Resurfaced lane near Rufforth better for cyclists

The Council have completed repairs on Bradley Lane. The road links Rufforth and Askham Richard and is popular with leisure cyclists.

There is less good news closer to York. The cycle/footpath underpass at the A59/A1237 junction is obstructed by a thorn bush.

Adjacent drainage channels are also overgrown with weeds.

The issues were reprted sevral weeks ago and should by now have been cleared by the Council.

Sponsored roundabout scheme faltering?

A response to a Freedom of Information request has revealed that the York Councils’ income, from the sponsorship of roundabouts, has fallen by nearly 50% in the last 5 years.

In 2016 the authority gained £60,935 from sponsorship in 2016/17. By 2020/21 that had fallen to £39,906. No figures have yet been published for 2021/22.

There are 27 sites available for sponsors. Of these, 23 are currently taken.

The authority says that it doesn’t have a record of when the last maintenance visit was made to the roundabouts. It does say though that they should get 10 grass cuts per year.

However, in rural areas, there may only be 2 cuts per year.

There has been no update report to any Council Executive member meeting, on the performance of the scheme, for over 2 years.

The original intention of the scheme – as well as supplementing the Council’s income – was to improve the appearance of the City at key access points.

While the pandemic may have prompted some difficulties, the fact that most roundabouts are still sponsored suggests that there remains a commercial interest in the the scheme.

An informal audit of the roundabouts suggests that they have been badly neglected. There is no sign of the target cutting program on those roundabouts that are grassed.

Most flower beds are overgrown. Even if sponsors had opted for a “natural” wildflower scheme, standards seem to have slipped.

There is scope for more imaginative low maintenance wildflower schemes.

A couple of years ago the roundabout on Hull Road near the University offered a stunning display

Hull Road roundabout with wildflowers June 2020

Gulleys blocked again

Once again drainage gulleys next to traffic island build-outs have become choked with weeds. It happens every year in areas like Foxwood (see photo) and Chapelfields.

The Council should add them to its routine maintenance schedules.

Blocked drainage gulley on Foxwood Lane

Fire risk concern over unharvested fields

UPDATE 24/8/22. Field in photos has now been cut back by the farmer

We reported yesterday that the good weather was proving to be a boon for some farmers. For others the picture is less clear.

Various fields close to York having been sown earlier in the year, are now browning over. In the current weather conditions, they may present a growing fire risk.

In one field, a crop of beans – possibly intended for animal consumption – seems to have been abandoned. The field has become choked with thistles making any harvest more difficult.

In any event, most of the bean crop has now withered on the vine.

Field beans are the same species as broad beans (Vicia faba) but they are a different variety producing smaller beans. They are normally planted in the spring and are also suitable for human consumption and are particularly popular in North Africa.

If planted in March, bean pods can emerge within a month of planting.

We hope that farmers, if they don’t intend to cut the crop imminently, will plough suitable fire breaks to protect neighbouring areas.

Elsewhere, local Councillor Mark Warters has criticised the effectiveness of the Councils  “pollinator” strategy.

Cllr Warters was instrumental in getting the Hull Road roundabout planted with wild flowers a couple of years ago.

The colourful result was widely praised

Wild flowers on Hull Road roundabout in 2020.

The Cuncil has been blamed for the decline with the application of a general weedkiller preceding the spread of invasive weeds.

Hull Road has now beocme overgrown with thistles to the exclusion of other wildflowers

£1.5 million playing fields unused during school holidays

It looks like officials are not encouraging the casual use of the expensive new pitches which have been provided near Sim Balk Lane. They were intended as a replacement for facilities lost at Lowfields through building works.

No casual use of sports field

A couple of youngsters were kicking in today but the goalposts have been taped up to prevent use.

It is a real shame that more couldn’t have been done during the school holidays on what is a hugely expensive development. The last estimate was over £1.7 ,million with over a £1 million coming from taxpayers

The final bills aren’t in yet with long outstanding work on the cycle path access still to start. This is now expected to begin in September…

In the meantime, this part of the York – Tadcaster cycle path is badly overgrown. Graffiti is a continuing major issue at London Bridge.

Good news as York – Tadcaster cycle path now clear of obstructions

We reported overgrowth that was obstructing the York to Tadcaster cycle track on a couple of occasions over the last couple of months. It is a recurring problem each year and is a particular problem near the Pike Hills golf course. That particular section became impassible for wheelchair users a couple of weeks ago.

National Highway Yorkshire have now removed the blockages. Sight lines have also been cut back.

Hopefully the problem locations will be put on a routine cutting schedule next summer.

Bus shelter re-purposed as wildflower greenhouse

A bus shelter on Askham Lane is now growing a fine selection of weeds. Now room for passengers soon.

There is a further failure in weed control and maintenance processes in other areas.

Many Council maintained hedges are now obstructing footpaths. No cutting schedule has been published. There has been no consultation with the tenants of adjacent homes.

The Reeves snicket. Overgrown, weed infested, covered in litter and detritus

The authorities were advised about this rogue bin last week. Still on the streets on one of the areas most vulnerable to anti social behaviour.

Obstructed paths – report them if you can!

It looks like the ultra hot weather is encouraging the growth of some pernicious weeds. Thistles are now obstructing some public footpaths while poor maintenance, by the York Council, has allowed hedges and Mares Tail weeds to impede snickets.

Over the weekend the Council “report it on line” system was down so 24/7 issue handing systems couldn’t be used.

In those circumstances we suggest that the problem is highlighted via an Email to local Councillors.

Some snickets are becoming over grown by hedges and weeds

The 1959 Weeds Act requires Local Authorities to take action to control pernicious weeds

This Act applies to the following injurious weeds, —

  • spear thistle (cirsium vulgare), (Savi) Ten.
  • creeping or field thistle (cirsium arvense (L.) Scop.),
  • curled dock (rumex crispus L.),
  • broad-leaved dock (rumex obtusifolius L.), and
  • ragwort (senecio jacobaea L.);

and to such additional injurious weeds as may be prescribed by the Minister by regulations.

Thistles can be a hazard for passers by

NB. If anyone has lost a tire you may find it on one of the snickets off Cornlands Road!

More paths obstructed by weeds

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

Foxwood Lane

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.

The Reeves

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.

Hob Stones/Windsor Garth cycle and foot path

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.

Work has begun on installing a longer cattle grid at the Hob Moor Drive entrance to the moor.