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.

Our Big Conversation: What will York look like in ten years?

City of York Council is inviting residents, visitors and those who work in York to get involved and share their views in the next phase of York’s Our Big Conversation.

Our Big Conversation is a city-wide discussion about some of the biggest challenges and opportunities facing York.

Launching today [28 June], participants will be asked to share their views about three major, developing strategies for the city – climate change, the economy and health and wellbeing.

York businesses and residents have already helped inform the aspirations of these strategies and now have the opportunity to decide whether the priorities are right for the city.

The response from York residents and businesses will shape the city for generations to come.

All views will inform the final development of the Economic Strategy and Climate Change Strategy, which will be taken to Executive for approval in October 2022, and the Health and Wellbeing Strategy that will be approved at September’s Health and Wellbeing Board.

The survey is open from 28 June for 6 weeks, ending on 5 August 2022 here 

Paper copies will be available at Acomb, Clifton, Tang Hall and York Explore libraries. Online copies can be accessed at all libraries through public computers.

Paper copies can be sent to: Strategies Consultation, FREEPOST RTEG-TYYU-KLTZ Business Intelligence (49), City of York Council, West Offices, Station Rise, York, YO1 6GA.

Virtually impossible not to agree with these leading questions? Devalues the responses

Learn about adult abuse, know the signs and report it

A new safeguarding campaign is encouraging everyone in York to help prevent and stop the abuse of adults by learning more about it.

The council’s ‘Know the signs’ campaign is urging people to learn more about the different kinds of abuse which adults can face, how to spot the signs of it taking place and, if seen or suspected, report them.

Abuse takes many forms – domestic, emotional, financial, modern slavery, physical, sexual or discriminatory or organisational abuse – and can have devastating and long-lasting effects. Knowing more about what that abuse might involve and how is affects people, and then reporting any concerns to the council or police, can help prevent abuse happening or taking place.

The ’Know the signs’ campaign is building on the momentum of the region’s successful Safeguarding Week which hosted over 50 learning and information sessions last week.

Knapton – Rufforth cycle path

This link was established about a decade ago and forms part of the off road cycle network advertised by the York Council.

Like many similar paths, basic maintenance issues arise from time to time.

Cycle tracks and associated infrastructure can quickly become obstructed at this time of year. This is adjacent to the Yorwaste site.

Overgrowth is one of the major seasonal problems.

We were surprised to learn from a local Councillor, that only the section of path from Rufforth to the shooting club access road is maintained by the York Council. Responsibilities for the rest of the track rest with adjacent landowners. It is fair to say that standards vary.

The Council did promise major improvements to at least part of the cycle track as part of their project to establish woodland on land adjacent to the route. It remains unclear when, or even if, this work will proceed.

Our view is that the Council should implement an inspection and basic maintenance process which ensure that all paths are kept in a safe condition. For as long as is necessary, this should have a higher priority, for use of the Councils resources, than introducing additional paths.

Key decision time on Piccadilly site

Following the decision of the York Council to put the 17/21 Piccadilly site – currently occupied by Spark- on the market, thoughts are already moving onto how any tenders will be evaluated.

At least one social housing provider is understood to be interested in managing affordable units at first and second floor levels. The ground floor is simply allocated as “commercial” with some favouring part of it being used to house start up businesses.

When the former Airspeed factory was demolished a decade ago, planners said that they wanted the sites heritage acknowledged in any future redevelopment.

The Council must decide now whether the criteria that is uses to assess any tenders will give extra “points” for schemes that incorporate an aviation theme.

More than a decade ago the Yorkshire Air Museum (Elvington) expressed an interest in having a City center “shop window”. A bus serivice link to the Elvington airfield could have been incorporated into the project.

The use of museum displays on the Piccadilly site could stimulate the regeneration of the whole neighbourhood.

Such a project is unlikely to happen spontaneously. It will require some stimulation by the site owners and other agencies.

The first Airspeed aircraft built, G-ABSI Youth of Britain II, first flew on 10 April 1932 from Sherburn-in-Elmet.”

Representations about the future of the site were made in 2013 by a local resident

£8.3m paid in Council Tax Energy Rebate programme

In York, more than £8.3 million has been so far paid to residents as part of the Government’s Council Tax energy rebate programme.

This means 55,000 Council Tax payers have now received their rebate, but there are still more than 18,000 payments yet to be claimed.

In Spring this year, the Government announced that residents living in a Council Tax band A–D home and who pay their own energy bills, would be eligible for a rebate of £150 to help offset increased energy prices. Eligible residents who pay by Direct Debit and who have matching names on their bank, Direct Debit and Council Tax accounts, have been paid.

Whilst the teams at the council have successfully processed more than 55,000 payments, they are now urging the remaining eligible residents to come forwards to claim their rebates.

Cllr Nigel Ayre, Executive Member for Finance and Major Projects, said:

“Our teams worked incredibly hard to process the first rounds of payments, which have now been completed. Thank you too, to all residents who pay by Direct Debit or who have already claimed their rebate.

“No residents will miss out on a payment, with those not applying being automatically credited to their Council Tax account.  We are aware, however, in these difficult times many would prefer to have the money available to spend.

“It’s important that those eligible residents who haven’t come forward yet to claim their rebate, do so now. If you live in a band A – D property, you are entitled to claim it, so please do if you haven’t already, and use the cash to help you with rising bills. You won’t have to pay this money back: it is not a loan.”

Anyone living in a Council Tax band A – D property and who has not yet received their rebate, can complete the application form at www.york.gov.uk/CouncilTaxRebateScheme. The form takes 5 minutes to complete.

Residents who can’t get online to apply, can either use computers and support at their nearest York Explore library, call the dedicated support line free on 0300 373 0727, or attend one of the drop-in sessions happening across the city – for venues and times see Council Tax £150 Energy Rebate and Household Support Fund drop-in sessions – City of York Council.

Residents can choose to have the £150 credited to their Council Tax account. This will be done automatically for any household that hasn’t applied for their rebate by October 2022. Anyone without a bank account can contact the council for help setting up an account to receive their payment.

Coronavirus York updates: 22nd June 2022

Hospitals and deaths The number of COVID+ patients being cared for by the York Hospital Trust has climbed to 87. This is the highest level seen since 13th May. There are three patients in the ICU. There have been no additional fatalities. 

Test results The number of cases in the City has risen by 18 to 378.The infection rate has risen to 179.13. It is expected to top 200 later this week. In the equivalent period in 2021, the infection rate also rose sharply reaching 208.98 on 22nd June 2021. It went on to peak at 519.85 on 16th July before then gradually falling back. 

Neighbourhoods  The neighbourhood with the highest infection rate is now Huntington (249.7)  The area with the lowest rate is New Earswick (120.6) 

Tests 539 “lateral flow” tests were recorded yesterday (21/6/22)

Vaccinations 33 booster jabs were completed yesterday (21/6/22). 85.2% of the York population have now had at least one COVID vaccination

Trends

Council sets out seven-point action plan to improve Children’s Social Care

Children’s Services’ leaders at City of York Council will share a seven point action plan setting out how the council will further improve its services for children and young people later this month (28 June).

The draft action plan has been drawn up following an inspection of the council’s Children’s Social Care services earlier this year [March].

Whilst the inspection recognised a number of areas of strength within the service, including the support provided to children and families throughout the covid pandemic and the council’s commitment to ensure that the needs of children are prioritised, the overall inspection judgement was that York ‘Required improvement to be good’.

Members of the council’s Children, Education and Communities Policy and Scrutiny Committee will get the opportunity to comment on and provide additional recommendations on the draft action plan at their meeting next week. Children and young people from York’s Children in Care Council [Show Me That I Matter] and Care Leavers’ Forum [I Still Matter] will also input into developing the plan, before it is before it is submitted to Ofsted in August.

The plan sets out how improvements will be made in seven areas of Children’s Social Work:

1.The consistency of written records so that they provide an accurate account of decision-making for all children.

2.The quality of assessments to ensure that they consistently inform care planning.

3.The effectiveness of social work supervision in progressing plans for children and addressing practice shortfalls.

4.The analysis of return home interviews.

5.Responses to children aged 16 and 17 who present as homeless.

6.The pace of planning for children in unregistered children’s homes.

7.Children’s influence and attendance at the corporate parenting board.

The majority of recommendations made by Ofsted had already been identified locally and work to address these is already underway.

Cllr Andrew Waller, the council’s Executive Member for Children, Young People and Education, said:

Work to develop areas of the service has been ongoing for some time and the action plan provides us with an opportunity to further refine our commitment to continuous improvement, and to demonstrate the changes that have already been implemented to achieve these goals.

“The pandemic provided unprecedented challenges for children’s social care, to which the service responded, and there were positive steps taken even under those pressures.

 “I want to thank my predecessor in this role for starting that work. As the new Executive member for Children’s Services, I am clear that my focus and drive will be on delivering the required improvements, at pace, and in the interests of families and children in communities across the city.

“This draft Action Plan will help us to continue our ongoing work with partners to further improve our services so, together, we can ensure that every child in York receives a better start in life, and to involve young people and families in the process.”

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