Budget: Protecting Frontline Services in York

City of York Council’s Liberal Democrat-Conservative Executive have unveiled proposals for the authority’s 2016-2017 budget focused on protecting frontline services, vulnerable and young people.

2016The council has confirmed it will need to make savings of £6.5million in 2016/17 which is equivalent to 5.5% of its net budget (£117.9m). However, the council continues to spend one of the lowest amounts per head per population amongst UK local authorities. York has the 13th lowest band D council tax, the 2nd lowest spend per head of population of any unitary council in England.

York continues to face increased pressures including the costs of adult social care. In 2015/16 the gross spend on this service was £70.7m. It is expected that by 2019/20 adult social care costs will account for around 50 per cent of the council’s net budget. It is therefore proposed that the council takes advantage of the Government’s two per cent social care precept, which will be used exclusively to fund adult social care cost pressures. Added to this will be a further one per cent increase in Council Tax.

The Executive noted that feedback from the recent budget consultation indicated the majority of those who responded to the options provided (56% or 224 people) would prefer that there was an increase in Council Tax levels, rather than increased charges or the council providing fewer services.

The council will invest a further £1.9m in children’s social care for 2016/17 to ensure continuation of proper safeguarding arrangements and adequate provision for children looked after. A further £100k investment is outlined for mental health services as well as £234k to fund street based services work including fly-tipping and graffiti and £60k to fund a strategic flood risk assessment.

Cllr Keith Aspden, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader of City of York Council, said:

“We are focusing resources on frontline services such as road repairs, street lighting, tackling fly-tipping and graffiti as well as plans to make York the Greenest City in the North. We are also investing in community mental health facilities and supporting local businesses after the floods by freezing car park charges across the city.

“Continued funding cuts and the increased costs of elderly care have left the council with some stark choices. However, we have listened to residents and whilst making significant savings we are ensuring the funding is in place for vulnerable children, adult social care and crucial street-level services.”

Key budget proposals include:

Whilst legally, the council can only set a budget for one year, the authority is also setting out plans for the next four years, which will enable a more joined up approach.

Further information can be found in our budget briefing here: http://yorklibdems.org.uk/en/document/budget-briefing.pdf

The full budget report, which presents a budget that is fully balanced, will be taken to Executive for consideration on 11 February from 5.30pm and Full Council for approval on 25February 2016 from 6pm: http://democracy.york.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=733&MId=8846

A ‘simple guide’ to reporting graffiti on telecoms cabinets

Cllr Stephen Fenton has drafted the following ‘simple guide’ to reporting graffiti or other damage done to BT or Virgin Media street cabinets, based on recent experiences in trying to get graffiti cleaned up. Stephen would welcome comments on how this guide could be improved!

Is it a BT or Virgin Media (VM) box?

When you come across a cabinet has been subject to a graffiti attack or some other form of vandalism, the first step is to try to work out whether it is a BT or VM box. This information will determine who to report it to. Whilst the council will arrange for graffiti to be cleaned off cabinets for which it has responsibility (eg traffic lights boxes), it is not responsible for telecoms cabinets.

Some BT cabinets are easily identifiable, either because they have a poster on the front of the cabinet or BT stencilled on the side.

BT box front view

BT box front view

BT box side view

BT box side view

BT fibre cabinet

BT fibre cabinet

There is no consistently easy way to identify Virgin Media cabinets but if the chamber lid is marked CATV or NTL it will invariably be a VM cabinet.

Virgin Media box

Virgin Media box






If you have a fair idea which type of cabinet it is, there are various ways in which you can report damage.

Reporting damage to BT cabinets

The BT web page which contains instructions for reporting damage to cabinets can be found Here . You are invited to call 0800 023 2023 and choose Option 1. You will be connected to an advisor who will ask for details of the location of the cabinet. It’s helpful if you can provide the address of the nearest property and the postcode. You will be given a reference number. The BT cabinet pictured above was reported in mid December 2015 and was cleaned up within four weeks.

Reporting damage to Virgin Media cabinets

The VM web page which contains instructions for reporting damage to cabinets can be found Here. You can choose to report the issue by phone, on 0330 333 0444, or click on ‘Contact Us’ then ‘Something else’ then ‘Reporting an open or damaged cabinet’.

The phone reporting service is automated, so you don’t get to speak to a person but instead answer a number of questions. You should provide as much information as you can, such as the address of the nearest property and the postcode. At the end of the call you will be given a reference number.

Reporting via the website is quite straightforward, but you are not issued with a reference number.

I reported the VM cabinet pictured above in mid December via the automated phone line and got a reference number, but then had to chase up twice via the website route. This did eventually prompt a helpful and attentive e-mail from a representative at the VM Operations Centre who admitted that there had been some ‘minor issues’ with the automated reporting line. He verified the information needed (nearest property and postcode) and undertook to raise an order to have the cabinet cleaned and repainted.

I’d welcome any additions / amendments / improvements to this simple guide.

Works completed at Woodthorpe shops

Work to replace broken bollards and cracked paving slabs at Woodthorpe shops has been completed.

An improvement!

                                                                         An improvement!

Next on the list is to get the badly faded double yellow lines re-painted at the entrance to the car park. With the fantastic work done by the Woodthorpe Community Beds group, the area is starting to look a lot smarter.

Latest planning application for Dringhouses and Woodthorpe Ward

 Below are the latest planning applications received by the York Council for the Dringhouses and Woodthorpe ward. 

Full details can be found by clicking the application reference

Location:       27 Ainsty Avenue York YO24 1HH

Proposal:       Single storey side and rear extension and dormers to side and rear

Ref No: 16/00031/FUL

Applicant:      Mr D Crompton   Contact Mr Jake Clay    Consultation Expiry Date        15 February 2016 Case Officer:   Carolyn Howarth Expected Decision Level DEL


Representations can be made in favour of, or in objection to, any application via the Planning on line web site.  http://planningaccess.york.gov.uk/online-applications/

The Council now no longer routinely consults neighbours by letter when an application is received.

Woodthorpe shops repair work underway

We are pleased to report that the Co-op estates team is making good on its commitment to put right some of the issues identified for action around Woodthorpe shops.

Before Christmas, trees were pruned and drains cleared. Now work is underway to replace broken bollards and paving slabs in the area to the side of the shops, at the entrance to the car park – pictured below.

Woodthorpe shops


















Local Lib Dem councillors will now seek permission from the Co-op for the double yellow lines at the entrance to the car park to be repainted.

Askham Bar litter pick success

Local councillors Ann Reid and Stephen Fenton were joined by 14 residents for a successful community litter pick on Sunday 24th January at the former Askham Bar Park & Ride car park.

The site got a thorough going over, generating a large pile of rubbish which the council is to collect.

Askham Bar rubbish

The litter pick was organised following growing concerns that the site was becoming an eyesore (pictured below).

Moor Lane car parkThe team that assembled on 24 January was able to clear the vast majority of the litter on site, though the dense and prickly nature of some of the vegetation made it a tricky task. It was also a challenge to clear the grass bank that leads down to the car park from Moor Lane – this area has been partially cleared for now.




Community litter pick on Sunday 24th January

Cllr Stephen Fenton has organised a community litter pick at the former Askham Bar Park & Ride car park (now the ‘Moor Lane Pay & Display car park’).

The litter pick will take place on Sunday 24th January between 11am and 3pm.

A 'grot spot'!

                                                    A ‘grot spot’!

Stephen has organised the litter pick in response to residents’ concerns about the state of the (mostly empty) car park. Litter ‘grabbers’ and refuse sacks will be provided.

Anyone wanting to join in the litter pick should contact Stephen on 07751 963215 or e-mail cllr.sfenton@york.gov.uk


Crime levels in York rise

Figures published today by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) confirm that crime levels in York are increasing.
National Crime stats Jan 2016

click to enlarge

The main concern in York will be the violence figures which have crept up.

Also on the increase in recent months have been theft offences, drug misuse, non domestic burglaries and sexual offences,

The largest number of reports received by the Police concern anti social behaviour. ASB offences are not monitored on the national crime report.

The local Police commanders are at pains to point out that North Yorkshire, as a whole, is the safest county in which to live, in the whole of the country.

You can find out about crime incidents in your,and neighbouring, streets by clicking here