards in York where weeds will be allowed to grow unchecked

The Council has decided which parts of the City will not have weed killer applied this summer. The decision not to use weed killer in gutters and on hard surfaces is a trial and follows concerns raised about the alleged harmful effects of some chemicals.

Part of the trial would see areas around street furniture “strimmed” instead of being treated. This is unlikely to be controversial and may indeed improve the appearance of some green spaces. The issue here is one of cost and the availability of labour to keep on top of grass/weed growth.

More controversial is a wish by some Councillors to see only two (rather than three) applications of weed killer on hard surfaces during the growing season.

The third application will be omitted in significant parts of the City including the Fishergate ward, Wheldrake, Rural West (Poppletons, Askhams etc), Guildhall, Osbaldwick/Dunnington, Hull Road Ward and the Micklegate Ward.

Some ward Councillors have wanted to go further with no weed treatment at all in some areas including St Pauls Square, Elvington and the alleys off Wellington Street,

It is unclear how, or even if, ward Councillors consulted affected residents before making their judgements.

The extra costs of the hybrid arrangement have not been revealed and it is unclear whether local residents (or, where they exist, Parish Councils) are expected to clear obstructions from those paths and roads which the York Council will no longer treat,

The longer term cost implications including the potential destabilization of structures such as bridges, which could be caused by uncontrolled vegetation growth, have not been published.

In the past problems with restricted sight lines at junctions have been a concern when weeds have been allowed, in some cases, to grow to over over two metres in height.

Weeds can affect sight lines at junctions. This happened near Poppleton a couple of years ago

This, however, was the consequence of a poor performance by Council contractors rather than deliberate neglect.

In some areas, which are not covered by the trial, weed growth this year is overwhelming the treatment arrangements which are in place.

Weeds including this “Mares Tail” on The Reeves are already defeating control attempts by the Council this year. They are a trip hazard when visibility is poor.

The decision, on which streets not to treat for weed growth, was taken at a behind closed doors meeting held on 18th May 2022.

Background documents – which were only published after the meeting had taken place – can be viewed by clicking the links below

Coronavirus York updates: 19th May 2022

Hospitals and deaths

There has been one further hospital death. It occurred on Tuesday and brings the cumulative toll up to 943.

The number of COVID+ patients being cared for by the York Hospital Trust has increased by 4 to 78

Test results

The number of cases in the City has fallen by 8 to 190.

The infection rate has fallen to 90.04. It is expected to remain stable over the next few days


61 third dose booster jabs were completed yesterday


  • 530 “lateral flow” tests were completed on 18th May 2022


Cycling news

Sustrans have announced that work on resurfacing the cycle path between Naburn and Riccall will be completed this week. The section will then be reopened.

On Monday, the section between Vicarage Lane (photo) & Naburn Lane will then be closed for 6 weeks.

The section which runs along the A64 southern by pass has been resurfaced. It is now much smoother. Unfortunately it is already becoming obstructed by overgrowth. This is a problem on several paths each summer. The authorities seem unable to put even a basic maintenance programme in place and it is often left to volunteers to clear branches and weeds on an ad hoc basis.

There is still no news on improvements for the section of cycle path between Tadcaster Road and the A64 underpass. Work was supposed to have been completed last year as part of the project to provide additional football pitches in the area. It was the Councils responsibility to move the scheme forward but eventually it stalled. The only improvement which was completed was the installation of some lighting at the London Bridge underpass.

The Council has promised to bring forward revised proposals later this year.

Elsewhere the now ubiquitous Tier electric bikes and scooters have reached Gale Lane and Thanet Road. (Lidl). It is fair to say that opinions are mixed about the safety and hire costs of the scooters the use of which is restricted to highways (they cannot legally be used on footpaths)) The Tier App site – which includes details of charging arrangements and other regulations – can be found by clicking this link.

Tier hire bikes and scooter outside Lidl on Thanet Road

Coronavirus York updates: 18th May 2022

Hospitals and deaths

There have been three more hospital deaths. Two occurred on Monday and one yesterday. They bring the cumulative toll up to 727.

The number of COVID+ patients being cared for by the York Hospital Trust has fallen by one to 74.

There are now no patients in the ICU.

In the period up to 6th May there was one more death of a York resident who was COVID+. The fatality occurred in a hospital and brings the cumulative toll among local residents up to 456

Test results

The number of cases in the City has risen by one and now stands at 198.

The infection rate has shown a small rise & is now up to 93.83. The rate remains stable.

The York rate is slightly above the regional and national averages.


56 third dose booster jabs were completed yesterday


  • 550 “lateral flow” tests were completed yesterday


There are now four neighbourhoods with an infection rate below 50.

York Local Plan public hearing rumbles on

The public hearing into York’s Local Plan – the blueprint for how the City will develop over the next 20 years – is continuing.

The recent focus has been on housing supply.

It is effectively a battle between consultants appointed by land owners and developers, who want the plan to include higher annual building targets, local communities, who want lower targets (to preserve the character of the City) & politicians who want to use the inquiry as a platform.

The sessions at the Citadel in Gillygate are open to the public. A recording of each session is uploaded each day to the Councils YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/cityofyorkcouncil (click)

The York Council has recently updated a paper which explains where homes  have been constructed recently and where land has been allocated for housing over the next 5 years. It is worth noting that many new homes are provided on what is know as “windfall” sites. These are typically “corner plots”, converted offices and other commercial use changes. They account of around 40% of new homes provided each year.

3767 new homes were completed between 2017 and 2022. This was surprisingly high given the problems with lockdowns and resource shortages.

The supply of land is sufficient to accommodate 822 homes per year. This means that around 17,000 homes will be built during the next 11 years. Of these 539 will accommodate students.

The proposals include some large-scale green field developments which are likely to be the focus of controversy. Some will argue that a more modest target, of around 500pa, would allow the City to accommodate the surplus of births over deaths and the trend towards smaller family units, while also providing for controlled economic expansion.

The difference is the governments requirement to accommodate “inward migrants” In this context, the migrants may mostly be coming from other parts of the UK and are attracted by the City’s good quality of life. This is partly to blame for the recent increase in house & rental prices 

There are some anomalies in the Council papers.

No mention is made of the extra care home site at Lowfield although the adjacent Yorspace plot is slated to produce 19 dwellings in 2023/24. On the other hand, the 5 self-build homes on the adjacent site are according to the Council scheduled to be finished in the same year (in reality, one has already been competed).

The Spark site at 23 Piccadilly will not produce any homes during the next 5 years according to the papers, despite the Councils protestations that it was going full steam ahead for a joint housing/commercial development of the prominent site

York central will start producing homes (45) during 2024/25. The derelict site at the Barbican is not expected to produce any homes during the next 5 years nor is the Oakhaven site

The Council says that the huge British Sugar (1100 capacity) brownfield site won’t produce any homes before 2026.

These are all projections, of course, so the reality may be very different.

Any kind of Recession could lead to a fall in house prices and a slowing of a construction industry which is already beset by labour and materials shortages.

Click to view full figures

Funding available to boost sport and wellbeing in York

Applications are being invited for the York Council’s two Sport and Active Leisure grants, to make clubs more accessible, offer more sports options and further improve safety and wellbeing standards.

The Small Grants Fund will see funding of up to £500 distributed, whilst the Hub Club Grants will award a max of £1,000 to 5 successful applicants per year. Both funds are open for applications before 31 May 2022. Payments to successful applicants will be made in June 2022.

To support club members’ wellbeing, all successful applicants are required to complete mental health awareness training. They will be given a small award to undertake this nationally-recognised scheme.

“I urge anyone interested to apply before the 31st May. To find out the criteria for applications and to apply please visit www.york.gov.uk/SportsFunding.”

Applications for 2022/23’s Small Grants are welcome before 31 May so please find out more at www.york.gov.uk/SportsFunding.